Thursday, February 27, 2014

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

In December I won a pageant.  It was very fun, and I worked very hard to get it.  There were a lot of things I had to do to get ready.  I practiced my speech and my interview skills.  I got new clothes and shoes.  I hired a coach and practiced and practiced walking, and standing, and walking some more.  I lost weight and whitened my teeth.  I had to make by body look as good as I could.  I wanted to win. I even took a picture out of a magazine and put it where I would see it every day.  It is of the woman who just won Miss America.  Her stomach muscles where amazing.  I thought if she won, that is what I needed to look like to win.  The girl in the picture looked like I thought I wanted to look.  She had toned arms, she was skinny and she had beautiful hair.  I kept this picture to supposedly help me achieve my goal – I wanted to look like this Miss America.  But I realized that this was only negative.  I was coveting what someone else had.  I was coveting Miss America.  Trying to become her.  Instead of trying to copy someone else, I needed to be the best me that I could be.  The problem with comparing ourselves to other people (especially people in magazines) is that often these images aren’t even realistic.

How about you?  Have you ever found yourself comparing yourself to someone else?  Have you ever felt hopeless because you woke up and your nose was covered with zits?  Have you ever just flung yourself on your bed and laid there wondering if the world would even know if you were gone?  Have you ever completely avoided looking in the mirror because it made you feel so bad?  Comparing ourselves to other people is never going to make us feel better.

Since we have all been little girls, the quest to be beautiful has bombarded us at every turn.  From children’s stories such as Cinderella, to the Barbie doll we played with, we are told that physical beauty must be our priority.  Now that you’re older, you are under even more pressure to be beautiful.  TV, movies and music tell you that if you want to be beautiful you have to look a certain way, dress a certain way, and have a certain type of body.

We’ve all looked in the mirror only to see a face that didn’t measure up to the current standards of beauty and we’ve all ended up feeling discouraged, but we cannot let the tiny flaws that we see in ourselves rule our lives.

What we see on the TV and magazines is an unrealistic expectation of what a beautiful human body is supposed to look like.  Did you know that the average model weighs 23% less than everyone else?  We can’t even hope to compare to who the world says we should be.  But I have good news…

The God who slung the stars across the heaven… that God, the King, has always been in love with you.  He created you. You are perfect.  He thinks you’re beautiful.  Cinderella’s glass slipper fits, the music is playing and He’s asking you to dance.

The Bible is way ahead of us in showing the beauty myth for what it is.  God knows what He thinks a beautiful woman should look like.  I know that God is always right, so I want to believe what He believes about beauty.  I want to believe what He believes about me!

1 Samuel 16:7         But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

The Bible is not saying that the outer appearance doesn’t matter.  Its saying don’t let it define you.  Don’t let it stress you out.  Don’t make beauty your most important priority; and never let it replace the more important parts of your life.  Outer beauty is nothing more than packaging unless your inner content is good.  God is saying our outside beauty doesn’t matter unless our inside beauty is what really shines.

Have you ever met a girl who just looked so cool, but then she turned out to be a snob?  Did you notice how her beauty faded once you got to know who she was on the inside? Of course maybe you’ve also known that girl who at first glance doesn’t seem beautiful, but the more you are around her the more fabulous she looks to you.  That’s internal beauty you’re seeing.  Beauty that shines from the inside, is what makes us truly beautiful.  I think we could call it fashion for our hearts.

We are called by God to wear things on our insides too.  Here are some verses that tell us what God wants me to put on.

Proverbs 31:25       “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

          Ephesians 6:13-17   “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breast plate of righteousness in place.  And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.”

          1 Timothy 2:9-10    “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold pearls or expensive cloths, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

          1 Peter 3:3-4     “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine cloths.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quite spirit.”

None of us can fake inner beauty, inner beauty is the way a women looks, feels, thinks, and acts.  It is the way God wants women, women like you, like me to look, feel, think, and act.   

The more we live our life for God, the more beautiful we become on the inside.   The only way to get the beauty God wants us to have, is to spend time with Him.  I have something for you to think about tonight. Yesterday, approximately how many minutes did you spend on your appearance (Outer Beauty)?  Approximately how many minutes did you spend on you relationship with God (Inner Beauty)?

I can honestly tell you that yesterday, I didn’t spend enough time with God.  I need more of Him and less of me.  When I won the title of Mrs. North Dakota International 2014, I committed the year to God.  I want to make every minute of this year count, by being the beautiful woman on the inside that God has created me to be.  I want my inner beauty to shine with God’s light.  I am called to let my “light so shine before men, that they will see my good works and give glory to my Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:17

I am not going to lie to you, I want to be beautiful on the outside too.  Right now as Mrs. ND International, it is my job to look as beautiful on the outside as I can.  I am working hard on my appearance.  I want to be able to win the next title in July.  But as I am working on my outside body, I am going to work on my inside too.  I can’t expect to lose any weight, until I’ve lost myself in Jesus.

So there you have it… that’s all there is to it.  I am ready to lose myself in Jesus, come lose yourself with me.  Together we are becoming beautiful women of God.

Blessings

Janelle Steinberg, Mrs. North Dakota International 2014