I look better in Idaho

Me modeling my “lake hair” with my kids teasing me behind the camera

After returning from my vacation in Idaho, I had a thought that gave me pause; It came to me one morning when getting ready for work: 

“I look better in Idaho”.  

I paused and mused about why I had that thought: 

  1. We do a lot of physical stuff like water-skiing and hiking on vacation, so I typically feel strong and grateful for my body. Not my normal posture in my day-to-day life.
  2. I spend very little time on vacation wrangling my hair or doing make-up. Honestly, there is hardly any point! I’m in and out of the water so many times per day that I have to just go with it.
  3. I’m less connected to social media on vacation, so I’m really just experiencing myself in the context of the very human, imperfect people that are around me. I’m less exposed to society’s standards.

So, the reality is that on vacation, I can slip more easily into self-forgetfulness. I evaluate myself less because I’m looking at myself less and thinking about myself–my appearance–less. When all that is happening, I feel better about myself. And I believe that is true for most of us.

This all makes me think of an old Tim Keller book that calls self-forgetfulness the path to true Christian joy.  Our market economy and social media encourage us to be dissatisfied with ourselves, leading to most of us being in a low-key, chronic state of tension and unhappiness.

So, do I really look better in Idaho? Maybe! But I know that I feel better about myself when I’m less caught up in my appearance and have my attention on different things. It makes me want to tackle this as a critical self-care issue!


  1. Ask God to help you with your thoughts when they turn to self-critical valuations.
  2. Manage your social media life well; who you follow and how much you engage it can directly impact how you feel day-to-day.
  3. Evaluate how impacted you are by society’s standard of beauty and get some images of normal humans into your brain!

How you think impacts how you feel more than pretty much anything. So friends, I hope you’ll take these words to heart and know this–you look great everywhere. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

4 Responses

  1. Janice this resonates with a podcast I’m working my way through – Scott Hall’s White People Work. In the 4th episode, he discusses why he calls the “3 directives of whiteness.” The 3rd one is about how it makes white folk feel like we have to be more than human, leading to perfectionism, competition, and incredibly critical self-evaluation. Even though being human involves having a shadow side,along mistakes, etc – we don’t allow it.

    Worth a listeb: https://open.spotify.com/episode/69cefhYeY8wYNeYxJ83KBf?si=c8rDLmtwQ9CkPf6GI1_KgQ

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