True Beauty in an Instagram Culture

true beautyAs I open up my Instagram Explore page, I am bombarded with images that look similar: the most gorgeous women from all over the world: long, thick hair, full, pouty lips, curves in all the right places, and dressed to entice. As I am looking at these images of these women, thoughts pop into my head, “I definitely need to go to the gym today-shouldn’t have eaten that cookie!” “I wonder how she got her hair to curl like that, mine never stays-ugh I hate my hair” or “I wish I had longer legs”.

Self-centeredness becomes my mindset.

Comparison creeps into my mind on how I can look more beautiful.

This morning, after a solid one hour scrolling session, I brought these feelings to God. I asked Him what He thinks true beauty is.

I wanted to know what true, real, lasting beauty is that remains once the makeup is off, the hair isn’t cooperating, the filter is gone, and some weight is put on.

What does God say is beautiful?

The foundation of our beauty begins with what God says about us. He looks at you calls you daughter, worthy, precious, and loved. The God who put the stars in their place, who parted the Red Sea, who set the earth in motion, who upholds everything by the power of His word calls you daughter, beloved. Throughout this blog, I want to explore what makes us beautiful and what God says in His Word is actually a beauty that ought to be pursued.

“The God who put the stars in their place, who parted the Red Sea, who set the earth in motion, who upholds everything by the power of His word calls you daughter, beloved.”

 

But how do we know He loves us?

We know the depth of His love because He sent His Son Jesus, who was fully man and fully God, to die for us. Jesus didn’t have to do this, but He willingly submitted to The Father, and took on weak, human flesh. Jesus was tempted in every way, yet He lived the perfect life. The He was brutally tortured, crucified, and was killed.

He endured all this for you.

But it didn’t end there, He was raised to life after three days so that we could be restored back into a right relationship with God.

That is the length God will go to call you His own.

He loves you.

That is why you are beautiful and beloved.

 

Now that we have the foundation of where our worth comes from (what God says about us and what Jesus did for us), let’s look at scripture where God outlines characteristics we ought to pursue.

 

Quiet and Gentle Spirit

As I was praying this morning, 1 Peter 3:3-4 popped into my head, “Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

As someone who has always considered myself a strong, I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-A-N-T woman, this verse took me a while to grapple with. I always wanted to be passionate, fierce, and opinionated. But maybe there is more strength in the ability to hear others, empathize with them, meet them where they are, and gently point them back to the truth of Jesus than to be someone who values independence and autonomy over everything. Because anyway, we are all thoroughly dependent on Christ.  Once we understand that, it frees us up to love people in a way that is marked by patience, kindness, and gentleness which is produced by the Holy Spirit working in us.

“But maybe there is more strength in the ability to hear others, empathize with them, meet them where they are, and gently point them back to the truth of Jesus than to be someone who values independence and autonomy over everything.”

 

Proverbs 31

 

Proverbs 31 came to my mind as I was considering the type of beauty we ought to be pursuing. The entire chapter is full of godly characteristics we ought to cultivate.

 

She is trustworthy. “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of grain.” Proverbs 31:11

 

She does good. “She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12

 

She is a hard worker. “She seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands” Proverbs 31:13

 

She has responsibility. “She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” Proverbs 31:16

 

She is compassionate and gives willingly. “She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy” Proverbs 31:20

 

She is clothed in strength and dignity. She doesn’t fear the future because her trust is in the Lord. “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:26

 

She is wise and kind. “She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” Proverbs 31:26

 

Lastly, She fears the Lord. “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.” Proverbs 31: 30

 

These are the characteristics that contribute to real, unfading beauty.

Beauty that grows which each passing year.

Beauty that delights in the promises of God and treasures His Word.

Ultimately, the Bible points us away from external appearance and to the “hidden person of the heart” (1 Peter 3:4) to determine where real beauty is found. I’ll be completely transparent with you, there are times my words are harsh, my heart leads me to judgement instead of compassion, my flesh tells me to pursue idleness rather than discipline. I fail on so many of these characteristics. But luckily for me, for all of us, Jesus is strong where we are weak. When we fail, He is there to pick us up. In our insufficiency, He is fully sufficient. When we fail, let’s turn away from that sin, ask God to give us a right understanding of the gospel, and praise His name for his goodness.

Join with me in pursuing this kind of lasting, enduring beauty. Let’s fight for that. Let’s fight for that when the entire world is screaming to us that physical beauty entices and sex appeal is the way to get attention. When I find myself nose deep in my phone, I take those feelings to God. I let Him know I feel insufficient, I confess that to Him and I ask Him to remind me of my true identity-the one that is in Christ alone. And I meditate on scripture that speaks into that truth (Ephesians 2).

So Let’s be women who trust in our identity that is rooted in Christ. A true identity tells us we are precious because God says so. Let’s pursue a beautiful heart that remains and becomes more lovely as we mature more into the image of Jesus.

 

-Rach

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