Authentic Beauty

Beauty and appearance seem to be a struggle for women that has only become more prominent as the years go by.
Standards of beauty keep changing, and women continue to try to keep up with them.
It saddens me so much to see young girls (and women of all ages) questioning their beauty and value.

“Not thin enough…not curvy enough…not tall enough…not muscular enough…not up with the latest trends in makeup and hair…”

I am guilty of this myself. It’s so easy to compare. It’s so easy to be quick to criticize our appearance and determine personal value based on our looks.

When did we start believing that these were the true standards of beauty? When did those things become more important than striving towards beauty of the heart?
Why does the world’s standard of beauty hold so many women captive…and why are so many women chained down with these weights of unrealistic expectations?

There have been many attempts to normalize phrases like “every size is beautiful” or “there is beauty in everyone”….but these attempts, though they are sincere, aren’t the answer.

The answer to discovering authentic beauty can only be found in Christ. He was the author of true beauty. Shockingly enough, our author of true beauty doesn’t even define true beauty with physical characteristics. Beauty comes from within us.

Being beautiful is showing love and kindness to others. Beauty is being compassionate, and forgiving others. Beauty isn’t finding our worth and value in material things. Being trustworthy, loyal, patient, and hardworking is beautiful. Beauty is generous, not selfish. Beauty isn’t jealous…it uplifts and encourages others. Someone who is beautiful seeks to see beauty in others.

How different our standards of beauty would be if we saw hearts instead of faces.

I’m thankful for how Jesus has helped me battle my own insecurities and figure out what the meaning of authentic beauty is for me personally. The words in psalm 139 resonate so deeply within me now: “You alone created my inner being…I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. In Jeremiah 1 the Lord says, “I knew you before I even formed you…before you were born I set you apart.”

God created me exactly the way I am. In His image. He created me with purpose, and He created me FOR a purpose. He did the same for you. Shouldn’t that define our identities far more than outward appearance?

I think that ALL of us women have a lot of work to do in this area, myself included. Let’s break this destructive cycle we’re in. Let’s set ourselves apart as being known for our INNER beauty. Let’s pass on a new set of ideals for true beauty to our next generation of young girls.

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