The Struggle of Beauty

(Originally written July 15th, 2009).

Proverbs 31:30
 It started weeks ago when I happened to see a make-up commercial for Covergirl announcing their new product called "Simply Ageless". Ellen DeGeneres played the usual, unrealistic looking "model" to show off the product. It wasn't the actual commercial that bothered me, but what she said in the very beginning... "Inner beauty is important, but outward beauty is even MORE important." In all honesty, I was somewhat angry. Being "beautiful" isn't everything. The sad part is, many girls will believe that. And it's completely contradictory to the Bible as 1 Samuel 16:7 says:

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

and 1 Peter 3: 3-4 also states:

"Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes – but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight."

More recently, I went to the beach for a week and during that time and the week after I got back five different people mentioned to me that I didn't seem THAT tan. (If you're one of those people, and you're reading this, I have nothing against you, I am just adding this to my point). It irritated me though... I'm not one to care a significant amount about my own outward beauty but this did bother me. Did you know that being tan was once not even valued?

"The alabaster skin I mentioned earlier was considered an essential item for the fashionable woman four hundred years ago, but it also caused a variety of skin problems. Some beauty writers at the time discouraged this practice, pointing out that it made skin appear grey and shriveled. Even worse, the foundation was responsible for numerous physical problems and resulted in some cases of muscle paralysis and untimely death. During the Renaissance, wealthy Italian women wore a popular face powder made of arsenic." (Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves. p. 18).

Just as you can tell, beauty trends are constantly changing. What does it matter if I'm not tan enough today, for tomorrow, pale skin could be in style again.... as for any trend, whether clothing or objects, etc. Part of it is just being satisfied with the way God made you and not constantly trying to be "good enough" for the world and it's corrupt and unrealistic views. Because the truth is, you will NEVER be good enough to the world or to people of the world. It ached my heart as I read through different posts from girls from the blog at http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/ So many girls (no matter what the age) struggle with being pretty enough or skinny enough.. the list goes on and on. And it's Christian girls too. Even Godly girls can be so insecure about the way they look. However, being beautiful can mean nothing when a girl's heart can be a dark shade of black, and full of hate and bitterness (Matthew 23:28). (Be sure to check out this link about having a "pretty heart": http://www.liesyoungwomenbelieve.com/index.php?id=307
But in the midst of all the shallowness and fake views of the world, we can find truth from God's word about the way he loves us and what REAL beauty is:

Proverbs 31:30 - "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

Psalm 45:11 - "The King is enthralled by your beauty, honor Him for He is your God."

1 Timothy 2:9-10 - "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God."

Psalm 139:14 - "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Jeremiah 1:5 - "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart."

and a verse I previously mentioned from 1 Peter chapter 3:

"Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes – but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight."

I think a girl can be most beautiful when she's in love with Christ her Lord and desires to be more Christ-like each day; containing the most valuable fruits of the Spirit which are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23a). And if you read that verse carefully, you'll see that no where in it is "outward beauty".

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