If you want to see something truly mind-boggling, all you need to do is perform a simple Google search for “Met Gala Fashion.”
Seriously, try it. You’ll be greeted by some of the most stunning and even downright odd examples of opulence you’ve ever seen.
That’s because the Met Gala is considered the pinnacle of extravagant and quirky fashion. The annual event held at the beginning of May is called “fashion’s biggest night out.” And while it’s technically a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, it’s become more of a competition to see who can push the limits of clothing and get the most attention.
(Again, Google it. You’ll see. Words can’t do it justice.)
As we approach this year’s event, it may be easy to look at the pictures and dismiss them as crazy. Some of the gowns and outfits are so outrageous it’s tempting to deem them – and the evening – ridiculous. But I want to offer a slightly different perspective.
That perspective? We’re all guilty of falling into the same trap that so many celebrities do when it comes to the Met Gala. In fact, in our own lives, we’re frequently competing against each other for eyeballs, for attention, and we’re willing to do some really ridiculous things to get it.
Before you dismiss that idea, just think about it. Chances are you can come up with plenty of examples in your own life. In fact, just think back to your childhood. Maybe in middle school, you accepted that dare in order to catch the eye of that guy or girl you thought was cute. Or maybe you felt like your mom or dad wasn’t paying enough attention to you, so you acted out.
Am I hitting a nerve?
I think if you’re honest with yourself, though, you could find examples that don’t require you to think back that far.
Think about how you treat your co-workers, for example. Are you constantly trying to one-up them to gain the attention of your boss? To get ahead?
Or how about this: How are you treating your siblings? Are you willing to make them look bad, maybe even undercut them, just so that you can make yourself into the favorite child?
Or think about how you act on social media. Are you quick-fingered and sharp-tongued in order to make yourself look and feel better? (And that goes for how you approach your favorite sports teams and their biggest rivals, by the way.)
See what I mean? The reality is that we all have a desire to be number one. To put others down. To prop ourselves up. On the red carpet of life, we want all eyes to be on us, and we’re willing to compromise (or do some ridiculous things) to make that happen.
In the end, that’s part of our sin nature – that “missing the mark” that humans have been doing for centuries. And just like at the Met Gala where extravagance and opulence – and even ridiculousness – are celebrated, society tells us that type of striving is good. It tells us we must “look out for number one.” That “you are enough.”
Here’s the irony, though. I’m sure many of those celebrities who are trying to outdo each other, climb to the top, and get the most attention would say that they’re doing it in the name of being countercultural.
But do you know what is truly countercultural? It’s not trying to become number one, or trying to get the most attention, or pushing the envelope because that’s what society tells us to do. No, the most countercultural thing you can do is not to become first – it’s actually to Live Second. To put others first, not yourself. Every. Single. Day. That’s what we’re called to do. That’s what God created us for. That’s what is truly worth celebrating.
You may not get a lot of attention for it. You may not get your picture in Vogue for it. But you will be living according to your created purpose. And that’s better than any attention or gala in the world.