Today I’ve invited Laura from Broken Poet to be my guest. She’s a beautiful woman inside and out, and I couldn’t think of a better person to teach us about true beauty.
Please give Laura a warm welcome. Leave her a comment and let her know what this “chat” means to you. Also, don’t forget to visit her blog.
Thank You Laura, for being my guest and graciously teaching us how to be beautiful.
We live in a society that is very focused on physical beauty and perfection. I happen work in an industry that is completely focused on physical beauty and perfection. Appearance is everything. One boss I had ordered me a trial sample of ProActive Acne Treatments and gave them to me at work! I was a little hurt that she thought I needed it. I’ve had a job where in the dress code is written “Hair and make-up must have a neat and well groomed, contemporary look and should reflect the current trends in the industry. There is no restriction on hair color other than it be fashionable.
Who decides what’s fashionable, who decides what perfection is, what beauty is? In a world with a multitude of ethnicities & cultures why does beauty have to mean 5’10”, no hips, no bum, & blonde? The notion is completely ridiculous.
I know in my head that just because some magazine says this is beauty it doesn’t make it so, but that doesn’t change the fact that part of me wants to be seen as beautiful anyway. I’ve had customers come in to my workplace in the past and say to me “what’s the name of the other girl I saw last time, you know, the pretty one” (true story).
I instantly hear a little voice that says “you’re not beautiful, you’re short, could stand to lose 15 pounds, and have acne scars all over your face”. I can go all day and feel wonderful, but hear that comment, spoken without any malice, and I feel awful.
Why is my self-esteem based on other people…people I don’t even know?! Why do I want to be ‘the pretty one”? Why is being perceived as pretty even important? Who am I trying to impress?
I think that is the real question at the heart of this issue “Who am I trying to impress“?
Now, this is where I might lose a few of you. I’m gonna get all biblical on ya, but I would ask you hear me out, because you may be surprised by a few things.
God knows that we are human and therefore look to our peers for approval but He wants us to look to Him and Him only. One of the 10 commandments is “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). What do you think that means?
I understand it to mean that anything or anyone we make more important than God in our daily lives becomes a god to us. If I spend more time stressing about my looks than I do worshiping or meditating on God, then I’ve made my vanity a god before God. If I spend more time worrying about whether or not people think I’m pretty that I spend reading my bible and praying for others, I’ve made other people a god before God. Not cool.
“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
God doesn’t want us to put other things/people before Him for our own good. And do you know something? If he’s God, and smart enough to create the whole world and everything in it, I think he’s worth listening to and taking seriously.
I know from experience that the more I think about my looks, the more self-pitying and depressed I become. It turns into this vicious cycle of “I’m not pretty, I’ll never be pretty, no one will love me….etc.” It just gets worse and worse and more and more irrational. Who wants to live like that?
God wants us to be full of his joy and so has given us simple instructions on how to live joyfully. He’s saying, “Don’t care more what other people think of you, just think about how much I love you” aka, have no other gods before me. Isn’t that wonderful?
If, in those first moments of feeling badly about not being picture perfect, we turned our thoughts to our loving God, we would be comforted by simply considering the amount of love He has for us and wouldn’t even have to go down that spiral of self-pity and depression. His instructions are often very practical and simple like that. He wants to save you from all that nonsense.
God does not judge us on our physical appearance, heck, He gave us our bodies and wants us to treat them with respect.
Remember that show “The Swan”? I always thought it was such a horrible concept. All these women “win” the opportunity to have numerous plastic surgeries to make them beautiful and then they vote for the most beautiful woman! Imagine going through all those surgeries and then being told “sorry, we’ve done everything we can, but you’re still not pretty enough”.
I think it grieves God when we complain about the body He designed for us. Think of all the cool things about your body. Take the fact that we need to eat food to survive. God gave us taste buds so we could enjoy the food we eat. There are so many different foods and flavor combinations! And, he made it even more interesting by giving different people different tastes. How cool is that?! A God that even cares if we enjoy our food.
So, I’ve established that God is who we should trying to impress. How do we do that?
The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:3-5 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.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m having a ‘fat day’ I spend waaay too much time picking out what clothes to wear so that I can look thin, or even trying to find expensive brand name clothes so I feel better about my self. Think about that.
Why do I try to feel better about myself by plastering someone else’s name on my body? God’s name is above all names (“have no other gods before me”), there’s no point in trying to fix something without him.
I went through a phase of dying my hair to find that ‘perfect’ shade and getting funky hair cuts. My thinking was “ok, I can’t lose 10 pounds in an instant, but I can change my hair in one!” and so I just kept changing, which didn’t help anything in the long run. The ‘new hair cut high’ wears off after a day or two, everyone’s seen it, there’s no more compliments to be had and then what?
God says focus on being inwardly beautiful.
When we realize there’s no one worth trying to please more than him life becomes so much simpler. I know we can’t just over night decide we don’t care what people think, but the cool thing about God is that when we commit to being obedient to Him, He’s faithful in helping us honor that commitment and it becomes easier and easier to do his will. Other people’s opinions don’t seem to matter as much, because, big picture, we don’t answer to anyone else but God.
Your beauty 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.
Think about Naomi Campbell for a minute.
Gorgeous woman. Tall, slender, photogenic. Her looks have made her millions of dollars. Now, remember the cell phone incident of 2007 where she assaulted her maid by throwing a phone at her?
Read about it HERE.
To me that speaks volumes about her personality. She throws violent temper tantrums, how is that beautiful?
Think about the late Elizabeth Taylor.
Stunning. Wildly successful film career. Always looked so glamorous. She was married eight times! Does that sound like someone who was content or full of joy? I think not.
Think of Mother Theresa.
Old, wrinkled, and poor. Worked tirelessly for those less fortunate than her, for those who no one else would love. She put others above herself and her God above everything. THAT is true inner beauty.
Ever notice that once you really get to know someone you see their personality more than their actual appearance?
My husband is a pale red-head, going bald, and has what may be the ugliest toenails in the world. But, I find him incredibly attractive. I see his kindness, his love, his peace and gentleness when I look at him. I don’t even register that most people wouldn’t classify him as a ‘hottie’. I fell in love with HIM, not his looks.
That co-worker I mentioned above, you know, the pretty one? She’s selfish, mean-spirited, and vain. I’m not saying that out of spite, but having worked with her for a long time I don’t see her as pretty, I see her as sad, and desperately clinging to her looks (at 25 she is contemplating Botox) because that’s all she thinks she’s worth. We are all worth so much more.
If we give God’s way a chance, I think we’ll all find that it’s better to be known as loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled (aka. no cell phone throwing). We will still have our “fat days” or get the “blues” but if we can stop the cycle and focus on God’s love instead, on having the characteristics He finds beautiful, we will be victorious over all that self-doubt and self-pity.
Now, I’m sorry if I lost you with all those scripture references and assuming you believe the God I speak of even exists.
So I present The Northern Pikes and their video “She Ain’t Pretty (she just looks that way). They are not Christians, but the truth is the truth, and these guys ‘get it’.
Follow along as she writes on the random happenings of everyday life and occasionally shares beauty tips and tricks at her blog Broken Poet.