Pure Beauty. Seeing ourselves the way God sees us. What comes to mind when you hear those words? For most of us as women, applying those concepts to our lives is difficult, if not impossible. Ask a group of women to make a list of things they don’t like about themselves, and they will come up with a million things. But then ask them to do the opposite, and come up with a list of things they do like, and they will get strangely quiet. They will find it hard to name one single thing. Have you ever wondered why that is?
Part of the reason is that we base our ideals of beauty on the way we look. We define it by what is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and we see those images perpetuated everywhere we look. Billboards, magazines, movies and television. We have become so used to seeing what the world wants us to see as beautiful, that we forget the most important thing. Above all else, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, by God, in His image. But somewhere along the way, the idea that beauty comes from within has been lost on us.
Feeling beautiful has so much more to do with what’s going on inside us than it does with what we look like on the outside. True beauty embodies our love for each other and God, our courage, our strength and our willingness to be real. It casts out fear and judgment and allows us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. It has nothing to do with how thin we are, how old we are or how much make up we wear. It has everything to do with us growing into who God created us to be.
We women are so good at hiding behind our smiles. We are experts at walking up to each other and saying ‘Hi, how are you?’ and then responding with that ready smile and saying “Good thanks, how are you?” and continuing on our way. When the truth is we are feeling overwhelmed and alone, longing for someone, just one person, to dig a little deeper and ask if we are really ok. Because everything we feel on the inside; the guilt, the sadness, the shame; leaves us feeling ugly, not only to other women, but to God. How could we possibly tell anyone how we actually feel?
But true beauty reaches past that. We can’t be in relationships with other women, in community with each other, if we don’t share our stories. It’s not until we open up that we start to realise what we thought was ugly, God can make into something beautiful. Our stories are all different, yet all the same. Each one of us has something unique to offer, and who knows how many people we might help if we were just brave enough to be honest? To fight the fear and shame, and let God cover us with beauty and love?
When you are hurt, the easiest thing to do is retreat from the world. Our instinct is to build a wall of protection around our hearts, so we never have to feel this way again. The problem with that is the walls not only keep out the bad, they keep out the good too. Learning to trust again can be difficult and painful, but when you feel you can’t trust yourself, trust God instead. He will lead you. No matter how desperate you feel, keep trusting God and keep doing good. Pure beauty is revealed in us when we focus on helping others, when we can finally take what we have learned and use it to help someone else. Next time you look in the mirror, remind yourself that Jesus loves you and sees you as beautiful. Nothing and no one in the world can take that away from you!
“Scars and their stores are important to God. Scars proved Jesus to be the saviour, and His scars tell the story of our salvation. There is beauty in our broken and painful stories.”
Elisa Morgan, Author.