Today, the idea of beauty is something that is constantly sought, but can never be fully attained. There is a song by Johnny Diaz called “A More Beautiful You” that expresses the doubts girls feel about themselves, and what they do in order to feel “beautiful”.
Today’s culture is full of personal and possessive pronouns: I, ME, AND MY.
Listen to any commercial and see how they advertise: by referring to the product or service MY (insert product here).
- iphone, ipad, imac, my rewards, have it your way, have it my way…
You get the picture. The focus on these ads are self-gratification and self satisfaction. But these aren’t views companies are forcing on us; these advertisements are written the way they are because it is what we want to hear.
phones, computers, soft drinks, hamburgers…all created for ME!
We crave it. Attention and personalization from companies filled with people who don’t even know us. Yet we buy into it because what they sell is something we want:
Something that will improve ME.
I have been so guilty of this. I listened to TV, movies, billboards, commercials, and even friends that told me I needed to improve myself, and the self-improvements were never complete. According to them,
- My skin is never clear enough
- My hair is never straight enough
- or curly enough
- or long enough
- or blonde enough
- I’m not skinny enough
- tan enough, or overall
- PRETTY ENOUGH
I spent so much time trying to conform to standards set by people who don’t even know me, and even some who did. People who reinforced my idea that my physical self, and by extension, ME, was worthless. And the only avenue to self-improvement was physical, flawless, perfection. At 5’7″ and 130 pounds, I thought I needed to lose weight. I thought status and self-worth were tied to how I looked and what I “did”. So I began the search to define myself; the problem was
- I wasn’t an athlete or beauty queen. I wasn’t on student council, and never stuck with any clubs. I didn’t have a cool job, and I couldn’t claim I wanted to be a doctor or lawyer. I was an artsy, introspective bookworm.
And I was lost.
The ideals I had set for myself ,
or accepted because society had set them for me, were based in
- Vanity (fueled by a lack of self-worth, which was in part fueled by jealousy)
- Hatred (fueled by vanity and jealousy)
- Selfishness (again, fueled by vanity)
What do all of these have in common? According to the Bible, they are “acts of the flesh.”
Gal. 5:19-21 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In short, I invested my time, energy, and emotions worrying about the appearance of my physical self. Essentially,
And I worked HARD to ensure I presented my best “self,” because I wanted to be valued by the people who set those standards for me. This wasn’t simply a negative attitude fed to me by today’s culture of which I was a victim.
It was a sin .
- Gal. 6:8 “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
- Gal. 5:13 “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
This feeling of self-seeking and lack of self worth is not something new for girls. I would even be so bold as to say that there isn’t a girl who hasn’t at one point in her life felt this way. We need to be reminded that the physical body that holds us is not the full essence of who we are, and its physical beauty is certainly not what deserves the majority of our time and attention. We can look so closely in the mirror and at ourselves compared to other people that we forget to look at our most important and beautiful feature.
Col. 3:1-2 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
In my opinion, the woman depicted in Proverbs 31 is the most honorable standard of beauty a girl can have. None of her described characteristics are concerns about her physical appearance; she does not have selfish ambitions, but her focus is on spiritual traits and providing for other people. .
Prov. 31:12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
Prov. 31:15-19 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
Prov. 31:25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
Be aware of who your role models are, and who you are trying to please. Don’t be so caught up in trying to meet the standards of others that you lose your self-worth. Because God has made you in HIS image, and that is something pretty spectacular. There is so much more to you than what meets the eye, so don’t be so caught up with perfecting your reflection in the mirror that you forget how to reflect your true self. Because
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.