I’m not exactly sure why it bothers me that the US Women’s Olympic Volleyball Team posed nude for ESPN. I admit that there’s possibly a twinge of body covetousness stirring around in my three-time postpartum (non) abs. But I don’t think that’s the root of my disappointment.
I think ultimately it makes me sad that our culture continues to elevate external beauty so highly. With every magazine cover, we’re creating a societal climate that feeds confused, insecure hearts of girls who grow to be women who grow to be wives and moms — like me. Until we as everyday people become consumed with outward appearance while our inner woman starves.
The truth is where we place priority reveals whose approval we seek most. If I place priority on my external appearance then I’m seeking man’s approval. And if I place priority on my inner “appearance,” then I’ve set my desire on God’s pleasure and glory. And that really convicts me.
I want to be called “beautiful.” In fact, I think nearly every woman has that desire to some extent. But if I seek after the approval of our world, then I have to focus on beauty that’s measured by cup-size or waistlines. And that beauty fades with time and fad…and child-bearing.
Excessive focus on our outward beauty can never fulfill that longing we have down deep. Because God created a longing in us to be seen as precious in His sight. We just get it backwards at times.
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 gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
1 Peter 3:3-4
I don’t think He’s telling us to wear sackcloth and never bathe. But if we honestly ask Him to reveal our heart’s desire when it comes to beauty, what would we see? What would I see? Whose approval do we crave?
We will never measure up to the world’s fickle definition of beauty. And if we try, we will get stuck in that pit of comparison which inevitably steals any peace and joy we’ve staked in our hearts. I know. I’ve done it.
But the beauty that lasts, never fades, and always fulfills is the beauty that comes from resting in the sweet love of our Maker. When we believe what He says and trust how He moves, a beauty arises in us that time cannot wrinkle or sag. And I imagine that His eyes stop when He sees a daughter pursuing that kind of beauty and His favor falls all over her.
Fill me, Lord…
How have you wrestled with beauty?
How would you define true beauty to the girl in you who still wants to be called “beautiful”?
Linking up today with “Weekend Whatever” over at NotConsumed.com.