This morning I was mindlessly rolling through Facebook and came across the post of a former student and high school senior. What I saw has truly given me pause. She posted a picture of herself from her preschool years with the following comment: When life wasn’t a beauty contest.
When life wasn’t a beauty contest…
Let that sink in for a moment. I did. It made me wonder, can I remember a time in my life when life wasn’t a beauty contest? I can’t. My heart sank as I read her words for a second and third time. Knowing her as I do, I am all too aware of the pressure she faces to be beautiful. All the time. Her statement hurt because I believe we always hope our daughters and the generations that follow us won’t have face the same pain we did. We want their lives to be better. Sadly, the teen years are still brutal, but let’s face it…so is womanhood.
As much as we try to deny it, beauty matters to us. We hate it. It breaks our hearts. Yet, we daily succumb to the demands to be “beautiful” placed upon us by society. Insecurity plagues us. Haunts us even. If only my eyes were blue. If only I were thinner. If only I could gain weight. If only I had curly hair. If only my hair were straight. If only I had bigger boobs. If only mine were smaller. If only. If only. If only. I hate it.
My favorite shoes of all time is a well-broken-in pair of Birkenstocks, Birks to those of us who know and love them well. I am more myself in jeans, a t-shirt, and Birks than in any other outfit I wear. Would you like to know how often I put on that particular outfit? Maybe once a month. Why? Because it’s not necessarily fashionable. I desperately wish I didn’t care, but I do. And very little makes the evil one giddier with delight.
The reason? We are each created in the very image of God. To deny our own beauty is to deny God’s magnificent beauty. The same God who created the most beautiful sunset. The same God who created the Rocky Mountains, Victoria Falls, and the Grand Canyon. The same God who created the oceans and rainforests. This same God created you in His image. Did you realize these magnificent vistas were not created in God’s image? But we were. Imagine, humans are meant to be more beautiful than any sunset, any mountain range, any ocean view. I don’t know of a sunset that doesn’t take my breath away. If that is the case, can there be a human that isn’t truly stunning to God?
The book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge help reveal another Truth about beauty I find truly incredible. When God created this incredible earth we live on, the creation of woman was His finale. Think about all of the finales you have ever seen. Have you ever known a finale to be less than the introduction? Less than any of the other acts? No. A finale is the final touch of an artist on his masterpiece. We, as women, are God’s final touch. His last creation. His finale. We are beautiful because He created us to be.
If I asked you to think about the most beautiful woman in your life, that you know personally, who would you name? One of the women I think of is my mother. She is beautiful to me. Another woman who stands out in my mind is one I tenderly call Miss Rita. Miss Rita is in her late 80s with snow-white hair and beautifully deep-set wrinkles. Her precious smile never ceases to warm my heart. Every pore of her body exudes grace and beauty. By the world’s standards she would never appear on the cover of Vogue, but she is beautiful. She is beautiful because her heart is beautiful. Her heart is beautiful because it belongs fully to the Savior. When the heart is beautiful, the woman is beautiful. Period.
What if more of us began to turn to women like Miss Rita as our role models for beauty? What if I spent more time worried about the beauty of my heart instead of whether I had remembered to apply my lipstick? I can’t say this is easy. In fact, it is probably one of the most difficult parts of life for me. I struggle with it—all the time. But I will say, when I remember to take my eyes off of society’s definition of beauty and place them on the One who created the very idea of beauty, I am always encouraged.
Am I living up to God’s standard of beauty? That’s a beauty contest I could really get sink my heart into. Only then do I realize I am beautiful. And my gorgeous sisters, you are too…
“So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.” Genesis 1:27