Thursday, October 4, 2007

Premise #1 - Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep

Last Spring, I participated in a ladies' discipleship study by John and Stasi Eldredge called Captivating:Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul. The premises of the book, using scriptural bases, are that all women (1) want to believe they are beautiful; (2) desire to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure; and (3) long to be swept up in romance.

While that may sound rather fairy-tale-like at first, when I examine my life more closely, I find evidences of those desires in day-to-day living. Over the next few days, I'm going to explore again what that means in my life. I'll start with the first one: (1) wanting to believe I'm beautiful.

When I got up this morning, I showered, dressed, fixed my hair and put on make-up. Three days a week, I spend time exercising. Most days, I don't indulge in 10,000 M&Ms. (Most days!) Do I do all this because it's fun? Not really. Do I neglect any of these from time to time? Sure! There are a million reasons why I do or don't do these things, but the bottom-line truth is that I want to do what I can to feel and believe I am as beautiful as I can be. Nobody dreams of being the haggard witch in Snow White; even her alter-ego was fair to behold.

But just being beautiful externally isn't enough for any woman. I've met women who could model in Paris, but their personalities or general aura were so uninviting that their beauty was diminished. Yet I also know a simply dressed, unadorned, wrinkled elderly woman whose beauty absolutely overwhelms me, for in her presence I am welcomed and accepted, just as I am in the presence of God Himself.

What makes a woman beautiful, then, is confidence in who God has made and is shaping her to be, coupled with the humility that honestly recognizes she hasn't achieved that completeness yet. It's a careful balance - this confidence and humility. If I'm overly confident (arrogant), I accept myself only as I am (with no vision or hope for my own future) and I believe that my opinions are always right, so I never accept change about anything (e.g. I wore leg-warmers and big hair in the 80s so it's right for me now, too). However, if I'm diffident, I may never take risks that challenge me to become more than I knew I could be (e.g. I wouldn't have signed up for tap-dancing lessons or even begun this blog at the risk of others' disapproval).

The ultimate question, therefore, is "Does God find me beautiful, today?" The Sunday School answer is, "Of course, he made and formed me to be like I am." But the honest answer must be reached deep in the soul: Is my heart cleansed of unconfessed sin? Have I been disciplined with the body and mind he's entrusted to me? If I can answer in the affirmative to these questions, then I can claim Psalm 45:11 as God's words to me, "[I, the king, am] enthralled by your beauty." Sometimes, that's all the encouragement I need to know I'm beautiful. Other times, he says it through Darin or through someone else who simply says, "You look nice today," or "Your smile touched my heart."

God, help me to humbly rest in confidence in who you have made me to be and be your tool to let other women know how beautiful they are to you, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute....let me see if I'm getting the "point" of your message....are you saying that I'm NOT supposed to eat 10,000 m&m's a day?.....

I seriously wanted to say that I think you just put your finger right on the pulse of about 90% of women's self-esteem issues.(looking for affirmation in the wrong all the wrong ways)
Keep up the deep thoughts!!