Am I Beautiful?
Most women ask themselves this question every day. Am I as beautiful as my friends? Does my husband find me attractive? How do I compare to other women?
A few Sundays ago, we had one of those crazy run-around pre-church mornings. Get breakfast ready, put clothes on the kids, eat, get the kids dressed again because breakfast is all over their clothes, clean up the food explosion on the floor, etc… all while getting packed for the cottage. We made it to church on time and I continued my morning as usual, saying “hi” and chatting with friends. It wasn’t until church was started that I realized in all of the morning rush that I had forgotten to put any makeup on! I’m not huge on makeup, just some concealer on the dark circles and mascara on the lashes and I am all set, but when I realized my face was ‘Au Natural’ I felt embarrassed! Embarrassed of my own face!
In our present society, we are told through magazines, advertisements, celebrities, and countless other places that in order to be beautiful we must be size 2 with big boobs, flawless tanned skin, and long shiny hair. If this isn’t ringing a bell then check out this add that came up in my facebook feed last week:
Not only are they telling me to get a tummy tuck and make my boobs bigger, they hashtag this picture #mommymakeover! As if women who have had children need to have those procedures to be beautiful!
For moms like myself, especially those who have been pregnant themselves, this picture of beauty is extra difficult to achieve. Countless stretch marks, saggy skin, dark circles, grey hair, varicose veins, and lets be honest….sometimes peeing when we sneeze too hard. There is an endless supply of “flaws”. So how are we supposed to attain this picture of beauty?
Let’s come at this question from a different angle. Do you feel your friends aren’t beautiful if they don’t look perfect? More importantly, what about your children? Do you want your daughters to grow up desperately trying to look a certain way? Or how about your sons? Do you want them to only like girls because of their looks? The way we treat and view ourselves affects others whether we mean it to or not. We need to stop allowing ungodly world-views to shape the way we think about ourselves and the world.
As Bible-believing Jesus-lovers, we are meant to put on our spiritual armour against these falsehoods and look to God to discover the true meaning of beauty. The best way to start this change is to look at the negative thoughts we have about ourselves and ask God to help us replace them with His truths, and focus on where true beauty lies.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
This verse is a great starting place and reminder of what matters to God. If we are focused on our body and face, we are forgetting about the part of us where our beauty really comes from. Our outward appearance doesn’t distract God, he sees right through to what matters most to Him, the attitudes of our heart.
Qualities of a Beautiful Heart
“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue… Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” – Proverbs 31: 25-26, 30
“Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of your hair and the putting on of gold jewellery, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of your heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s eyes is very precious.” – 1 Peter 3: 3-4
These two verses echo each other in their dismissal of outward beauty and in their encouragement of finding beauty in our Godly qualities: strength, dignity, wisdom, kindness, fear of the Lord, and a gentle and quiet spirit. When we look to these heart-qualities instead of our outward appearance, our entire life becomes something beautiful itself.
Imagine being someone who:
- Listens before reacting (Pro 18:13).
- Thinks before speaking (Pro 15:28).
- Encourages instead of discourages (1 Thess 5:11).
- Brings peace, not rage (Rom 12:17-18).
- Is strong in faith (1 Cor 16:13).
- Is gentle, not harsh (1 Tim 6:11).
- Is selfless, not selfish (Phil 2:3).
- Speaks with godly wisdom (Pro 31:26).
- Listens to and obeys the Lord (Luke 11:28).
These are some of the things that God finds in a person who has a beautiful heart. Not only does God see this beauty, but it will also shine through to everyone in our lives as an inward and everlasting beauty.
How do we do it?
How do we become someone who has heart-beauty and values it above outward beauty? As in everything we need to start in prayer. Your true beauty is only revealed when you are abiding in Christ. As Christians, the Spirit of Christ lives in us (Rom 8:9), so pray that His beautiful heart would radiate out of you. Ask Him to change what you value as beauty, to show you where your true beauty lies, and to help you look towards Him instead of others for your self worth. Also, ask God to cultivate and grow the qualities of His beautiful heart deep within you. Memorize the above bible verses to encourage and help you when you are struggling. Look to your Christian friends who have Godly qualities that you admire – recognize that beauty, and learn from it. Ask God to let you view the world the way that he does – valuing the inward beauty above the outward.
In light of all this, think about your morning routine. Are you wearing makeup to cover up your face because you are embarrassed of how you look? Are you wearing fancy clothes to look better than someone else? Do you spend as much time cultivating your heart as you do your outward appearance? It isn’t wrong to want to look nice, but think about what your reasons are and whom you are trying to please. Abide in Jesus, and let your real beauty shine from Christ in you. The more time you spend with Him the more you will “cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.” (1 Peter 3:4 MSG)