"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity". (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

I am very familiar with these words from the scriptures as my mother said them to me plenty of times as I was growing up.  Why do you wonder, my hair.  God gave me curly hair and all my life I have dreamt of straight hair.  I hated those curls as they never sat nicely, would bounce around and look like a mop (even worse when it rains or we have high humidity).   I would look at girls with their straight hair and dreamed of having hair just like theirs - and didn't everyone prefer straight hair to my silly "moppy" hair?

Then someone invented the most amazing machine - the HAIR STRAIGHTENER. And finally I could straighten my hair, and I did. And guess what, I looked terrible.  My face just isn't suited to straight hair.  So now I do something in the middle, I lightly straighten parts of my hair which controls the fly-away bit but keeps the beautiful soft curls that suits my face.

How many hours (and money) have I spent on my hair - far too much.  All this time looking at my hair  in the mirror - is all about vanity.  God didn't give me horrible hair, He blessed me with beautiful curls but in this sinful world that I live I have decided it doesn't fit the fashions.   I am human and I, like many other women have become "enslaved" to worldly fashions.  This takes us away from Christ  our Savior and we stop thinking about Him and instead focus on ourselves - ME.

Of course God knows what man is like  ("The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity". Psalms 94:11KJ) and is fully aware of our struggles every day to stay focused on Him and not the world.  This is why the word vanity appears so often in the Bible (86 times) as a reminder of where our focus should be and where it tends to be.  The word has a variety of meanings such as meaninglessness, wickedness, falseness, idolatry, worthlessness and futility.  I am sure if these words were written on my mirror and I read them each morning I would spend far less time vainly looking at my hair.

On the topic of vanity - how about the push for "eternal youth" - you only need to open up a glossy magazine to read about the "must have" latest product that will turn back time and make us all look younger (just like those film stars). As a result, millions of women subject themselves to all types of  procedures each year, shelling out money and sacrificing time and comfort.  In this secular world we are told that when our hair greys, our skin sags or wrinkles appears we "need" (read "must") do something such as undergo surgery or buy expensive creams and potions and sadly this becomes our idol. The Bible warns us not to be vain or conceited and not to draw attention to ourselves by the way we look.
 "In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works." (1 Timothy 2:9-10 NKJ)

We need to remember that God much prefers the gentle and quiet spirit and that it is far better to work on beautifying the person underneath than removing the wrinkles on the surface and remember God put those wrinkles there along with the greying hair (and my curls).
"rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." (1 Peter 3:4)

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised" (Proverbs 31:30)

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  1. Jo: God blessed me with a high allergy reaction to almost all make~up so I have been saved vanity in that arena.However, I have a weakness for long dangly ear~rings & rather outrageous [bright] clothing. *sigh* We human creatures can be so foolish sometimes. Oh, & as a straighter than straight hair girl I can assure you it is no joy to own. It is so silky fine & fly~away it always just simply looks a mess & there is no decent way to cut it & have it sit nicely uncless it's a razor cut about 1/2@ all over my scalp. Yeah, no pleasing us, is there? ☺

  2. Jo,

    Oh, this post that you composed for us today is quite shamefully accurate. It's quite difficult for us as humans to appreciate and love the way God has designed and made us. Instead of being thankful for His gifts, we yearn for others that we aren't meant to have. Sigh!

    Thank you for sharing this today.

    -Lady Rose

  3. How much money and time did I waste when I was younger to get permanents so that I could have curly hair and my best friend would pay to get her hair straightened so she could have straighter hair. Great post!

  4. Yea, I think it all boils down to the question of do we really love ourselves the way God made us? yes, God wants us to love ourselves:) (love your neighbour as yourself). Sadly many grow up with a bad image of themselves and this breeds vanity I believe. Speaking from experience here:) Having said that I think if one needs a bit of make up / help to make oneself look a little better I'm all for it:) (it all comes down to the heart issues doesn't it?) :)

  5. I have known many girls with curly hair who hated it, and wanted straight hair. I have known many girls with straight hair, who pay for all sorts of perms and things to make it curly/wavy. lol...

    We often yearn for what we don't have... such is the nature of man. I thank the Lord that as I have gotten older, I care less about those things. Umm, well, confession. I just changed my hair colour. Does that count? :P lol. I don't do it often... but I felt like a change. It is only a semi-permanent and as I hardly spend much money on myself, I don't feel guilt in the least.

    I appreciate and agree with all that you have written Jo... good post and food for thought...

  6. Ganeida - we always wish for things we don't have, mine is straight hair, but if I had it I would probably want something different.

    joyfulmum - I'm all for a little makeup which helps a bit (as my mum would say "to remove that shine from her nose"), but when you are always checking to see if it is perfect then vanity has moved in!

    DarcyLee - I have considered getting my hair professionally straightened, but when I looked at the cost I thought I could put the money to far better use!! Its around $400:(

    Lady Rose - we are very hard too please and never happy with what God has given us are we!!

  7. Amanda - I colour my hair (pretty much the same colour that it once was) to hide the grey (which I now have a bit of) - I probably do it every 8 weeks and not to fussed if I can see a little grey occasional. It doesn't rule my life and I think that is what is important.

  8. Amen Jo... my hair doesn't rule my life either. I just read what Rosemary said, and you echoed her thoughts. re the makeup, and using a little bit. I totally agree. I go natural most times, except when I work or go to church, or out somewhere where I want a touch of colour to my usually pale face ;)

    I don't believe these things are wrong, except when they rule over us, as you have said.

    I think of Queen Esther, and how she prepared herself for her King. They used beautiful perfumes and all manner of things to look and present as beautiful. While we need to attend to our inner beauty, via the Holy Spirit, our temples (physical bodies) are not to be neglected. It is no witness to the world if we look drab and dreary. What does that prove??

    I am like Ganeida too... I like colours even though I seem to gravitate towards earthy tones. Red is a favourite of mine because it suits my colouring.

    By the way, your hair always looks lovely, from the photos I have seen. It does suit you!

  9. Amanda - that is just the thing, curly hair does suit me. It's me thinking that straighter hair would be better!!!! Today it is a mass of curls as it is wet outside and it is almost impossible to keep it straight when it is raining.

  10. Jo, I have to tell you a story... when I took Lauren to NZ last year, we stayed with her grandmother, whom I am very close to also. Dawn has curly hair, always did have and has never straightened it or changed it. Lauren loves her hair straighener (won't leave home without it! lol), and whilst we were there, she asked her Nana (Dawn), if she could straighten her hair. Lovely Nana said yes... well, it looked terrible!! It was only a muck around thing, but for the first time in her life, Dawn had a fringe that hung in her eyes and she had to keep brushing it aside! We were in stitches laughing with her! Of course, she washed her hair back to normal before she would leave the house ;)

    My mum also had curl hair and although I have long hair, it is wavy at the sides and ends. I wouldn't say I have straight hair but kind of inbetween.

    I enjoy these types of posts! It is good to chat about such 'deep' issues LOL LOL

  11. Like everyone else has said, we all seem to long for what we don't have. I think this is a form of tempation, and of course, a way to keep us from focusing on God. It is such a struggle, isn't it? However, like you said, God knows we are struggling, and I think that when WE know it, too, we are at least on the right path. Another great post!

  12. I used to have curly hair, but as I got older and my hair got longer, it naturally straightened out. It does still have the tendencies of curly hair though - if I worked on it (which I don't), I could make it curl or wave a bit (I used to do that, many years ago), and when it is humid or wet (especially), it gets frizzy, particularly on the top of my head.

    It is true that this world is full of vanity. I believe that straightening our hair (or curling it), colouring it, using cosmetics to make our faces look "better" and so on is not what God had in mind (think of all those chemicals and what they're doing to a person's body, too!)... I'd even go so far as to say that altering our body's looks is actually like saying God didn't do a good enough job when He "fashioned" us, and that we can do better - we can make ourselves look "better"... What is "better", anyway?? It is only an ideal vain humans have devised that everyone wants to mimic! The best we can be is exactly how God made us, because He is the Master Designer, and He made each of us to look different and individual according to His purpose and desires!!

    I don't wear make up or fuss over my hair etc (anymore - haven't for years); and I'm thankful to say I have a husband who would prefer me exactly as God made me (as opposed to a friend of mine who once confessed to me that her husband wouldn't walk out the door of their home with her if she didn't wear make up!). Dan thinks wearing makeup etc is like putting on a mask so you can be what you are not, and I'm thankful because it saves me a lot of time in front of a mirror each day!

  13. How wonderful for you Clara! My hubby loves me just the way I am too... aren't we blessed!! I do feel sorry for your friend though... how awful for her! I have known women in that situation too, which makes me ever more grateful for my unconditionally loving husband!

    I do love the 'wow' look he gets on his face though when I take a little care in my appearance... we are visual creatures after all!

    Makeup need not enslave or rule anybody. If it does, that is the issue of vanity, as the post is about. Makeup in itself, is not vanity, just as clothes need not be about vanity.

    It is the heart that can be vain and a heart can be vain even if it never touches makeup or hair colour or whatever.

    I am so glad God looks at the heart and what we think, what anyone says, is irrevelant... we must live according to our own convictions on any given subject.

  14. It's interesting isn't it - often wishing for what we don't have?

    My hair is fairly straight - not totally with a few kinks in it here and there - but definitely not curly (my brother was blessed with those!).

    I have had a few perms in my lifetime, but these days am happy with my straight hair.

    Recently I went to a new hairdresser for a cut and she got out her hair straightener. She obviously caught the look I gave her (which was along the lines of "are you insane - my hair is STRAIGHT) - and she said "have you never had your hair straightened before". "No" says I. "It's pretty straight already". She ignored me and straightened it anyway - and I HATED it. My hair sat flat against my scalp and I looked absolutely terrible! Needless to say I didn't go back to that hairdresser again.

    Thanks for the reminder Jo that the Lord makes each and every one of us beautiful - just the way we are!

    Fee :-)


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