I love makeover shows. I’ll admit: There’s something amazing about watching people transform. Secretly, I always thought it would be awesome to have a professional stylist pick me out of a crowd as her next target.
The makeover would go like this. First, she’d choose an ultra-flattering hairstyle for me. (One I would have never dreamed of asking for myself.) Then she’d pick the perfect make-up shades and a fabulous outfit. I’d look in the mirror, smile, and twirl with satisfaction.
I believed this type of experience would change my life. Sigh.
I don’t think I’m alone. I know many women who crave a makeover. Today, I want to introduce you to my friend Christine who experienced a fabulous transformation. You won’t believe how she did it.
Christine was never ambushed at a restaurant by the team of professionals from What Not to Wear. Nor was she ever plucked from a crowd to have her hair and make-up redone for a morning show.
She has no personal chef. Instead, she has eight children and one husband for whom she cooks.
She has no live-in personal trainer. Instead, her workouts include an occasional run down the path, away from her home, for some breathing room. (You read the sentence about the eight children, right?)
Her makeover has taken over a year. But, it’s fabulous. Here are her before and after photos:
She doesn’t even look like the same person, does she?
Wonder how she did it? What diet she followed? What store she shopped at? What exercise plan she stuck to? Wonder which books she read to fill her with this kind of confidence, zest for life, and infectious beauty?
What happened to Christine that completely altered her appearance?
I’ll tell you her secret. You may not believe it, but it’s true.
The secret to her physical transformation can be encapsulated in just one word . . .
Freedom happened to Christine.
What Happens When A Christian Finds Freedom
Christine considered herself a Christian, re-commiting her life to Jesus at age 22. She desired to do what was right and be a “good” Christian.
But the “Christian” environments Christine spent time in preached against authenticity. She told me she had never been to a Christian women’s conference where the speaker admitted to having any problems.
Christine learned that being a Christian meant stuffing your feelings and putting on a happy face. As a homeschooling mom of eight, Christine felt pressure to look the part. She felt even more pressure to appear disingenuously perfect.
She feared that she wouldn’t be pleasing to the Lord, or to those around her, unless she played this role well. On the outside, she tried to fit the mold. She wore the long skirts and even started a homemade bread-making business.
This need to fit in affected her marriage, her family, her parenting . . .every aspect of her life. She made most of her decisions out of fear. Soon it wasn’t just Sunday but every day that she found herself struggling to do what others told her was “right.”
Yet, something stirred deep inside Christine. She longed for something more. Her spirit felt suffocated–as if she was living a double life. She could be the outgoing, fun, sing-along-to-every-90s-song, type of woman at home. While at church (or around “church people”) she had to act more solemn, pious, and problem-free.
About two years ago, Christine and her family visited our church. I could tell Christine was a lot of fun, but she seemed guarded. She didn’t know if it was safe to be herself in our church community.
But, once her family joined our church they heard, over and again, how we don’t have to be enough because Jesus is. She learned that true salvation requires us to acknowledge all the ways we are broken, confess them, and rely on Jesus to do the work in changing us.
She also found that being herself was required for this kind of Christian life. That’s when her physical transformation accelerated.
Recently I visited a church and I noticed some prayer requests posted on a classroom wall. A few focused on healing relationships, others on seeing friends come to Christ. But one stuck out to me. It read: “Get fit!”
That probably would have been my “unspoken” prayer request through my twenties and early thirties.
So many women crave a physical transformation, just like Christine’s. Are you one of them? I was.
We spend great portions of time, money, and energy to inspire physical change. We pray that the next diet or exercise program will change our lives. We crave a made-over appearance. Sometimes desperately.
But I share Christine’s story as a testament to a truth most women miss. I didn’t see it for decades.
The most effective way to become more beautiful, physically, is to find freedom in Christ.
I know, it’s a hard sell. It feels like there’s no way your outside will ever change unless you follow those food plans or hire that personal trainer. It seems like physical transformations are one thing, and spiritual transformations another. When weight loss is on our minds we pray to “get fit” not to draw closer to Jesus.
Today, I want you to see through Christine’s example how the one affects the other.
Yes. Christine has lost some weight. Her hairstyle has changed. She’s likely bought some new eye shadows, some fun lipsticks, and cute clothes–now that she doesn’t feel like a heathen for wearing them.
But that’s not the essence of her transformation.
Her makeover happened because she’s been set free by Jesus. Christine knows and believes that she is accepted and loved by Him. She sees that all the unique ways God has gifted her can be used for his purpose. She can stop pretending to be someone she’s not. She can dance whenever the music’s playing, sing if she knows the words, and laugh freely because she feels the joy of the Lord as her strength.
Because she has grown in her relationship with him, her addiction to food has waned. She’s energized to move because she feels inspired by life, not beat down by condemnation. She’s flourishing as a wife because she brings to her marriage a new kind of wholeness–knowing that she is already unconditionally loved by the Father.
Christine has changed on the outside because of what happened to her on the inside.
Where Do They Sell These Makeovers?
You can’t “call now” to order one of these makeovers for the low price of $19.99. It doesn’t work like that, but neither is it complicated.
Dear friend who craves physical transformation–just seek Christ.
I know it sounds too simple. Please trust me. It does work. The scripture says in Matthew, “Seek first the kingdom of God and then all these things will be added unto you.” When you are radically, passionately, and actively pursuing a relationship with Jesus–you will change. In fact, I’d go so far as to say if you claim to be a Christian but have no evidence of change in your life–then you haven’t had a collision with the Jesus of the Bible yet.
God makes all things beautiful, in His time. He is a better transformer than any of those make-up artists, hair stylists, or fashion consultants and His makeovers last after the season finale.
Here’s How to Do It
If you crave this kind of makeover, here’s what I’d encourage you to do.
First: Pray. Ask the father to change you. Repent of the ways you’ve sought physical change over spiritual change. Ask him to make you new from the inside out. Confess to him your need for a transformation.
Second: Ask him to connect you to fellow believers that will encourage you to be yourself, find your purpose, and seek God’s kingdom radically. Find people with whom you can be authentic. (Need some church recommendations — I know you’ll find authentic leadership at these churches.) If you have to act one way at church but are different the rest of the week, you are not in the right place.
Third: Plug in. Don’t try to do this alone. Christine’s transformation did not occur in isolation on a treadmill. She sought out other women whom she knew wanted the best for her. She joined small groups and asked lots of questions (lots!) and sorted through issues in her personal prayer time. She sought Godly counsel. She made a habit of reading God’s word. And she put into practice confessing sin and receiving grace and forgiveness.
You can get this makeover too. I hope you’ll send me your before and after photos.