Friday, August 8, 2008

Beauty Within

Imagine you're sitting in a doctor's office, waiting to be called in. You're casually flipping through the Good Housekeeping magazine, when you come across a Revlon advertisement. Not only is the model who's representing the makeup company extremely attractive, but everything else about her seems perfect too. Silky-smooth hair, a fit, toned body, and expensive designer clothes add to her chic look. In fact, you start feeling a bit inferior as you run your fingers through your hair, only to pull your hands back with a sigh. Your locks just don't feel as soft and luscious as the model's looks. "Boy, I better start working out a bit more if I'm going to look as trim as her", you think. "And my clothing wardrobe could really use a makeover!"

I'm sure you can relate. Almost every girl I know, unless she's not human, feels somewhat inferior and insecure about herself when comparing herself to another beautiful woman. I know I do.

It can become frustrating, can't it? We live in a world where we're inundated with advertisements that are geared toward women in particular. And usually, these ads promote beautifying oneself by buying more makeup, hair and skin products, the latest fashion designs, and the list goes on and on. Of course, the flawless model promoting that new velvety skin lotion product is living proof of a happy, content, (not to mention radiant) young woman because she has perfect skin. Right?


Being a girl, I love shopping, clothes shopping in particular. Whenever I go shopping for a certain season, I'm sure that I will be perfectly happy after I've purchased a new pair of jeans, a few new tops, and maybe a pair of shoes to complete the outfit. For a little while, I'm extremely excited about my new belongings and can't wait to get them home into my closet. I'm still excited once I bring them home to show my mom, but after a while, that feeling of excitement fades as I fold them in my closet and they begin blending in with the other clothes. Sure, it's fun to wear that new top at first, but I soon start flipping through the JC Penney catalog and spot a cute sundress that I simply must have. What happened to my spirit of contentment? I have a closet full of clothes, yet I want more.

It reminds me of a song that goes like this, "Just as soon as I get what I want, I get unsatisfied. Good is good, but could be better." Having tons of material belongings never truly make us happy. We keep, as the song goes, wanting more.

As soon as I fall into the trap of being disconnect and insecure about myself, the only comfort I can truly wrap myself in is in knowing that I'm a daughter of the King, who loves me just as I am, blemishes and all. I'm sure you're all familiar with the verse from Proverbs 31:30, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." Well, when I'm feeling down about my looks, I'll say this verse over and over again till I'm blue in the face. This verse is so true though!

As attractive and good-looking as a young woman might be, as she ages, that beauty fades to a certain degree. But if the Lord has worked in her life, the beauty that comes from within never disappears, rather it keeps growing! Isn't that exciting? Have you ever met a young lady who might not be considered beautiful in the world's eyes, but she has such a passionate love and devotion for Christ that her lovely spirit is all you can see in her? On the other hand, a girl deemed beautiful because of her looks could be one of the most shallow, self-centered people you have ever met. Sure, she has her own large network of friends and is considered quite popular, but what will she be like when her beauty fades?

My great-grandmother was a very lovely woman in her younger days and even as she grew older, but her beauty wasn't from within. She spent an excessive amount of time beautifying herself to look just right when she stepped out her door. She was a bitter woman though. So unhappy inside because of a broken heart, she turned her back completely on God, instead of seeking His help when she needed Him most. Yes, she was very beautiful, but she wasn't happy. In fact, she was miserable.

Our culture is so obsessed with looks and fashion, and it's hard avoiding falling into the same trap sometimes. Commercials, store posters in the mall, and magazine ads are screaming in our faces, saying, "Don't you want to be like this? You can look perfect, too!" While I get discouraged looking at these ads, at least I have the assurance that I don't have to look like that makeup model. Ok, so it would be very nice to look like her, but with photoshop, even her looks are tweaked to look just right on the billboard. Beauty has become so distorted.

I want to be the kind of young woman whose beauty isn't determined by her outward appearance, but by "the hidden person of [her] heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." (1 Peter 3:3)

So the next time you're thumbing through that magazine and come across yet another beauty ad, just say to yourself, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."


~Priscilla~ said...

thanks sara for the comments on my blog(s)! i love your backround border here. i need to fix our family blog backround up!

HOPE said...

AMEN wonderful to find a sweet young woman desiring to serve the LORD and be pleasing in HIS sight.

God give you the strength to stand in your youth!

Sharon said...

Thank God for this post. God's drilling this into my head: "a gentle and quiet spirit is highly precious to God." That's how I want to be. Praise God for His mercy!

Keep on making yourself available to Him!

Brianna said...

Great post Sara! Thank you for the reminders...I too struggle with being self-focused and dis-satisfied with my outward appearance. I need to be more concerned about my inward appearance and condition...I guess it's another one of those "hard things" we've got to do!! :-)

Gina@Chats With An "Old Lady" said...

What a precious young woman you are! I am much older than you, but I feel the same things you do...because youth is what is "beautiful" in our culture, it is hard to age. I have to constantly remind myself that even though I might be "invisible" in our culture, God sees my heart and that is what is most important!

Keep your focus on Jesus. You are beautiful inside and out!!!

(p.s. I'm Brianna's mom, and just love love love being with young women and encouraging them...and SOMETIMES they even make me forget how old I am!!!)

L. said...

ah this is such an excellent post sara! this needs to be discussed more often for sure. thanks for posting it!!

Anonymous said...

Sara, thank you so much for this post. I really needed to hear this tonight. I have been really struggling with comparing myself to the "beauties" of this, knowing I will never add up. God is reminding me of what HE calls beauty... just like you said, and woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Thank you.


Maxine said...

How did I miss this? These are wonderful thoughts, Sara, especially coming from someone your age! I pray the Lord will help you to continue to desire to be a woman with unfading beauty only found in resting in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sara! So you don't know me, but my name is Emily. I was searching on-line for some good articles about self-confidence tonight because it's something I've struggled with a lot. Your post came up as a result! I just wanted to thank you for such an encouraging post. You've spoken truth into my life and that is such a blessing. Thanks for the good reminders!! Have a great week.:)