What is true beauty? When I was a teen I thought it meant having a slim figure with nice facial features, makeup just so, polish on nails, both fingers and toes. As far as I was concerned I didn’t measure up.
Real beauty is not measured by how nice a person looks.
I often felt inferior. Now I realize that it was my own imagination feeding me lies. I was always looking for ways to improve myself, but I still struggled with comparing myself to others.
That comparison bug tries hard to defeat us, doesn’t it?
There was a time when I would read aloud, recording my voice in order to improve it. I was particular about my clothes, wanting them to look a certain way. If I felt like they either made me look large or unattractive I wouldn’t wear them.
THEN I MARRIED AND GOT PREGNANT
A new life growing within me brought excitement, and I guess there is a certain beauty about a pregnant woman. The older ladies in my church would always tell me I had that pregnancy glow. I’m sure their comments helped me feel better about myself.
I was dealing with nausea and could hardly eat anything. Peanut butter, crackers and cokes are what I had most the first few months. That was a pretty poor diet, but I just couldn’t stomach anything else. I lost seven pounds during the first three months and kept my weight gain to a minimum.
I was not at all prepared for the fact that none of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit after my first child was born. In fact, I was horrified that I had nothing to wear. No one had prepared me for the fact that it would take a few months to get back down to my regular size.
Beauty doesn’t depend on what size clothes you wear.
BEAUTY IS ALL AROUND US
I’ve always pursued artistic tendencies. It was fun to draw and decorate a calendar to cross off the days in the last month of my first pregnancy. I made my own invitations for children’s birthday parties, decorated their cakes in a special way, and found creative ways for the children to have fun. At the time I didn’t think about it, but looking back I see that they were also expressions of beauty.
Nature is full of beautiful things like sunsets, rainbows, all manner of flowers and creatures. Sunshine brings a smile to my face as it highlights nature’s beauty. Rain can be beautiful as it falls down in sheets drenching the ground.
Even when I fall short of my expectations or feel unloving and unlovely, beauty can still be found. If I am absorbed in my own troubles I often forget:
- to look around and be thankful
- to ask for help
- that I find beauty when I allow others to help rather than trying to be strong and self sufficient.
- that God meets us right where we are and brings hope.
REAL BEAUTY COMES FROM WITHIN
As I grow older I see there is so much more to beauty. It comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. It isn’t measured by looking good or having things arranged certain ways.
I’m asking God to open my eyes to the beauty that is right here in the midst of my mess.
Our actions demonstrate beauty in how we treat ourselves and others. When we speak words of kindness or share a smile, we show beauty. I want to realize anew that beauty starts with an attitude of the heart, to know that I don’t have to have my act together to embody real beauty.
I want the light of Christ to shine through me illuminating all those who cross my path. May I live my life in such a way that others will be encouraged to realize their own true beauty.
Man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.
(I Samuel 16:7b)