What True Beauty Is

The saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” first appeared in the 3rd century BC in Greece; in the last few centuries, it has been considered an old English proverb. But it was not until the late 1800's that author Margaret Wolfe Hungerford coined the phrase in her book “Molly Bawn”. It’s meaning? Beauty is relative and it depends on who you ask. Interestingly enough another English proverb is “Beauty is only skin deep”!

Today we live in an era where overwhelming significance is given to outward appearance. The definition of what is supposedly beautiful is narrow indeed. Pun intended! Willowy thin. Hollow cheeks. Size 6 declares the world. Recently Focus on the Family reported only 2% of women think they are beautiful.

American women were overwhelmed with emotion at the recent Dove campaign. An artist drew women as they described themselves from behind a curtain. A second portrait was drawn from a description given of the same woman by someone who had spent several hours with her. The two portraits were stunningly different. The self-described portraits were drab in comparison to the portraits directed by a beholder.

Everywhere we turn our eyes clash with perfection. Skin that is flawless. Mascara commercials portraying long, lush, lashes; turquoise and violet colored eyes. The media feeds us shapely bodies. On runways worldwide models are mere frames of bone with flesh draped over them and alas they are purportedly “models” for how women ought to be. Perky breasts! Button noses. Snow white teeth. Tanned skin. 80-year-old women who look 20. But here is the reality. THEY ARE NOT REAL!

Those “beautiful”, perky-breasted, lush-lashed, bronzed faces and perfectly rounded bottoms and bodies are computer generated or surgically enhanced. Society is so mesmerized by its definition of beauty that women harm, starve, purge and scar their bodies as they spend millions of dollars chasing after this perfection. The fact is...we are pursuing an unreality. An illusion. Fake eyelashes, fake boobs, nose jobs, re-illustrated, carved, dyed, inked bodies, skin and hair color. You name it. Its fake! And the world calls it “beautiful”.

Webster’s dictionary defines 'fake' as “something that is not genuine, a forgery, a sham. Counterfeit. Fraudulent”. Can we be real for a minute? Everyone in the world hates fake people. You can spot them a million miles a way. So with that in mind, why do we spend millions of dollars pursuing what is not real? Ladies, we've been duped!

So how do we set the record straight? As followers of Christ we have to look no further than Gods instruction manual aka the Bible - to find that God was specific about what he looks for when judging someone's value and significance. In other words, God did include a definition of what HE considers beautiful! Here is the truth the Bible brings forth. It says,

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.”

Proverbs 31:30

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

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 clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

God’s word reads like a loving letter from a father to a daughter. Piece it all together and it is as though God is saying ---

Beloved daughter! There is no one like you. No, not one. You are fearfully and wonderfully made for my works are wonderful! You are my masterpiece, for I knit you together in your mother's womb! Great are the plans I have for you, to prosper you not as the world prospers but as I prosper you. I know your heart. I know your thoughts. I know you and yet, I love you. You are mine! You are my daughter. I chose you and drew you forth with my mighty hand. I have set my seal upon you and have set your feet upon solid ground. I have revealed my ways and thoughts to you and set your feet on a due course. Do not forget me my daughter! Observe my commands. Remember you do not live on food alone but by every word that comes from my mouth. Consume it. Embrace it. Believe it! Pursue life in the spirit. Turn your ear to wisdom! 

Apply your heart to understanding! Have reverence for me for I am your Father. Praise me for all the good I have given you! Sing to me. Dance before me! Lift your arms toward me! Remember the Lord your God. For it is I who give you the ability to pursue wealth and all that life has. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that I swore to give your fathers. Adorn yourself with the beauty of a gentle, quiet spirit. Bear a Godly countenance. When I beheld your finished being for the first time, I surveyed all I created that was you and said with tears in my eyes...She is good. Believe me when I say...you are my beautiful. 

Forever your Papa God.

A woman's face reflects what lies within her heart and soul. Her body and face are mirrors of her character and virtue. Patience, kindness, purity, reverence for the Lord, graciousness, humility and sincerity shine forth from her eyes and are conveyed with the words of her mouth painting a portrait of timeless, ageless beauty. We women should pursue God's true and righteous definition of beauty and settle for nothing less. We need to teach it to our daughters and imprint God's definition of beauty upon their hearts and minds

We must be women who clothe ourselves in righteousness—that, which is right thinking. Right acting. We must turn aside from all that is untruth, deceptive and fake. Remember what our Father God warned us about through the apostle John....“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your fathers desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 Remember where lies come from and refuse them.

Dare to look in the mirror and read Gods love letter to the reflection staring back. Tell that daughter of God she is fiercely unique. Beautiful. Exquisite. Magnificent. Glorious. Resplendent. Incomparable. Breathtaking. Determine to be Gods kind of beautiful from the inside out.

Romans 12:2 – do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Gods will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

[Note: Gods letter to his daughter was written using phrases from various books of Gods word including Proverbs, Psalms, Deuteronomy, Genesis]

Dori Cass is a wife of 29 years and mom to two adult children. She has spent her adult life active in Womens, Children's and Youth ministry. She finds that she writes a lot about faith which are the nuggets mined up out of a decade long journey in the wilderness walking with a husband whose life changed completely when he was injured on the job as a police officer. You can find her blog at http://heavensconfetti.blogspot.com/