There is documented proof that, in fact, I was the last person in early 1996 to stop ‘tight-rolling’ my jeans. How did everyone else find out that ‘tight rolling’ one’s jeans was considered fashionably ‘out’? Did I miss a public service announcement of some sort? Who decides these things for all of us? It was as if Michael J. Fox did an after school special with this important information and I missed it completely. It was my girlfriend Jen at the time, who later became my beautiful wife, who broke the news to me . . . gently.

Our whole family laughed at the dinner table when I told them I was writing an article on the issue of ‘looking & feeling great for the holidays’. My fashion sense has a historical Facebook evidence trail of bad decisions. This ‘issue’ has continued in my life to this day. On a weekly basis Jen will ask me, “Are you planning on wearing that?” My quick and reflexive response always, “Nope, just hanging it here on myself . . . for a while.”

Gratefully, I’ve learned to ask all the fashion police in my life before grabbing the keys and making my way down state RD 54 to my own embarrassment . . . but we all instinctively know looking and feeling great has so many more nuances than whether to tuck or not tuck! The complexities of our appearance and our inner feelings are interwoven in ways we don’t completely understand. Perhaps this is because we can all think of a time when we felt great and looked a bit off or we were struggling with how we felt but knew we looked pretty good. Everyone wants to walk in the balance of looking and feeling our best.

During this special season of community gatherings here are some tips to both LOOK and FEEL great!

Get Feeling Great . . .

The best advice is usually the oldest advice and that is especially true in this case. God was actually the very first counselor to give advice on feeling better. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:6-7.

This is amazing advice that directly impacts how we ‘feel’. When we do something right, something we know we are supposed to do, it stops the path of anger and the other emotions that come from it: depression, anxiety, self-absorption, selfishness, pride, hatred. All of these things stem from anger and can be stopped by serving others. One true statement we say in our family is that, “The heart follows the hand”. We all understand NOT wanting to do something, but in obedience, doing it anyway. When that happens, we start to notice that our feelings change through the ACTION process. We can literally tell our feelings what to become by doing what is right.

This might seem too simple to be true; most true things are simple to understand but still hard to do. Of all the advice I could possibly give someone during this season, I can’t imagine topping the first advice ever given. It was God Himself who looked down and said to Cain, “Just do what is right, and then the bad news and feelings that are trying to overcome you will be gone”

It is a great mystery how the power of looking outside of oneself actually brings life to the giver in powerful ways. You will get a healthy glow, you will have a resilience inside that returns! Our countenance is impacted by how we are feeling at the deepest levels of who we are. This dynamic idea is best explained in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Here are some ways you can directly improve how you feel at the deepest level:

  • Give an unexpected gift
  • Serve
  • Volunteer for a short-term holiday project during this season

 Get Looking Great . . . 

The beauty industry is a $445 Billion worldwide market so there’s lots of information on how to look better in exchange for dollars every place you look. Again, I am driven to the great wisdom of my wife. “You don’t have to care lots, just a little bit will go a long way.” Who hasn’t spent money on an empty promise of looking better? After scouring all types of sources for the best advice in LOOKING better here’s the condensed version with my own preacher-man twist.

Helpful tips as you get ready for that office party:

  • Try just a little bit . . . it doesn’t take a huge makeover.
    • Don’t spend lots of money on an entire outfit when in fact it’s just the scarf that you love and makes your eyes pop!
  • Don’t try so hard that it gets awkward.
    • Moderations are key! Before you try the quick and expensive weight loss technique that might be dangerous anyway, just get a new haircut or manicure. People may not notice exactly what you did, but the overall effect will shine through and you will feel the extra confidence.
  • Smile!
    • This was the best advice grandma ever gave me. I would rather see a smile than a new outfit anyway. Make it a real smile with real love and people won’t have time to notice anything else!
  • Don’t be afraid to have your own style!
    • There’s something special about you being the only you that ever was, don’t hide that away. Personal style is scientifically shown to be the best marker of beauty, from a hat that only you would wear to a signature accent piece that sets you apart. People are drawn to those who step out in courage. If you are going to wear it, love it yourself first!
  • If in doubt, be classy.
    • I know it’s easier to wear the favorite jeans and sweater from college. I am wearing that right now as I type! Rarely do I regret going the extra mile to dress up a bit more. If you have to choose between being overdressed and under-dressed, choose to be classy!

I’ve done the research for you on the best tips for LOOKING great this Holiday season, but of all the things I could tell you to ‘put on’, these are the best:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14