TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF BEAUTY
A music video splashes across the screen in psychedelic colors, throbbing with imposing basslines. The star dances like she’s the most attractive goddess on earth. I sit in the comfort of my bedroom, pondering how our culture finds this beautiful. The star bends and twirls. Her ultra-revealing clothes leave no room for imagination. Perfect skin. Perfect curves. Perfect everything. She sings like a siren, lips pursed in practiced seduction. I imagine all the boys drooling over her image. “She’s a solid 10, dude!” They scream, rating her face and body.
My self-esteem sinks as I stare at her precise eyeliner. If she’s a 10, I’d probably be a dismal 4. If this was everyone’s version of beauty: sexy, curvy, hot…sigh, I’d be missing out.
What if I try exercising for vanity’s sake, use heavy makeup, and try to be a little more confident in revealing clothes? Will somebody notice me and say, “Wow, Nicole IS beautiful”?
The temptation lingers, but the music video transitions to a pianist. Her voice soars, befitting a gentle angel—not an auto-tuned siren. I focus on her lyrics and skill and heart, undistracted by the quiet demeanor and conservative, yet fashionable robe. She wears a simple brown dress. Her gaze does not imbue lust, but only brings attention to her music as something soulful.
And then it hit me. Oh my goodness. She’s so beautiful!
Here was beauty with substance. Here was beauty without flashy clothes and the shallow pouts. Here was real, unfiltered beauty.
It was beauty that didn’t have to try.
TRUE BEAUTY DOES NOT FIT THE MOLD OF THE WORLD.
1 Peter 3:3-4
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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.
Watching music videos sparked a paradigm shift in me. God’s standard of beauty is not the same as the world’s. It is entirely different and several infinite levels above it. The implications are immense. It persuades His beloved, us, that we should not aim to satisfy the world’s standard of sexiness or beauty.
For one thing, physical beauty comes with an expiration date. It fades and ages and wrinkles. It dies. Like a sunflower upon reaching the cusp of extravagance, physical beauty quickly wilts away in a span of a week or two (1 Peter 3:4). But God’s definition of beauty? It is skin deep, flowing to the outward body as naturally as gravity. And it never fades. It can never fit the mold of the world because it has a grand shape of its own.
SECURITY IS TRUE BEAUTY
As the pianist sang, God sifted through my jealous heart. Why are you desperate for a mortal guy’s rating of you to validate your worth? He said. Does it matter if you’re a 4 or a 10 to them, when you’re already beautiful to me?
He presented his claim, defining what real beauty is.
A truly beautiful woman doesn’t fuss because she is secure with herself and how God created her to be. The “gentle and quiet spirit” that God prizes does not recommend a woman to be spineless nor weak. It tells of a restful spirit who trusts Him enough as her source of security. She finds her worth and beauty in beholding her Creator. She receives her validation from Him, no longer pressured into earning her worth by trying hard.
She stands and she sings, already wonderful to Him.
And once she embraces her worth in Him, practical beauty no longer becomes a relentless cycle of beating herself up to look like a Barbie doll. She learns to love herself enough to care for herself. She can steward whatever natural beauty she possesses through the right diet, exercise, clothes, appealing makeup, etc.
She does not rely on these tools to make her beautiful. It is her confidence in the Greatest Artist that leads her into stewarding the beauty she is already adorned with.
True beauty doesn’t try hard. A woman who possesses it lives upon the truth that she already is beautiful.
TRUE BEAUTY IS NOT ABOUT YOU
I wanted to be “beautiful” like that pop star because in truth, I wished for attention to be on me. I wanted people to see me, to desire me, to be in awe of me.
The temptation to wear revealing clothes is an enticing idea. Lust has a way with presenting the false kind of power a woman can wield to “lift” herself up. But it isn’t real beauty. It will not inspire life in people.
True Beauty is not meant to lift oneself up. It is meant to shine back to God and give Him glory.
If lust is self-centered, God’s version of beauty is selflessness to Him. A woman of true beauty does not lure people to herself. She points people back to the wonderful Creator. As belonging to His creation, her whole being inherently screams of His majesty (Romans 1:20; Psalm 104:24-25). And as she shines for Him, equally adorning herself with good works while embodying God-given self-esteem, people will find her beauty preserved throughout the ages.
She exists to display a beautiful testimony that people will praise God for.
True beauty doesn’t have to try. It is already a mantle graced upon God’s daughters for greater glory.
So to the woman reading this:
Smile and believe that you are already beautiful! 🙂
Nicole is part-nerd and part-artist. She’s a passionate speech pathologist, writer, dreamer, occasional ventriloquist, and a total geek for stories. She dances through words and writes to speak life to readers. She also regularly blogs at https://nicolegusto.com