Lessons from Beauty and the Geek

A reality show, Beauty and the Geek (Wednesdays, 8/7pm, CW) features nine “beauties” and nine “geeks.” The “beauties”—models, hair stylists and make-up artists—see themselves as women with great physical features. Most hate school, dig the party scene, own more than 50 pairs of shoes and have been pampered most of their lives due to their looks. Conversely, the “geeks” thrive on mathematics, sciences and video games. They are dungeon masters, world champions for solving the Rubik’s cube and museum critics. The majority of them have never dated, hate speaking in public, believe women find them unattractive and have relied on their intelligence for security.

Gathering under one roof, both guys and girls are forced into unfamiliar territory. Whether giving a speech on politics for the women or dancing and singing karaoke for the men, each one is given a mission and then the opportunity to reflect upon how he or she has been impacted. Each team hopes to walk away with not only the grand prize of $250,000, but also a deeper view of themselves and others.

One especially touching episode featured the women getting “make-unders.” Appearing at a local club without having done their hair or applied make-up, the women changed into hideous clothes. They then relied on personality for getting drinks from guys.

The evening wore on, and the women became increasingly self-conscious as they encountered rejection. Embarrassed, deflated and saddened at the way in which they were treated, the girls recognized how focused they were on their beauty. One girl, so negatively affected that she was unable to re-join the group, went on to say how she would never go out if she was treated like that. Other girls shared their humiliation. For the first time they understood how unfairly their “geeky” partners were treated.

At first glance, the idea of these women focusing only on their looks appears shallow. But how quickly do we too identify ourselves according to something tangible in order to hide insecurity? We claim, “Well at least I have good eyes,” or “At least I am athletic or musical or smart.” We regularly introduce ourselves as so and so that does such and such. At an early age we learn to alphabetize our strengths and hold onto them, because we think they are what make us worthwhile.

Unfortunately, this striving mentality loses sight of our inherent worth as complete beings made in the image of God. Instead of resting in this belief and allowing all else to flow from a Christ-centered identity, we choose good looks or aptitude to define us instead.

My best friend in high school was beautiful. Everyone knew it, including the guy I liked. Seeing firsthand the benefits of being tall and having shiny long hair, clear skin and a flat stomach, I valued, even idolized beauty. For a long time, I believed that because I didn’t look this way, I needed to change. Eventually, after too many disappointing failures, I believed that I could never morph into this concept of beauty. With great self-pity I settled instead for “second-best,” convincing myself that my personality would carry me through. But this didn’t work either. I saw that no amount of friends thinking I was funny, kind or empathetic would compensate for the mental energy I fixated on obtaining physical beauty. One night my friend spoke to me about the pressure she felt to maintain her image. She wished that someone would just like her for her. I was shocked. She had it all.

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It wasn’t until my junior year in college that I began to understand the emptiness my friend felt from being valued for only one part of who she was. No amount of modeling pictures or gold stars for this year’s best-dressed student could make up for that. She desired something more. She was asking a fundamental question: Am I loveable? Will someone, anyone, look deep into my heart and, after seeing all of me, still want to love me?

If only we would see that there is such a person. The Creator of all things, instilling in us the very desire to be found desirable, physically proved His acceptance by taking on our form and then offering Himself in our place. One couldn’t ask for a more powerful display of acceptance than Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. It shows that His heart’s desire was to be with us—now and forever.

As you ponder the magnitude of such love, are you satisfied, even thankful with who God has made you to be? Or, do you spend time focusing on one thing you wished you had, that missing piece that when found will finish the puzzle?

Beauty and the Geek is an unlikely broadcasting of truth that demands us to turn up the volume. As women who quickly forget our God-granted identity, we are committed to broadening our spiritual environment. Whether it be scripture memorization, an increased prayer life, intentional fellowship with trusted friends, affirming music or even a reality TV show, as Christians we need to be constantly surrounding ourselves with reminders of how God views us: as His chosen people, holy and dearly loved.

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