I was talking via FaceTime with a nineteen year old friend of mine. As she talked college life I was distracted by her lovely youthful face. It reminded me, like a blow from a freight train, that the youthful glow I had at her age is… well… I’m no longer her age. My face looked tired and dark. I tried less-harsh lighting. I tried relaxing my face and tried angling it for a more flattering position and… well… I’m no longer her age. Of course, in ten years, I will be face to face with some thirty-year old and remember how young I was at that age, but that’s life, right? This whole aging thing is unstoppable, a slow deterioration of the physical body. In the words of Steel Magnolia’s Truvy Jones, “…time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.” Indeed.
It’s not only our appearance that show signs of change, but so does the concept of beauty itself. In Ancient Rome, the plumper the better as the voluptuous figure boasted wealth and opulence. Much later beauty was found in corsets, which cinched waists (and rib cages) and promoted that “frailty” look that made men weak in the knees. Foot-binding would leave women’s feet nonfunctional and yet, in the Chinese culture, the smaller the feet the better the marriage arrangement.
So in a world that, from ancient times to present day, still hasn’t figured out what beauty is, what are we to do? While I would like to grab a pint of ice cream and say, “When in Rome…” we women of the Word must look for the definition from the Definer Himself. We must ask Beauty Himself what He thinks.
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” We probably all know that verse. But do we know that verse? One definition of “vain” is “producing no result; useless”.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not giving up my make-up or clothes that make me feel good, but remember the verse that Suzie focused on at last month’s Refuge? “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold revelry, 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
As the Lord told Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature… the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
Beauty Himself, when He took on human form, “…had no majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.”
Should we still try to look our best? I sure hope so! Should we be defined or find our worth in our outward appearance? Praise the LORD that we should not!
As the World bends over backwards making its decaying body “beautiful”, you are free to look your best, all the while knowing that Beauty Himself looks upon you as a prized possession even to the point of death… and life again.
…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 heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:4