>Every girl has at some point in her life sat before a mirror with a skeptical eye and asked her echoing reflection the question, “Am I beautiful?” Three short, seemingly simple words, and yet on them hang a myriad of hopes, fears, and doubts. The desire to be considered beautiful is shared by every girl, young lady, and woman alike and while perhaps untainted in their onset, our perceptions of “beauty” are almost inevitably skewed by the conflicting messages around us.
Our culture is obsessed with appearance and girls are bombarded with messages that convince them that their personal value depends on how they measure up on the “pretty” scale. The unfortunate fact is however that no one ever measures up. The ideals of “beauty” that are presented to us by the media and fashion retailers are themselves only touched up computerized images. But however phony, these images imprint themselves on the minds of young ladies who unconsciously believe the lies and as a result feel dissatisfied and unhappy in the person God created them to be.
I know because I’ve been there. I have struggled in vain to measure up to what I believed to be the standard of beauty. I have spent hours in front of the mirror trying in vain to copy the flawless hairstyle of the heroine in a movie. I have even harbored envy in my heart towards girls who appeared to have no flaws in their appearance.
Praise the Lord that there is glorious truth in Christ that is able to shatter the idols of our world and tear down the false preceptions of our culture! In Him and Him alone can the meaning of true beauty be found and only by His grace can it be attained.
The image of beauty that the Bible gives is in stark contrast to the one that the world offers. Psalm 29:2 says, “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” The presence of the Lord, in all His holiness and purity, is the source of true beauty given to a heart that is consecrated to worshiping Him. So it is when our hearts are kneeling before the throne of the Almighty, when we are delighting in Him and giving Him praise that we become partakers of His beauty, His holiness.
We are told that it is by our physical appearance that we have value, but Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” What really matters is not whether my dress is in the latest fashion or my hair is picture-perfect; what really matters is a godly fear of the Lord, a recognition and awe of his mighty sovereignty and a love that overflows into worship. A woman with those qualifications is truly beautiful.
I am not at all saying any attention to our physical appearance or any desire to be pretty is wrong. I will continue to enjoy pretty clothes and experimenting with new hairstyles. But I want to purpose to have goals bigger than acheiving physical beauty, to replace the cultural idols with Biblical models, to be pressing on towards a higher, more meaningful beauty. I want people to look at me and not say “Oh there’s a pretty girl” but rather “There is a girl who knows Jesus Christ;” I want others to witness beauty of Christ shining through me, however faint the glimmer.
And if these goals too seem impossible to attain, be comforted, dear one, because we don’t climb upward our own. “If a soul has any beauty, it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us.” ~ Charles Spurgeon