December 28, 2009

More Than A Woman

As much as I hate to admit it, I struggle with the issue of beauty.

I hate it because I don't consider myself very girly at all.

If I'm being honest, I don't feel beautiful unless I get dressed up, do something with my hair, put on heels and makeup. Which hardly ever happens anymore. I used to go out with my girlfriends in college and get dressed up, but for some reason I don't do it often enough now.

I also don't feel beautiful unless someone tells me that I am . . . but if it comes from family or other girls, it doesn't count.

When I was in a relationship, I felt beautiful. When my ex told me I was pretty, I believed it.

. . . but other than that, I walk around, believing that I am generally unattractive and moderately invisible, just a random chick under the radar, unnoticed.

I guess I could blame myself, for mostly wearing jeans and t-shirts, and usually not wearing very much makeup.

Why is it that we as women struggle with this? And who defines beauty anyway? What does it mean to be beautiful? Is it subjective . . . as they say, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"?

God created us in His image . . . and He is both beautiful and captivating. Is that why we long to be so? Did God put a desire to be beautiful in women?

. . . or is it a result of the fall? When God told Eve, "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." [Genesis 3:16]

Does that mean that we, as a result of sin, are cursed to desire the praise and approval of man . . . and this is why we want to be seen as beautiful? So that we will be acknowledged, accepted and sought after by a man?

Or, again - are we meant to be beautiful? Is it placed on us by God?

Or is beauty just another idol and evidence of my sinful condition?

Well . . . clearly this is not a new issue or struggle. The Bible speaks of beauty . . .

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

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, 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 3:2-4

So what should we be more concerned with? The fading and fleeting nature of outward appearance, or the unfading beauty of inward appearance and character as Godly women?

I was also reminded of this today, reading 1 Samuel . . . when God is about anoint David as the new king, and Samuel thinks that David's brothers look more fitting than he does, but God tells him . . .

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
- 1 Samuel 16:7

If the only one whose acceptance and approval of us matters, God, looks at our hearts and inward appearance . . . where should more of our time and energy be focused?

And I'm not trying to write off outward appearance altogether. After all, if I end up getting married, my husband better find me attractive and vise-versa. It's just a matter or what is more important, and seeking God's opinion on stuff like this.

Beauty is definitely a struggle for us as women, but to know that our Father loves us unconditionally, no matter what we're wearing, how much we weigh or if guys find us attractive.

I also find that when I struggle with beauty, I'm seeking the approval and acceptance of man. But man was never intended to give us validation or reconciliation. Plus, it's inevitable that we'll all get saggy in some places later in life.

If we find all of the approval, validation and satisfaction from Christ . . . which is the only source of lasting joy, refuge and life, our need to be found beautiful will be in His eyes.

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