Chapter 3: Lies Women Believe About Themselves
Day 4: Lasting Beauty
Lie #11: Physical Beauty Matters More Than Inner Beauty
Before we begin, take a minute to imagine a beautiful woman. What makes her beautiful to you?
Now consider what the world would call beautiful. Is there a difference? In what ways?
I think we all know what the world says makes a woman beautiful. It’s always her physical attributes. The details of those attributes, though, are where things get fuzzy. No one can really agree. Straight or curly hair? Blonde or brunette? Body shape? Clothing style? It’s always changing, and therefore, so are we.
I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that we all know that physical beauty isn’t supposed to matter more than inner beauty, but that doesn’t always translate to a belief that causes us to value inner beauty more than what we (and others) see.
Unfortunately, one thing always leads to another and unless we’re intentional to believe the truth about inner beauty and make cultivating character a priority, we’ll slip into this lie and become more and more focused on the physical; and worse, we’ll teach others to follow suit. Perhaps the scariest part is that we rarely realize we’ve gone down that road until we’re pretty far gone.
Being intentional is the key because we’re attacked from every direction when it comes to this lie. Pop culture, media, even well-meaning friends and family promote looks first and foremost; some never even get beyond the way things look to what’s underneath.
Let me take a minute to point out the fact that physical beauty is not a problem; it’s when we elevate it above character that it becomes an issue. This is often the case in life; some of the greatest struggles with sin you face may very well come from something that by itself is not sinful, but taken out of context is detrimental. Such is the case with physical beauty.
We all struggle with the lust of the eyes – materialism – being drawn to something because it’s attractive. But just because it’s attractive to us doesn’t mean we are therefore required to pursue it at all costs.
We do that, though, don’t we? It’s inevitable; in over-emphasizing the physical, we often neglect the spiritual. This has huge consequences: it can cause us to become bitter, miserable and discontent. Satisfaction cannot be found when physical perfection is the goal.
Other consequences include comparison, envy and jealousy, discouragement, depression, eating disorders, and obsessive behavior. Insecurity seeps in and ruins relationships. Why does all this happen? Because we’re trying to attain the impossible. Because in some cases, we’re saying God messed up when he made us the way he did. And because we’re more concerned with what people think that what God thinks. So whether it’s simply going broke and living paycheck to paycheck because we’ve always gotta have the latest fashions, or if it’s the money we throw at anti-aging products hoping to stays young forever, there are huge consequences and we lose on every front because we never get what we want.
At the same time, this doesn’t call for us being reactive and not paying attention to our physical appearance at all; remember, the problem is the context and emphasis. The question must be whether we are spending the time we are on physical appearance for the right reasons. Is it because our identity is wrapped up in how we look? Or do we simply want to honor God and others by the way we present ourselves, knowing that our identity is in Christ and our role as his child is to love others?
Let the outside reflect the inside. Cultivate a heart beauty that comes from integrity, courage, and faithfulness of character. Pursue your relationship with God; let him prove to you that he loves you and he made you exactly the way that he wants and you don’t have to perform or get affirmation from anyone but him.
A godly character is so powerful. It not only benefits us, as it is directly connected to our relationship with God, but it blesses and encourages those around us and it attracts other godly people to us, as well.
What kind of character are we talking about? What about being known for things like humility, modesty, love, discernment, submission, joy, peace, and contentment? What a beautiful life that it would be! And here’s something amazing: when you make your relationship with God a priority, when you make your character the most important, then the outside DOES reflect the inside and true beauty shines through. You know how they say the pretties girls are the happiest girls? It’s true.
How do we do this? Instead of investing heart and soul and finances and time and everything we are into the way we look, let’s have that sort of commitment to our relationship with God. If we spent as much time and money on our relationship with God as we did our physical appearance, imagine the results we’d see!
Stop trying to get validation from your physical appearance because even if you achieve perfection, it doesn’t last. Character, knowledge, and your relationship with God DOES last – for all eternity. Don’t get so caught up in the temporary that you miss the most important thing!
So let’s focus on our identity as daughters of the king. Let’s dress, walk, talk, and live our lives to reflect this position. And then we can begin to love others instead of performing for them.
Points to remember:
- Beauty itself isn’t a problem – it’s an undue emphasis that is a problem.
- Root your identity in Christ (inside), not appearance (outside).
- Dress & conduct yourself in a way that reflects your high and holy calling.
- Don’t be extravagant, extreme, or indecent.
- Stop seeking attention and start giving attention!
- God (and godly people) value character more than physical beauty.
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.