Hanging Up Her Wings
Main Point: Oftentimes, to follow Jesus as He desires, we must give up certain things. When that happens, we must be willing to make the necessary sacrifice(s).
The Discussion Starter:
When the gorgeous Kylie Bisutti won Victoria’s Secret Model Search in 2009, the young “angel” was fitted with a pair of the company’s iconic – and highly coveted – “wings.” She’d bested ten thousand other hopefuls in the competition and had become a professional model for the world’s most famous line of lingerie.
Then she stunned everyone by hanging up her wings and walking away from a very lucrative career.
Since Victoria’s Secret was founded in 1977, the executives have transformed a host of unknown girls into world-wide fashion idols…and sex symbols. In 2009, Kylie Bisutti joined their ranks. “Victoria’s Secret was my absolutely biggest goal in life, and it was all I ever wanted career-wise,” remembers the beautiful native of California who had formerly modeled clothes instead of the provocative lingerie that Victoria’s Secret is known for.
But there was one, small, nagging problem. Shortly before winning her wings, Kylie had married Mike, a committed Christian like herself, and she began to ponder her new job in light of her faith and marriage vows. “The more I was modeling lingerie, and lingerie isn’t clothing, I just started becoming more uncomfortable with it because of my faith,” she said.
Hey, let’s face it; their lingerie ads don’t leave much for the imagination….
Kylie got honest with herself. “I didn’t really want to be that kind of role model for younger girls because I had a lot of younger Christian girls that were looking up to me and then thinking that it was okay for them to walk around and show their bodies in lingerie to guys.” She continued, “My goal is just to be a better role model for the youth. I just want them to see me as somebody that they can look up to and somebody that’s going to be dressing appropriately and not getting into things that I wouldn’t want them to be getting into.”
She then displayed wisdom far beyond her age, and added, “My body should only be for my husband and it’s just a sacred thing. It was pretty crazy because I finally achieved my biggest dream, the dream that I always wanted, but when I finally got it, it wasn’t all that I thought it would be.”
For those reasons, Bisutti hung up her wings…and covered up her body. She left the world of lingerie modeling and returned to the kind of modeling that was consistent with her commitment to Jesus. In doing so, she became an example to all of Christ’s disciples, not just girls.
The Clip: There are two clips for you to choose from, both of which are on YouTube.
(Longer) Interview with CBS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rowyuzWkaUA
(Shorter) Interview with ABC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CDKLrsUyco
Wow! A model who is a role model! What a concept! When I heard that story, I knew we had to discuss it in our small groups. Here is a young girl who had finally gotten everything she ever wanted, everything she’d worked so hard for…and then, walked away from it because it conflicted with her commitment to Jesus Christ. Incredible! We don’t see many stories like that today. But Kylie knew that every aspect of her life belonged to God and should be spent glorifying Him. When she discovered that it wasn’t, she took very drastic steps to align herself with God’s will, even though she knew it would cost her. That’s what I want us to spend the next few moments discussing. I want us to develop the dedication and commitment to God that Kylie has, even though it won’t be easy.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite piece of clothing.
- ASK A FEW: What do you know about Victoria’s Secret as a company and/or brand? How would you describe them?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think Kylie’s decision to leave VS was an easy one or difficult one? Explain.
- ASK A FEW: Name some of the things that Kylie gave up in her decision. (Leaders – She gave up fame, money, reputation, influence, and fans when she walked away from VS.)
- ASK A FEW: In the CBS clip, Kylie said she had been “growing in her relationship with the Lord” and “reading the Bible more.” How do you think those two realities impacted her decision?
- ASK A FEW: In the clip(s), Kylie kept talking about wanting to save her body for her husband and him alone. How does God feel about that standard? Is that a standard you see a lot of these days, or a little?
- ASK A FEW: What did Kylie say her boundary was these days?
- ASK A FEW: Could you see yourself giving up something so prestigious as a job with Victoria’s Secret because of your commitment to Jesus? Why or why not?
Read the following passage:
Luke 19:1-10 (NIV)
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.'” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Ever since I read the story about Kylie, it’s been one of my favorites. It’s challenged me to look at my own life to see if I could give up the things that I think are important. Can I give up watching TV shows that I know aren’t good for me or my family? Can I give up my money to help others? Am I willing to put my reputation on the line for Jesus in even more radical ways?
Kylie was…and it pleased Jesus. So, I need to be willing also.
We know that sort of attitude and behavior pleases Jesus. We’re told so in Luke 19. When Zacchaeus gave away all the money he had stolen from others and hoarded for years, he was basically saying, “Jesus, I don’t want this money to stand between You and me any longer.” Jesus acknowledged that Zacchaeus got it…and more importantly, got Him!
So, what about you? Are you willing to give up what the world thinks is important so you can follow Jesus? Are you willing to go all out in order to be in line with His will? Are you willing to pay a price for the One who paid the ultimate price for you?
In all honesty, many of us won’t be. The vast majority is willing to compromise our relationship with Jesus to keep the things of this world, whether it’s money, fame, influence, friends, reputation, etc. Do you want to know how I know that?
Because it’s in the Bible so often. Listen to what Matthew 19:16-22 has to say about a guy who met Jesus
- Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man inquired. Jesus replied, “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'” 20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
The choice is yours; it always has been. What will you do with it when push comes to shove? Will you make the necessary sacrifice…or will you choose something else over Jesus?
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.