Everywhere we turn the world is shouting at us, “You have to be thin, tall, tan, have a flawless complexion, perfect, white teeth, etc. And if you aren’t that way, do anything you have to in order to become that way.” It is very sad how much focus and praise is put on outward beauty instead of inward beauty.
Girls become anorexic and bulimic so that they will become thin, expose themselves to harmful light rays that can cause cancer in order to become tan, undergo plastic surgery to change some aspect of their body’s appearance, etc.
Why do girls go through all this?
Because the world lies to us and says that the only way to be happy and accepted is to be what the world defines as beautiful (whatever that is!). That is why girls are willing to harm themselves in order to attain that “perfect body.”
Maybe you haven’t gone to the extreme of harming yourself but have you ever complained about the way you look or wished you could change something in your appearance? Probably most girls at one time or the other have.
There is something we are all forgetting. What is it?
We are forgetting that God made us. He made us in His image. He made us the way He wanted to make us. In His eyes we are beautiful just the way we are!
But there is something else we must remember and realize. To God, outward appearance is not what matters. He looks at our heart. To Him, inward beauty is worth far more that outward beauty because outward beauty fades. Smooth skin is traded for wrinkles. Blonde hair is traded for gray. But Inward beauty lasts. Instead of fading with time, it becomes more beautiful with time.
Does this mean that we shouldn’t focus any time or attention at all to our outward appearance? No it doesn’t.
Nowhere in the Bible are women instructed to wish for, ask for, or strive for physical beauty. Neither does the Bible portray physical beauty as a blessing for those who have it.
This is why, in 1 Peter 3:3, we are exhorted: “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing.” Now God is not saying that women shouldn’t style their hair or wear jewelry, for then He would also be barring clothing—and we know that is not the case.
However, what the 1 Peter verse is forbidding, says Matthew Henry, is the “inordinate love and excessive use (that is, the abuse) of them.” He goes on to say, “we must not set our hearts upon them, nor value ourselves by them, nor think the better of ourselves for them, nor pride ourselves in them, as if they added any real excellence to us.”
We need to find a balance between focusing on our outward beauty and focusing on our inward beauty, and not swing from one extreme to the other. Here is a quiz from SHE by Rebecca St. James and Lynda Hunter Bjorklund that may help you see how you are doing in this area. If you have to time, read through it and answer the questions.
Take this quiz to check out your beauty pulse internally, externally, and holistically:
Quick Beauty Quiz
Answer yes or no to each of the following questions:
1. Do you feel comfortable enough in your own skin to be around close family and friends without always having to wear makeup?
2. Do you often feel pretty?
3. Can you eat a dessert without feeling any guilt?
4. Can you see an attractive girl or woman and not feel jealous or compare yourself to her?
5. Do you feel that you are doing a good job of balancing your focus on both inner and outer beauty?
6. Have you avoided laxative abuse and regularly skipping meals to lose weight?
7. Are you purge-free?
8. Can you view slim, seemingly flawless women on TV and in magazines without feeling an overwhelming sense of disappointment in yourself?
9. Would you say that for the most part you have a positive, healthy self-image?
10. Do you feel that you have a good understanding of holistic beauty?
Scoring: Count the number of “yes” responses that you made.
10 Wonderful! Your self-image and sense of holistic beauty in God is excellent.
7-9 You are doing quite well at keeping your beauty perspective balanced. This chapter will be a good reminder and challenge for you.
4-6 Your excessive outer-appearance focus is definitely crippling your inner growth and beauty. Give serious attention to this chapter and talk to a Christian mentor about how you can apply its truths.
0-3 Sister, we’ve gotta chat. You need healing in this area of your life. You’re due for some heart-to-heart time with a godly older woman who can help you accept yourself for how God made you.
From SHE by Rebecca St. James and Lynda Hunter Bjorklund pages: 89-90