I’ve really been enjoying the newest Beth Moore study on Esther. It’s made me think of an issue that I haven’t really delved into before. The uncharted water I’m referring to is the issue of Beauty. More specifically beauty and how I relate to it. I’ve been processing something Beth said a week ago in the Week 1 video and still don’t know how to express my thoughts. How women relate to the standard of beauty is so complex. And personal.
So the main question is this: How do you feel about beauty? Do you feel beautiful and by whose standards do you judge yourself?
What I’m starting to come to terms with is that I’m immature in this area. I’m stuck in an adolescent view of beauty. One of the homework questions asked us to recall our thoughts on the first day of high school. I don’t specifically remember the first day of high school. I’m pretty sure I was dropped off by my father in an ancient Mercedes. My stylish ride would be announced by the loud diesel engine. My classmates, standing in the courtyard would be sure to notice the smoke rising from the tail pipe. I don’t remember being nervous. But I’m sure I was. And I don’t remember feeling out of place. I was fortunate to have a large group of girlfriends to go and do things with. But even though I had a good group of friends and an ideal family life, I was suffering from some insecurity…
I wasn’t allowed to date when I was a 9th grader. That wasn’t a problem for me. It wasn’t a problem as a 10th or 11th grade either. No guy was interested. That lack of interest (I didn’t have a boyfriend until 12th grade!) left me feeling a little unwanted, a little unlikeable, a little defective, a little insecure. Although I was confident in most areas, I didn’t really feel like I measured up in the beauty department. Every girl wants to be beautiful and what better way to judge beauty than basing it on how boys perceive you. At 5’0″ I guess I was “cute.” And maybe I could’ve aspired to cute nerdy chick. But I was definitely not pageant material. And so I covered up any desire to be wanted/loved/thought beautiful (not just cute) with nonchalance and apathy. Okay, and maybe a little disdain for those who did seem to be winners on the beauty front. I was above all of that superficiality. Or so I thought. When I’m completely honest, part of me still wants you to think I’m beautiful. And funny. And brilliant. Basically, I want you to assign me my self worth.
Back to the Week 1 video. Beth says there are four types of women. 1) A woman that wants everyone to think she’s beautiful. She’s miserable. 2) A woman that wants every man to think she’s beautiful. She’s dangerous. 3) A woman that wants no one to think she’s beautiful. She’s afraid. 4) A woman that wants a few to think she’s beautiful. She’s ____ (missed that essential part!). Maybe that lost word was something wonderful like “balanced.” Ha. I don’t think so. Although I can channel the misery, danger, and fear of the other women, I’m a #4. The list of people I want to think of me as beautiful is pretty short. (Although, if you do think I’m beautiful, I wouldn’t tell you you were stupid or anything and it would probably make me feel good inside.) Beth goes on to say that she’s a #4 as well, but after giving it some thought, doesn’t think that’s the righteous frame of mind. I’m with her on that.
As Christian women, we’re called to base our world view not on how we feel (or don’t feel) but rather on fact and faith. In the booklet The Four Spiritual Laws, there’s a picture of a train. The Bible’s inherent Truth or Fact is the engine. Our Faith is the next car and is made possible only by relying on the empowering Fact of the Bible. The Feeling caboose comes in last. Regardless of how we feel, the Truth of the Bible and our decision to believe that Truth stays the same. The Bible remains the same. As does the decision I made when I was 4. Feeling is pulled along by Fact and Faith and is subordinate to those preceding elements. Does that make sense? A lot of the time, I base my attitudes, actions and thoughts on how I feel (not too pretty, none too cute, downright ugly) instead of what the Bible clearly tells me. My next little project needs to be to take a page from Beth’s book. She says that she has three verses written on notecards at her table where she does Bible study. It would probably help me to have a few reminders that my REAL self worth comes from God, not from the approval of men. Or women. Here are Beth’s verses:
Colossians 2:10 And you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe.
Song of Solomon 7:10 I am my beloveds and he is mine.
Psalm 90:17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us.
I personally like 1 Peter 3:3,4: Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
Or in the words of the timeless DC Talk–“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she ain’t playin’. Here’s what I’m sayin’ and I’m sayin’ it clearly, she’s the kinda girl I gots to have near me.” (I think that’s from Proverbs 31. LOL).
Bottom Line: Instead of wanting people to think I’m beautiful, I need to be concerned about meeting God’s beauty standards. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to get pretty on the inside.