Like any other girl in the 21st century, my physical appearance is something that I’ve been in constant battle with. Women are so insanely pressured to be attractive and have their appearance perfectly put together. I mean, it’s the beautiful women who have thousands of followers and likes on their Instagram photos, right? It’s the hot women who get all of the double takes from men, right? It’s the girl with the long, luscious hair and perfect teeth who people are naturally drawn to, right?
I’m currently reading a book called Am I Enough? by Grace Valentine (get it here. No seriously, get it. It’ll change your life.) and in it she says “You’re not going to be pretty enough for this world.” and the first thought that popped into my head was “well the girls on Instagram with perfect bodies, perfect hair, and perfect teeth are, so why can’t I be?” but then she goes on to say “Let’s commit to spending more time clothing ourselves in the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Let’s dress ourselves with love, style ourselves with gentleness, wear self-control as though it’s our favorite cross-body purse. May we choose joy daily and throw kindness around like confetti. Let us be patient with one another and live life-bearing goodness.” and I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather clothe myself with the fruits of the Spirit than clothe myself with what I think men might find attractive.
This isn’t the mindset I’ve always had. I spent years living for men and their approval of me. I’ve spent countless hours in front of the mirror putting on makeup so that a man would find me pretty. I’ve spent hundreds (and hundreds) of dollars on hair extensions in hopes that it would make me hotter to men. I’ve intentionally worn clothing that I know would turn men on. I ran a porn account on social media to hear the affirmations from men that I’m sexy. My entire life was centered on what men thought of my physical appearance rather than what the Lord thought of my heart.
But ladies, get this…
True beauty is a gentle spirit.
True beauty is your belly laugh when the joy is uncontainable.
True beauty is a kind heart.
True beauty is the desire to serve the Lord in all things you say and do.
True beauty is clothing yourself with the fruits of the Spirit, not clothing that will score you a compliment from a man.
And true beauty is a heart that honors the Lord above all.
Grace reminds us later in the book that when we die and meet our Creator, He’s not going to reward us for the likes we got on our selfie or the amount of compliments we got on our appearance. Rather, He is going to reward us with how we believed, loved, and lived. We cannot live both for the world and the King simultaneously; it’s one or the other.
Even just recently, I was constantly worrying if my boyfriend found me pretty that day or not. I was constantly worrying that he’s going to see a girl hotter than me. I constantly placed thoughts into his head like “she’d be prettier if she did this” or “wow that girl is way more attractive than Nadia” when he saw another girl. I spent hours getting ready just to hear a “you look good today” on our date. It was exhausting. It was tormenting. But this is because I allowed myself to idolize his opinion rather than walk in what my Creator says about me.
Let me just clear the air on one thing: your desire to feel beautiful is not wrong. Your longing to be attractive is not wrong. Your inclination to want to spend a little more time getting ready before going on a date with a cute boy is not wrong. I get it. We’re women. Beauty is a part of who we are. But when it gets wrong is when the world’s opinion matters more than Heaven’s and when we want to give into the world’s definition of beautiful rather than reflect the beauty of the King. We’re on this earth for such a short while, why in the world would you waste it being frantic on whether or not you look “pretty enough” that day? (Preaching to myself here, too).
Worry about how kind you are today, not how pretty you look today.
Worry about her heart, not her being prettier than you.
Worry about lost souls, not lost followers.
Being attractive can temporarily please man, but having a heart that reflects Christ will leave a lifetime of impact on someone’s life. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather positively impact someone’s day by doing something to serve them rather than have a man say “wow, she’s hot” about me.
A woman walking in true beauty is a woman walking out her purpose to love as Christ loved.
A woman walking in true beauty is a woman who wears kindness as if it’s her favorite pair of earrings.
A woman walking in true beauty is a woman who loves radically and unconditionally.
A woman walking in true beauty is a woman walking in who the Lord says she is, not who the world says she should be.
Ladies, you are your own kind of beautiful. You are not beautiful because the world says so, you are beautiful because the Lord sees your heart to honor and please Him above all. We need Him—not the temporary desires of the world—to tell us who we are.
“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.” / Matthew 6:25-29 MSG (Revised)