Not quite Favorites February…But rather a completely new look at an old blog, “The Beauty Contest“
When life wasn’t a beauty contest. This was her post. A former student remembering her preschool years.
When life wasn’t a beauty contest…
Can you remember a time when life wasn’t a beauty contest? Me either.
The pressures to be beautiful seep in to our souls, squeezing, pushing, haunting. Everywhere we turn. Each magazine rack we pass. Every advertisement our eyes behold.
My heart sank as I read my student’s words for a second—a third time. As a teen, her desire to be beautiful is palpable. My heart aches. It aches deep inside to those secret places women keep.
It aches because I always hoped our daughters wouldn’t face the same pain we did. We still do. We want their lives to be better. But adolescence is brutal—so is womanhood.
As much as we try to deny it, beauty matters to us. And we hate it. Yet, we succumb to the demands of beauty placed upon us by society. Insecurity plagues us. Chases after our esteem.
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 am desperate to not care, yet I do.
But Hope exists. It lives and awaits our outstretched hand.
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.
So why doesn’t humanity steal my air. I should be left gasping at the beauty we each share. The magnificence of God’s image at our core—our deepest being. Maybe, just maybe, I’ve looking for the wrong beautiful.
And then I remember Miss Rita.
Snow-white hair. Deep-set wrinkles. Shoulders hunched, born from the burdens of others she’s carried. Knees that creak from an existence knelt in prayer. Hands worn from a life of giving. A life of love. Her Jesus-smile meets my eyes, and I never fail to see her light.
Miss Rita would never appear on the cover of Vogue, but she is beautiful. She is beautiful because her heart is beautiful. When the heart is beautiful, the woman is beautiful. Period.
I am left with a question. Simple. Quiet. But there.
If I began to recognize the God-beauty held within the heart of my sisters, would I stop seeking the world’s definition of beauty for myself?
“Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible,
but the Lord sees the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b
It is the heart, my sisters, which bring beauty to our face and a glow to our form. And when I spend my days looking toward the glorious heart of my sisters, I will see beauty beyond compare. And when I spend my days ensuring my own heart displays God’s image in it’s magnificence, I will begin to shed my own insecurities.
Only then will I discover life is a beauty contest and my Jesus is the judge.