As women, we all want to be beautiful. We spend hours on our hair or our makeup, trying to find the perfect shoes to complement the perfect dress to match the perfect nail polish. We all have the desire to be seen as beautiful. And there’s nothing wrong with that desire, as long as we don’t make the tragic mistake of equating our appearance with our value and self-worth.
I admit that I have fallen prey to the never-ending uphill climb of achieving outward beauty. One day, as I was primping myself in the mirror, I had a revelation. I was having a good hair day for a change and I had taken extra care with my makeup. I was fussing with getting my lip gloss just right when (as He has a way of doing in our finer moments) God spoke to me.
“Being pretty isn’t enough. It’s time for you to put more focus on being pretty on the inside”
… Ouch. As always, God was right on point. Whose standard of beauty was I trying so desperately to achieve? How much time do I spend on becoming prettier in the areas that really matter?
We’ve all encountered people who are absolutely gorgeous… until they open their mouth. It’s easy to recognize internal ugliness. Anger. Jealousy. Unforgiveness. Complaining. Bad-mouthing. Gossiping. Crude jokes. Negative remarks.
The Bible is clear about what a beautiful woman looks like:
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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” – 1 Peter 3:3-4
Is God instructing us not to style our hair or wear earrings? No, He is telling us that true beauty lies in our character. God is not saying that we must have a gentle and quiet personality in order to be beautiful, (phew!) He’s telling us that we need to have a gentle and quiet spirit; a heart that is resting in God’s Faithfulness, not overcome with anxiety and strife.
So, how do we put pretty into practice? Responding with grace and forgiveness to those who hurt us. Being friendly to the person sitting alone. Not always trying to be right in a conversation. Not talking behind somebody’s back. Going out of your way to help others in need. True beauty is reflecting the love of Christ in everything we think, say and do. It is Humility. Compassion. Gentleness. Patience. Grace. Generosity. Sacrifice. And above all else: Love. Loving the Lord with our whole heart and loving others in His Name.
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” – Proverbs 31:30
What a testimony our lives will be when we can look at our reflection in the mirror, smile with confidence and say, “I am truly beautiful”.
Abba Father, please help us to become women of true beauty; beauty that radiates from a heart that seeks Your Face above all else. Help us not to become slaves to the world’s ideal of beauty but transform us from the inside out until we embody the fruit of Your Spirit and our lives become a reflection of Your Love. Thank You for never giving up on us. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen.