Two words that every woman needs to hear, though these are words I scarcely believe.
My husband said these very words to me the other morning while I was lying in bed. The birds were singing outside the window, the sun was peeking through the curtains, I had just woke up from a restful night’s sleep, we were both in a good mood—the perfect morning.
What did I say in response? “Are you sure?”
I had a long list of reasons to refute his statement. I wasn’t wearing any make-up, I hadn’t brushed my hair or my teeth, I still had crustys in my eye, I probably I had a zit somewhere on my face (sorry that's too much, but I’m just trying to be honest).
It wasn’t just the other morning; I do this all the time to B.
He will say things like, “You look so beautiful,” or “I married way out of my league,” or tell me he feels “so blessed to have such a beautiful wife.” All things I used to dream of my husband telling me. Doesn’t every girl want someone to tell her she’s beautiful, especially her beautiful, handsome husband who loves her with all his heart?
And what do I do? I deny it. I refute his statement with a list of imperfections I carry that ultimately disqualify me from being beautiful.
I have stretch marks on my thighs.
My stomach is not as flat/tight/small as I want it to be.
My legs are hairy because I haven’t shaved in awhile.
I don’t look like the “perfect woman” (as if she exists).
My face won’t stop breaking out.
My hair is unmanageable.
I don’t have make-up on.
There are a myriad of thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis, knocking me down, standing between me and the word beautiful.
Some days I feel beautiful. I just feel loved, the sun is shining, I like being me, but then I look in the mirror and something kicks me down, something I see, some imperfection no matter the size, takes away the joy of being me, of thinking myself beautiful, of feeling beautiful.
I don’t think I’m alone. I think a lot of women struggle with calling themselves beautiful, or at least believing themselves to be beautiful—especially when a compliment is genuinely given.
Well here’s the deal, beauty runs deeper than the skin. It’s more than just physical features. It's an intrinsic quality of all human beings.
You are beautiful. Here is a short list why:
1. Your body is beautiful because you have been crafted by God’s own hands, knitted inside your mother’s womb, made in the image and likeness of God. There is an intrinsic beauty found in all human begins that resemble the Creator. God made humans in the image and likeness of himself, we are the last of his creations, our very bodies are a masterpiece crafted by the Creator of the Universe.
Unfortunately, as with all things even this idea we’ve managed to distort. Now every girl is made a victim to the over-sexualized, air brushed, unobtainable “perfect” images shoved into our minds. That image with which we compare ourselves to, measure ourselves to and strive to obtain.
But ladies, your body is beautiful! Why? Because He made you, because you are made in the image and likeness of God, because you, my friend, are a child of God.
2. But beyond our bodies, beauty lies within ourselves not of ourselves. I should not attribute my beauty to external things,
“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 quiet and gentle spirit which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:2-4)
This is a popular Christian quote, used to address internal beauty. I want to unpack it for a second. Notice, Peter is saying that it is NOT the PUTTING ON of something that makes you beautiful.
Now before you go there, let me address a common misconception I feel people draw from this verse. My good loving heart, my goodness, the good works I do—volunteering, missions trips, soup kitchens, donations, etc. etc. you name it—is what makes me beautiful.
I do not believe that this is what Peter is getting at, though this is a popular belief in the church at large and our society. People go to an extreme in perfecting their character to be a more appealing, loving, better person, to try and obtain an unobtainable “perfect.”
But Peter is NOT talking about putting something on or doing more things, changing yourself or adding something to yourself. The beauty he is talking about is quiet, a hidden person, an imperishable beauty, something that lies inside.
You are beautiful because God is changing your heart, because HE is molding you to look more like himself, to love unconditionally, to forgive, to serve, to seek the lost and broken, to speak truth. Your beauty is not apart from God.
It is NOT the works YOU do, but instead the work GOD is doing inside of you that makes you beautiful.
You are a daughter of the King.
You have been saved, changed, made new. You are NOT defined by this world, but by the one who created it. You are therefore, to stand, walk in the knowledge that you are not alone, that you are beautifully and wonderfully made, that you have purpose because the God of the Universe, the one who stepped off his throne, came down to earth to save you and make you new in Him.
I pray we may all walk in that today and everyday, growing a deeper and fuller understanding of how beautiful we actually are.