We’ve all heard the phrase, “Beauty is only skin deep,” and I have to say I both agree and disagree. On Friday night one week ago, I attended a women’s worship service where a picture framed the question, “What makes you beautiful?” Those four words leapt from the picture frame in the candlelit room. Among the 10 questions posed that night, I only managed to completely answer this one. I’ll share my response as I originally penned it, below (with all the weird capitalizations, boldings, and underlines):
“What makes you beautiful? This question put such a smile on my face. God, you’ve restored me and loved me back to life. Like, WOW! Your love, your grace, I see beauty where I didn’t use to – that makes me beautiful. To join with You in acknowledging the beauty in every single thing You’ve created, to recognize beauty where others, and even I, used to see ugliness – THAT makes me beautiful. Thank You for drawing me from such an ugly way of viewing life. Thank You for drawing me to YOUR beauty, so I can not only see the beauty You’ve made, I can reflect it. I THANK YOU, GOD! But Lord, please, keep me on track with You. Of the two beauty questions tonight, even, I chose beauty the second time, despite Your perspective on beauty chasing me. But I thank you GOD, that U chase me, that your beauty chases me that YOUR perspective chases me. Help me not to miss the Glory of it all. Help me not to miss You! Thank You for making ALL things beautiful in Your time. The ugliness of life is beautiful in Your hands. Thank You for giving me Your beauty. Thank U for giving me You!”
I believe all of these words God placed inside of me that night. I believe that everything has beauty – every. single. THING! I’d love to say it’s because I have such awesome character; it’s not. I’d love to say it’s because I’ve finally matured into this viewpoint; it’s not. I believe these things because I believe the Word of God. I believe Proverbs 31:30, which admonishes us that outward charm and beauty are deceptive and fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. I believe His Word in 1 Peter 3:3-4, which tells us to not to be concerned with outward beauty, but instead, clothe ourselves with a beauty that comes from within because the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth to God. I believe 1 Samuel 16:7, where the Lord spoke to Samuel in the third person, saying, “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
We’re not wise enough to view things from God’s perspective, but the good news is that God is offering us HIS perspective. He said if any of us lack wisdom, we can come to Him, ask wisdom of Him, ask for HIS perspective, and He’ll give it to us, liberally! The Word says He upbraideth not! That means you can come over, and over again, without reproach, without criticism; He just bids us come! As you find yourself focusing on the ugliness of anything, whether others, life circumstances, or yourself, let that remind you to go back to our God who offers HIS perspective on our ugly way of viewing things. I bet you’ll find beauty exchanged for ashes. I’ll end with this quote from John MacArthur’s book, Twelve Extraordinary Women. After spending a full page discussing how strikingly beautiful Eve must’ve been, he concluded:
“There is no doubt that [Eve] was a living picture of sheer radiance. Scripture, however, gives us no physical description of Eve. Her beauty— splendid as it must have been — is never mentioned or even alluded to. The focus of the biblical account is on Eve’s duty to her Creator and her role alongside her husband. That is a significant fact, reminding us that the chief distinguishing traits of true feminine excellence are nothing superficial. Women who are obsessed with image, cosmetics, body shapes, and other external matters have a distorted view of femininity. We need to go back to Scripture to see what God’s ideal for a woman really is.”
I watched this brief video of Oscar Winner, Lupita Nyong’o and absolutely love her testimony of the journey from rejecting her dark skin, even daily praying to God for lighter skin, to accepting her outer beauty and recognizing where her true beauty lies.