If I say “plastic surgery gone wrong” you have an instant idea, picture, TV show, or even person pop into your head. Ask YouTube for videos of face masks gone wrong, and you might laugh so hard you end up blowing coffee out of your nose. People magazine reported that the average woman spends fifteen thousand dollars on beauty products in her lifetime, three thousand on mascara alone! There are bound to be a few YouTube-worthy duds in that many purchases.
We are all looking for something, needing to feel a glimmer of beauty in our souls. The media knows it and counts on it for sales and marketing techniques. Every woman in her heart knows the hunger to feel beautiful. Satan knows it too. He relishes using it as a hook, a distorted, selfish desire. This can keep us spinning in ineffectual circles instead of heading off into the big world with confidence.
God knows this female hunger deeper than anyone. He knows it because he put it in our hearts in its purest form. He wants you to see yourself as he does. He was there as each piece of you was knit together in the secret place. He put the pieces together one by one to make something perfectly matched to the life he planned for you. He twisted this piece a little differently and wrapped that edge of your heart in a fabric never seen before. He polished some edges and left others intentionally jagged. And then he sang. He sang over his one and only you because you turned out exactly as he intended.
He still sings over you today. You are just as beautiful to him in this moment as the day he made you. He sees design and purpose. He celebrates the place along the path you are at today. Perfection isn’t expected of you. He has completed that work and sees the finished product in eternity. The brilliance of your future backdrops every step you take toward him. He’s holding out his hands, celebrating each emerging piece of you.
Beauty icon Audrey Hepburn is as famous for her thoughts about beauty as her physical beauty. She said, “The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”
Her thoughts echo Peter’s advice to women in the early church: “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV).
The degree to which you learn to see the beauty God sees in you will determine how much of it can shine. This is the effortless beauty we all gravitate toward. Country songs are full of admiration for the girl who doesn’t even know she’s beautiful. Maybelline banks on our desire to look like we were born beautiful.
True beauty is exactly like that because it comes from deep inside. It isn’t born of striving or working hard. It just is. Beauty seeps out from a heart resting in the value endowed upon it by its creator.
There is no shame in loving a good lipstick or perfecting the art of liquid eyeliner. But let your smoky eyes be a window into a heart that has grown in contentment and humility. Let your shiny lips speak words that confirm love for God and others. And when you’ve only time for only a baseball cap and a quick swipe of lip gloss, hold your head high. A lack of makeup can never jeopardize true beauty.
Photograph © Jens Lindner, used with permission