As I’m sitting here getting ready to write this article, my mind is running through all the articles I’ve read and talks I’ve heard about beauty. And I struggle with thinking that something that I, with my limited writing abilities, could create would stand out among the countless analysts of beauty already out there.
And as I go through my mental list, I think one of the best books I’ve read about feminine beauty is “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldredge. If it’s not already on your reading list, it should definitely be there. This wonderful piece of literature totally changed my perspective on true femininity.
Beauty is an interesting thing to me. What is it that makes something or someone so incredibly beautiful? We can look at a sunset or sunrise, and see the colors and their hues radiate a sense of peace and awe. We can’t take our eyes from it, because there is always more to take in. We look at that natural phenomenon and feel like all could be well with the world, like God is real, and He is good. That things might just be okay. Like there’s something eternal dwelling within it that is peaceful, and joy-giving. In Captivating, Eldredge describes how true feminine beauty is the same way. It is pure, alluring, and genuine.
But we don’t always feel like sunsets, do we? There are many days where I feel more like a slushy sidewalk. Gross and unpleasant to look at. Not something anybody will want to get near, and certainly not in any way inspiring.
But we are not slushy sidewalks, as much as we often feel like it. We are created in the image and likeness of God. We look as we are meant to look, as God determined that we should look. We are truly “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) And it’s about time we start believing it. The way I see it, God gave me this body for my soul to dwell in, and I can spend the rest of my life hating it, or loving it. Those are basically the two options. God gave us this one body to cherish, to take care of, to love.
But our bodies are just a dwelling place for our souls. It vital that we are much more in tune with our inner selves than our outer selves. I think a sense of beauty comes when we can cut ourselves some slack for not looking perfect. To know that the outward appearance doesn’t define us. That our minds, our souls, our hearts, are where our beauty should lie.
I think we are most vulnerable to believing Satan’s lie that we’re not beautiful, not pretty or thin enough, most likely to believe that we’re ugly, when something inside us is not totally right. I try to make up for the ugliness of the inside with the “beauty” of the outside. We are somehow missing God’s consolation that we’re good enough, and try to seek it from the people around us through their attention. Looking for affirmation is the quick fix, but not the solution to the problem of the insecurity. We must take a good look inside ourselves, take apart our hearts, and try to see what is making us feel so ugly, makes us feel like we need to compensate with our outward appearance.
A Thief Named Comparison
As humans, we are naturally very affected by other humans. We have a huge tendency to compare ourselves to others, I would know this as well as anyone. It’s hard not to feel ugly when all of your friends seem to have their face under control, their appearance together.
We shouldn’t let these inclinations toward jealousy, or the need to be the best looking person in the room get the better of us. We are better than that. With the Lord’s help, I am learning to appreciate other’s beauty, rather than be envious of it. In appreciating others’ beauty for what it is, not how it compares to mine, it allows me to stop focusing on myself, and to look outward. Which is how God ultimately wants us to look at life. It all connects.
Here is a quote from Captivating that I absolutely love.
“A woman in her glory, a woman of beauty, is a woman who is not striving to become beautiful or worthy enough.”
You don’t have to try so hard to be worthy! You intrinsically are. You just have to be. Ironically, we become women of beauty when we stop trying so hard to be beautiful. Contentment is beautiful. Peace is beautiful. Joy is beautiful. We see these things radiating through so many of the women around us, women who seem to teem with life. And where are these things found? In our loving, merciful God, who tells us that we indeed are enough. Psalm 34:5 says “Those who look to Him are radiant” This kind of peace with ourselves and with God is what makes us the sunset, regardless of what our outward appearances look like. This is the kind of beauty that breathes life, the kind of beauty that inspires, the kind of beauty that is radiant. To achieve beauty, to feel beautiful, we must live from the inside out. This is the life that God calls us to, this life of authentic beauty.
My name is Julia, and I've had the pleasure of growing up in the beautiful state of Michigan. Currently, I'm a junior in high school who is just trying to figure out what it means to be a truly authentic woman of Our Lord, and how to write about it. I have two sisters, both younger than me, and have had the blessing of being homeschooled through middle school. During my freshman year I experienced a real conversion to Christ and have been falling more deeply in love with Him ever since.