Our society today tells us we need to look like the super models we see in magazines, commercials, billboards, etc. We see these twisted perceptions of beauty that are nothing like the real thing. We all try to push ourselves to become something that's impossible to become. Yes, I'm sure you've heard that plently of times before. But that's not all I'll be talking about. At least, I hope it's not! That's definitely not my goal! Anyway, few girls know it, but not even supermodels look like supermodels. If you've seen Dove's video, Evolution of a Model, you'll know what I'm talking about:
So, what happens to us next? We see what we're "supposed" to look like, and then try to achieve it. Many people will start to wear some not-so-modest clothes, often in an attempt to get attention-usually from guys. And generally, it succeeds. But from there, it almost always goes downhill. If you've been down that road, hopefully you've come back to Christ and asked him to change you for the better. If you're still down there and you feel like you've lost everything that used to make up you, it's not to late to make a change.
The definition of "beautiful" is: "having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the mind; excellent of its kind; wonderful" (dictionary.com). I'd say that's a pretty great description to have!
I recently read a book that someone reccomended here. It was called The Lost Art of True Beauty, by Leslie Ludy. So, here's the story: this is my first post on God Girl, but I really hope that it helps some people out. I'll be using some of the things I read in The Lost Art of True Beauty.
The first thing I noticed in the book was what true beauty is supposed to look like. Leslie Ludy gave us an example I'm sure everyone can connect to: a young girl's dreams of being a princess. We all want to be the beautiful princess of fairy tales; the person who is thought to be beautiful inside and out, loved by all. True beauty in a girl is supposed to be shown through femininity. And that's what we dreamed of when we were young.
However, the society we live in changed the way we saw the world, making us consumed with ourselves and trying to be more appealing to the world. That's what they say is captivating. They are so wrong.
Girls today are told to be loud, extremely outgoing, and even obnoxious. But by acting that way, we won't be described as an inspiring woman of God, someone who shines with her love for Jesus. Leslie Ludy pointed out that "[c]aptivating feminine beauty isn't supposed to only be found in Jane Austen novels or Cinderella stories. Words like enthralling, enchanting, breathtaking, stunning, delightful, and noble should be the description for every set-apart, Christ-built young woman...He created us to...be a sparkling reflection of the stunning beauty of our king" (The Lost Art of True Beauty). There are some girls who are so strong in their faith that they shine. Take Lottie Moon. Describing her, someone once said, "A pretty woman, with lovely soft features, kind eyes and dark hair, she was never angry, never impatient, never resentful, she patiently wore away prejudices and hatred by her gentle, gracious presence and her blameless life. She had all the firmness of a man, and yet a more gentle and womanly woman it would be hard to find."
Don't you wish that was you they were talking about?
I have only one friend who is even close to that description. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of friends who are awesome, fun, pretty, and talented. But none actually fit that description. Many of them think it's attractive and cool to burp loudly, make rude jokes, etc. The friend I do have is one of my best friends, and everyone loves her. She is exceedingly kind, polite, fair, and still fun. And though she has imperfections, they can be overlooked very easily because of her personality. I thank the Lord for the day I met her!
Have you ever seen one of those rare girls who shines with God-given beauty, who seems like a prize, who is selfless, who works hard, who is loved by everyone - or at least, most people? They shine like this because God has entered them and shown them that they are a prize. Thus, they carry themselves like one! And it helps change them into one of God's "lilies".
Throughout the book, Leslie referenced a particular verse: Song of Solomon 2:4-Like a lily among thorns, so is my darling among the maidens. This is a short representation of true beauty. Before referencing the verse for what had to be the 50th time, Leslie said, "True beauty, in a nutshell, is found in a soul completely surrendered to Jesus Christ, a heart consumed by Him alone, and a life eagerly poured out for His sake. tTat is when we will sparkle with heaven's radiance and stand out from among all other women like a lily among thorns." You can achieve true beauty when you forget about yourself and your worries, your insecurities and your popularity, instead focusing on reflecting how Christ is fair, loving, gentle, kind, respectful, graceful, forgiving...the list could go on and on!
Remember the description of Lottie Moon? Didn't you want that description to sound like you? And are you now wondering how you could ever achieve it? After all, I did say that you had to try to forget yourself. Can you do it?
I've struggled. I still do. DO NOT think that I'm saying I'm that kind of beautiful person-FAR, FAR, FAR, FAAAAAAAAAAAR from it! But I have hope that I could get there. I have two things I'm going to say now. One is the way I thought about this, and the second is what I read after I'd thought about it. What I'll say now is about one of the biggest things that holds us girls from a huuuuge destiny: INSECURITY.
"The secret to becoming the radiant, beautiful princess of our childhood dreams is forgetting all about our self and becoming completely consumed with only one thing - Jesus Christ" (Leslie Ludy, The Lost Art of True Beauty). As soon as I read this, I realized what it was implying: if you are completely consumed with Christ, you don't even think about yourself and your insecurities. It's like...if you have a broken fan during summer, generally it would worry you; it would cost money and your house would be really hot and...well, you get the point. But if you suddenly figure out how to work the air conditioning, or realize that if you shut your blinds, you no longer need to worry about the fan; you're free of stress.
I think that was an awful simile. :)
No, I know it was an awful simile! :P
The easier way to say it is the way that Leslie Ludy says it: "A woman who has truly denied herself, taken up her cross, and become entirely consumed with Jesus Christ is not going to be an insecure young woman, starving herself and obsessed with making herself look more attractive. Rather, she's so enraptured with Jesus Christ that she's completely lost sight of herself...It's the cure for female insecurity."
One more thing: I've seen a few posts on jealousy popping up. I think maybe, before reading this, you should read the comments on them...or maybe it would be a motivator. So here's the thing: jealousy: "resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another's success or advantage itself." Resentment: "the feeling of displeasure or indignation at some act, remark, person, etc., regarded as causing injury or insult." Displeasure: "dissatisfaction, disapproval, or annoyance." Hopefully you can see the trend there. Anger, annoyance, irritation, etc. None of these can make a person have true beauty. Remember what I just told you, about the cure for female insecurity? Well, that's also the cure for jealousy. I know it's harder said than done, which is why I reccomend you read some of the other posts on jealousy if you haven't already.
So there you go. Reject the status quo and set an example. I hope all of that made sense. :)
That was a really long way to say Jesus is the key to true beauty. :)