Healthy Soul/Living Out Your Faith/My Life/Teen Life It’s Not Vanity to Spend Time on Your Appearance by Leah Murphy One Lent, many years ago, when I was much less mature (spiritually, and in all other senses) one of my Lenten commitments was to “invest in my appearance.” However, even though it might not have merited itself as a “Lenten sacrifice,” I do believe that taking care of the way I look is a truly good thing that shouldn’t be ignored. I first decided to make this commitment during that Lent back in college because during that time in my life, six out of the seven days of the week, I would spend approximately 4 minutes getting ready. I would roll out of bed, throw my hair up in a bun, brush my teeth (necessary), find some clean jeans, a hanes v-neck t-shirt, and my token red Vans (sorry Daniel) and call it a day. I was caught up in studying and staying up super late with my roommate making hilarious videos, so I would simply tell myself that I needed all the sleep that I could possibly get, and that the way I looked was less important than my need for sleep. I began to notice (because my relentlessly classy and cool mother called me out on it) that I was really starting to look sloppy and wasn’t making a strong effort to make myself look presentable. Looking Good isn’t Bad… it’s Good! I felt challenged to do more to embrace the fact that God has given me (and all human beings) a beautiful body that deserves to be taken care of and presented well. This meant that I had to take more time to take care of and invest in my appearance, not because I was vain, but because taking time to look good is healthy and good. In fact, when we take time to make ourselves look good, recognizing the gift of our body, we are, in a way, giving glory to God, by presenting ourselves in the best way possible. When we take time to make ourselves look good, we should not feel guilty of being vain. Certainly, we shouldn’t get carried away with investing in our appearances, and turn that into an obsession. However, if we do invest a proportionate amount of time and energy into looking good, we can be at ease and not concerned that we’re falling into the sin of vanity. Vanity is Tempting, baby! If, however, we do find ourselves getting carried away, spending hours in front of the mirror to get ready for a typical day, taking countless selfies until we find the “postable” one, taking as much time as Kylie Jenner to get the perfect lip look, counting our likes on Instagram, and most importantly, letting our love for ourselves eclipse our love for God and neighbor, we’re going to need to reevaluate the situation and definitely ask for some grace to grow in humility. Invest in that Appearance! A healthy appreciation for looking good is not a sinful or bad thing. In fact, for many, it is a very good thing and, with a proper mindset, can truly be one’s expression of love and gratitude for God’s gift of our bodies. We shouldn’t feel guilty for trying to look nice and we shouldn’t make others feel guilty for doing the same (or for not doing the same)! We should do our best to treat our bodies well and humbly present them before the world as the reflections of the beauty of the Creator that they are. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro at this just yet, and I definitely still struggle with staying motivated to get out of bed a little earlier in order to spend a little more time getting ready. That said, taking more than four minutes to get ready each day is a good thing! Let yourself find that happy balance — take time to make yourself look good! Your Creator thinks you’re beautiful, so don’t let yourself or anyone else think otherwise.