You know there’s something twisted with the world we live in when before little girls learn to read and write they learn how to put on make-up, spray tan themselves, and wear fake hair. Where before they are taught to develop their character they are taught to develop their awareness of reaching their ideal beauty on the outside which this world calls for. Where rather than mothers taking their children to church they take them to beauty pageants. If you don’t know what this is about, I’m referring to the show (which I happen to think is quite disturbing) called “Toddlers & Tiara’s”. I’ve never watched it myself but this show is pretty much a big pageant for toddler’s to enter into where they get all dressed up and are brought to be judged on their beauty, personality, and costumes.
I think little girls playing dress up at home is cute. It’s cute when they try to wear high heels around the house or when they smear lipstick all over their face because they want to be just like mommy. But I think there’s something totally wrong with this idea of taking little girls and before they can learn to think for themselves they are already exposed to the world and its standards for beauty. Young girls are bombarded enough by the media when they are growing up about what they must look like to be beautiful based on the standards of the world – why would someone want to give them a head start? A head start into believing that beauty on the outside is all that matters. A head start to a life of always striving to meet the un-ideal standards of beauty in this world. A life of insecurity, competition, and superficiality. To me, that is just sad.
It’s sad because there is so much more to life than outside beauty. It lasts only so long. And in the end, it won’t matter how beautiful you are on the outside. What will matter is how beautiful you were on the inside. People seem to forget that the body we are given is temporary and that although it’s important to take care of it there’s more to life than just that. I love how John Ortberg puts it in his book When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back In The Box,
“The outward you is temporary. The inner you is eternal. You can fight Old Man Wrinkle all you want. You can lavish time and money on the outer you: exercise it, stave it, Botox it, Rogaine it, stretch it, lift it, nip it, tuck it, tan it, dress it up at Neiman Marcus. One day it will just be very expensive worm food.”
Worm food. That’s exactly what our bodies will be. It’s not a pleasant thought, but it’s the truth and it’ll do us much good to remember this truth.
Being a girl I understand the desire to be beautiful. When I look in the mirror I want to see a beautiful girl looking back. I want to like the reflection that I see. But more than wanting to be beautiful for myself I want to be beautiful for someone else. I want to be beautiful for the man that I’m in love with. The man that I can’t live a moment without. The man that means the world to me. When he looks at me I want him to say “Wow… that’s MY girl and she’s absolutely beautiful”.
The only problem? This man doesn’t judge by outward appearance. It doesn’t matter how many hours I take to curl or straighten my hair. It doesn’t matter how carefully I apply my make-up. It doesn’t matter how many outfits I try on to pick the perfect one because he doesn’t care about any of these things. What matters to him? My heart.
This can’t be seen any clearer than in the passage written in 1 Samuel 16:7 “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” On the outside David’s older brothers fit the profile for the future king of Israel. They walked the walk. Talked the talk. Looked like they could play the part. But in reality they were far from fit for the throne and God knew this by looking inside of their heart. And He does the same with each one of us as well.
Lately I have been praying a prayer that I haven’t really prayed before. A prayer that keeps on residing in my heart and repeating in my mind… “Lord, show me what is beautiful to you and help me become that. It doesn’t matter if I reach the ideal standards of beauty placed by this world, I just want to be beautiful to you”. And God has been showing me. Showing me the good, the bad, and everything in between that is going on inside of me. Showing me what is truly beautiful for Him. And I’m not going to lie – it’s easier to be beautiful on the outside than it is on the inside. Because God’s standards of ideal beauty is a lot higher than the world’s standard for beauty.
The key to beauty is found in 1 Peter 3:4 “Instead, 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”. Along with Galatians 5: 22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”. If you have these qualities you have the characteristics that are truly beautiful in God’s sight.
It’s easy go shopping for a cute outfit at the mall… not so much to show kindness to your not-so-friendly neighbor. It’s easy to learn how to style your hair… not so much to have peace in times of trouble and trust God during storms of life. It’s easy to learn how to put on make-up so it brings out your beauty…. Not so much to practice self-control when you’re tempted to indulge in pleasures you shouldn’t indulge in.
To judge your outside beauty all you need to do is go and stand in front of the mirror. To judge your inner beauty you need to open the Word of God and see how you compare to the standards He has written in there.
My question to you: how beautiful are you in God’s eyes? Not in your best friend’s eyes. Not based on what you see in the mirror. But in the eyes of God. How do you measure up based on the traits listed in His Word? I know that ever since I started praying that prayer I’ve been convicted in the areas I need to improve on. The areas where honestly I’m not too “beautiful” to God in. And I am constantly working on pruning away those things about me that don’t bring glory to God and replacing them with the things that do. It’s not fun, but it’s so worth it. Because I know that during this process I am slowly becoming the person He created me to be, made in His image for His glory. 🙂
If you read Proverbs 31:10-31 you will see the ideal picture of a beautiful Godly woman. The interesting thing? Out of the 20 verses that describe her do you know how many of them mention her outside appearance? One. Because to God outside appearance doesn’t matter all that much. What’s going on inside, now that’s what matters.
Can you imagine if you spent only 1/20 your your time on outward beauty and the other 19/20 on developing the qualities that God describes as beautiful? I think you’d be spending a little less time in front of the mirror and a lot more time in God’s Word. A little less time in the mall and a lot more time in church. A little less time trying to impress people with your physical attractiveness. A little more time working on pleasing God with your inner beauty…
“There are many women who fear pimples, wrinkles, flabby thighs, and crow’s feet, but very few women who really fear the Lord.” Sad, but true.
This a challenge for you and me: Fear God more and worry less about outside beauty. After all my body will eventually be decaying eight feet underground somewhere, but my soul? It’ll remain for eternity. And I need to work on cultivating things that last for eternity rather than this temporary body that will soon be gone. 🙂