The look you've always wanted...






I'm back in the plastic surgeon's office, fumble with my phone and post this status on my facebook page:
I always feel like a country bumpkin when I have an appointment with my plastic surgeon in her up-scale office.
My wise friend Dawn challenges my faulty perspective by immediately responding:
Is she the daughter of the King of the Universe?!
Touché, Dawn. I needed that.

All the while I'm working on an article about being comfortable in our own skin.

Oh, the irony and humility of it all.

I'm here for the same reason I saw the plastic surgeon the last time - well over a year ago, she tells me as she examines this new cyst on my cheek.

It's probably obvious, but I'm not inclined to be overly concerned with my appearance - not since I was a teenager. My make-up routine takes less than a minute - a little powder, a wee bit of color brushed across my cheeks, a light coat of lipstick and I call it done. I'm here because I trust the removal of these cysts on my face to a surgeon with the skills to minimize scarring, but I can't help but wonder if she looks at me and thinks that I could use more of her skills - under my chin, around my eyes...

I wrote about my first experience in this plastic surgeon's office and the same awkward out-of-my-comfort-zone feelings I still fight, but I also wrote about my irritation with the artificial beauty standards our culture promotes that contribute to our beliefs that we aren't beautiful enough without the help of plastic surgery. This seems like a good opportunity to post it again.

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The waiting room resembles an upscale department store more than it does a doctor's office. Make-up and skin care products line display case shelves and the furniture is upholstered and elegant. I feel terribly under-dressed and out of place in my blue jeans, gray hair, and wrinkles.

It's my first experience with a plastic surgeon and an eye-opening one at that. My other doctors have pamphlets on cholesterol and diabetes and high blood pressure in their examination rooms - not liposuction, tummy tucks, and face lifts.

On the wall near the check-out desk I see a poster for Care Credit. Now you can have the look you've always wanted, the poster promises - in just 6 monthly payments.

There are a variety of needs for plastic surgery, of course. Needs that benefit from a plastic surgeon's skills in minimizing scaring and restoration and reconstruction after burns, facial injuries and mastectomies, for example.

But the look you've always wanted?

I like my doctor. She's kind and compassionate and does nothing to make me and my wrinkles and untucked tummy feel out of place in her office, but I'm irritated at a specialty that appears to exploit the need we have to feel beautiful and the temptation they dangle before us to borrow money in the hopes of achieving the look we've always wanted.

I'm sad for my girlfriends who've believed the lies that the physical adornments and features a fashion and entertainment industry promotes are the standard for beauty, and the lengths they will go to achieve those false and artificial standards.

In the book of Isaiah, God's people are encouraged with the prophecy that the desolation of Jerusalem will one day be restored with the coming Messiah, and they are reminded of the source of all beauty...
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
Isaiah 62:3 (emphasis mine)
It is not in the skilled hands of a plastic surgeon that you and I are made beautiful, but in the tender loving hands of an all powerful God Who makes "a crown of beauty" for ashes and in Whose image we have been created perfectly new.

The most beautiful girls I know are girlfriends, like you, who shine radiant in the light of Christ.

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In the hand of the LORD was originally published here.