Monday, August 9, 2010

God's Beauty Guide

There are beautiful people out there. I’m not even going to try and pretend there aren’t. People with flawless skin, gorgeous smiles, silky hair and figures they don’t even have to exercise for. Women who’ve never had to experience a break-out when they look in the mirror and whose teeth gleam white even with their morning coffee habit. Yep, there are naturally gorgeous women out there. And no, I am not one of them.

Beauty is not just skin deep. At least that’s what we tell each other and our daughters. Being a mom of two little girls, I desperately want them to believe it. I know it’s the state of our hearts that really shows our true beauty, but looking in the mirror I sometimes forget that.

And what do my daughter’s hear more clearly? When I tell them they’re hearts are what make them beautiful? Or, when I stand in front of the mirror and my day turns horrible because of that one hair that will not cooperate, suddenly making it a Bad Hair Day. And ladies, we all know what bad hair can do to our day. God says he gave us our hair as a ‘crowning glory’ but some days I seriously challenge that statement when I see the mop on my head.

Let me give you some background. I am a six-foot, long legged, not small boned, brunette with lily white skin in a land of classic, petite, blonde Dutch girls who get a beautiful golden glow in the summer and have toothpicks for bones. I was one of only two six-foot girls in my high school. The other girl was talented in sports. I trip over my own two feet (ask my hubby, he’s nicknamed me ‘Grace’). And, this was all before they made clothes for tall girls. Oh, let me take that back, I could shop in the Tall Girl shop where apparently only polyester could stretch long enough to cover our bodies.

So, I grew up comparing myself to these girls around me and falling miserably short. You know what happens when you’re insecure? You become a mean person. In my early teen years, I was terrible to people around me, but blessedly God reached down and changed me. It was a painful process, but one I will always be thankful for. He even gave me access to his Beauty Guide. It’s one I still refer to, some days more than others, and would be lost without.

God’s word tells us clearly about what true beauty is. Proverbs 31 starts to hint at it. Yes, I mentioned it. The Proverbs 31 woman. I’ve often wondered if he really needed to put that in the Bible. I mean, how are we ever going to live up to that chapter? But I think God knew what he was doing, (isn’t that a given?) when he made sure that chapter was included. Not to condemn us for not reaching it, but to encourage us and give us something to work towards. It was a ‘must’ when he wrote this Beauty Guide. And, I have to say it’s much better advice than what you’ll find in Glamour or Cosmo.

So let’s get back to Proverbs 31. Here it says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” See, ‘beauty is fleeting’. God shoots straight with us. Outward beauty is not a permanent thing, but the state of our hearts is. These old bodies aren’t going to last forever, so why not start working on what will remain, rather than what is fleeting?

That brought me to I Peter 3. Ohhh, listen to this and let it speak to your hearts!! “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. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.” I'm sorry, but that just begs an Amen!!

See, we can put all the pretty clothes and jewelry on ourselves that we want. We can have the best Hair Day in the world and lose those extra ten pounds all of us constantly talk about. But, that’s not where true beauty comes from, at least not in the Beauty Guide I’m reading! And the best part is, this Guide gives us a way to ‘unfading beauty’, not ‘fleeting beauty’ (this only means more to me as each birthday passes:) ).

Here’s the thing though. We may know the truth, it may even want to set us free, but it can’t do that unless we believe it’s the truth. We’re like a bunch of Ugly Ducklings, swimming around and comparing ourselves to the wrong thing and thinking we don’t fit in. All the while, our Father is watching us, beckoning us to compare ourselves to Him so we can see our true beauty. Let him be the mirror you use today, you’ll love the reflection you see.

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