Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Lesson From Steel Magnolias

What woman who has ever applied a stitch of makeup doesn’t love the movie Steel Magnolias? It has become one of those old faithfuls a girl can pull out when she feels the need for a chic flick. For me, that need typically arises on those days where the estrogen just doesn’t quite know where it’s supposed to bounce. Anybody know what I’m talking about? Sure you do. Everybody needs a good laugh and a good cry all bundled in one movie every once in a while.

My coworkers and I often tease each other about the similarities we see in one another with the movie’s characters. There are a few of us, myself included, who toggle back and forth depending on the circumstances for who best fits the role of Ouisa (yep – that’s how you spell Weezer), although I think most days I fall into the character of M’Lynn. I say that because I tend to try to be everybody’s mother and want everybody’s life to turn out like a story book. However, I think they all know my heart. I’m only concerned about what’s best for each of them, it’s just that sometimes my emotions get in the way, to a great extent like M’Lynn’s.

And Truvy. What can I say, she’s just Truvy. She’s the beauty shop entrepreneur for Chinqaupin Parrish who hires Annelle to work along side her in the salon. On Annelle’s first day, she proudly starts a conversation and Truvy takes the opportunity to give her some advice. Here’s how it goes (make sure you add the southun chawm as you read this to yourself!):

Annelle: I am so excited! I can believe its happening! I’m a beautician!

Truvy: Uh Uh Uh! Glamour Technician!

Annelle: A Glamour Technician!

Truvy: And I’ll have you know you’re workin in the most successful shop in this town cause I have a strict philosophy that I have stuck to for 15 years - “There - is – no - such - thang – as - natural - beauty.”

Annelle: (As if in a trance) There is no such thang as natural beauty.

Truvy: Now you remember that – or we’re all out of a job. Well just look at me, Annelle, it takes some effort to look like this.

I hear Truvy’s voice in my head every time I grumble about applying make up or polishing my toes. It takes some effort to look like this and I see Dolly Parton’s face with that silly bow tied in her hair. If you’re like me, I answer that thought with Imagine the shape I would be in without it! To be presentable, it does take some effort, even spiritually. The same holds true in how our life reflects Christ. It takes effort for His beauty to shine through in us and if we rely on our “natural beauty”, sin, which isn’t beautiful at all, to show through, as Truvy puts it, we’re all out of a job!

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that our salvation is dependent on our works or our actions, it completely depends on what He did at Calvary. What I am saying is that the conscious choices I make in my life determine which “beauty” is seen. If we want to look like Jesus to other people, we have to remember “it takes some effort to look like this”. It takes effort on my part to put away my selfish desires for His and it is a daily, sometimes even moment by moment decision. It might require me to not take part in a conversation that is not uplifting, choosing to hold my tongue when tempted to comment. It might require me to avoid things I took part in before I met Him, especially if those things would send the wrong message to someone else. Maybe my circle of friends will need to change, or I need to extend grace to someone that I haven’t been particularly fond of in the past, etc, etc, etc.

Don’t forget, as Christians, “I’ll have you know you’re workin’ in the most successful shop in this town and I have a strict philosophy I have stuck to for 15 years. There – is – no – such – thang – as – natural – beauty!” Maybe we should put as much effort into looking like Christ as we do into looking good when we step out the doors in the morning.

Jesus - It takes some effort to look that good!

I leave you with the words of Annelle (My husband didn't appreciate this part, but I know you girls will!) : “ I overslept cause I was up late cookin and its my Sunday to count the offerin’ and I GOTTA get these beans to the Eatenton’s… and I just KNOW I’m gonna miss church!”
God, I hope my friends were able to laugh at the characters while at the same time seeing the seriousness of what we do on a daily basis. It does take effort to follow after you and imitate your Son. I pray that when we are tempted today to act in the flesh, that your Spirit will remind us with Truvy’s southern voice that it takes effort to look this good. It may be difficult to choose the right path at first, but eventually, chosing right is what brings out Your natural beauty in us. Thank you, sweet Jesus, for loving us even when we act cranky like Weezer or boss like M’Lynn. Only You could love in such a way.

Royal Princess Daughter Of The King
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