Did you grow up comparing yourself to a sister? Last night in Bible Study, the topic was beauty. It was funny, but when we were talking about our personal beauty, we each talked about how we were prettier than our sister, or she was prettier than we were. Hmm..
One of the questions was, "When someone tells you you are beautiful, what is your response? Do you believe them?
One of the girls said that she thought that when she got married she would finally accept the fact that she was lovable and desirable, because someone wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. She's been married over a year and she still doesn't feel it.
God judges how beautiful we are on the inside. The world values physical beauty. But I think that very few of us are not affected by all of the media, magazines, and people we know that place a high emphasis on faces and physiques. But just because someone has it together on the outside doesn't mean they're not a hot mess on the inside.
I think of Misty, who used to work with me. She is one of the most beautiful women I've known personally. She looks like a young, hip, rocker version of Catherine Zeta Jones. She also has contemplated suicide on more than one occasion. She used to be involved in teaching a Sunday school class, but when she got pregnant out of wedlock the people in her church turned their noses up at her and she fell away from God. Some of this may have been her own guilt perception of what was going on around her, but it is true that we can be pretty hard on people when they fall sometimes. What would have happened if the people had loved her through it and helped her restore her relationship with God through repentance and obedience? God doesn't give up on us when we fall. People do.
I look at Hollywood- divorces and drug problems, affairs and scandals. I think about the pr*stitutes we take off the street at our church- one woman in particular who is a tall pretty blonde who looks like she has seen hell here on earth. She walks around in really high shoes and is covered in tattoos. She has the most guarded and wary look on her face- like a dog who's used to being kicked around. I just want to hug her- but I'm kind of scared of her right now.
Then I look at the women I've met through blogging; ordinary women who breathe life to others through the Holy Spirit who prompts them to encourage one another. I see the love that must have been in the early churches Paul visited. I think each and every one of you is a woman to be emulated-yes, even in your weak times, because you have found true beauty and you live it out each day. It shines through your words of hope and your ability to laugh, love, and reach out to others with abandon in this world that can be so cold. You are so beautiful.
I think our perception of our beauty is directly correlated with what we think will make people love us. If we don't feel beautiful, we don't feel lovable. But check out these verses:
"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." Isaiah 53:2-3
"For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation." Psalm 149:4
Jesus was not a hottie! But I feel like crying each time I read that he was despised- because I love him so much. I've never seen him bodily. I have seen him in the hands and words of his people. The ones who believed in him were drawn to him by who he was - not by what he looked like.
This same spirit resides in each one of us who has trusted God as the ruler of her life. He gives us the joy and the strength that ARE appealing to those who want to know- how can she stay positive? Why isn't she gossipping? She is so nice! Christ's beauty shines through each one of us.
I am not saying that we shouldn't bother to try to look nice. It's okay to feel pretty on the outside. All I'm saying is that when we have a bad hair day, we are still totally lovable.
I am excited to see the woman from church change as she realizes that she is not worthless. I am excited to see her face go from "set-in-stone" to soft and smiling. I can't wait to see her let her guard down. I have no doubt it's going to take a while. She doesn't know how beautiful she is yet. But God does.
Today, tell someone how beautiful she is. Find something about her that is wonderful, and tell her that she is awesome. Have a great day!
If you want to see the Bible study we are studying go HERE. It is an awesome resource. We did lesson two last night.