While babysitting yesterday, I watched an episode of Veggietales called Sweetpea Beauty. (Not nearly as good as the originals, but still, fun). Its focus was on not obsessing with our outward beauty, because “God made us each beautiful in our own special way” and “true beauty comes from what’s on the inside.” Now that I am no longer in pre-K, these mantras are a bit cliche, but I appreciate the effort that the directors made in affirming natural beauty.
That said, I don’t know if I always truly believe the message that we are all really beautiful. I struggle to accept this notion of beauty because when I look in the mirror, I see someone who has gained a lot of weight in the past 3 years, who has acne scars, and eyes that are too small, and who will never look ‘hot.’ Now, this isn’t every day that I feel like this, but the thoughts do circulate more frequently than I would like.
I’ve tried to rationalize it out, and to convince myself that ‘hey, your husband won’t care about your waist-to-hip ratio, or your dry skin, because he will love you for who you are.’ I’ve also gone for the “God didn’t make you drop-dead gorgeous so that you would attract a guy with your intelligence, and humor” route. Which both sound great, until you watch movie after movie where the guy only loves the girl with the perfect shape. It just wears you down after a while.
Around Easter, I was thinking about the incarnation of Christ, and what that may have actually looked like. We have “The Shack”s version, where He is described as just an average first-century Jewish man. And for all intents and purposes, I think that that is probably an accurate descriptor. After all, if Jesus had been the pinnacle of human attractiveness, we would have heard about it through some other venue, right? The Greeks and Romans at the time were all about human beauty, and with their impeccable marble and bronze statues, we have a very clear picture at what they considered to be god-like perfection.
So, if Jesus, God himself, didn’t form his own body to be Calvin Klein-esque, why would we expect Him to make our bodies that way? He obviously has a different idea of beauty.
Even as I write this, though, I wish it could be so easy to believe. I know that it will be an ongoing struggle for me, and for all of us without the ‘perfect’ body and face. And I know that I could stand to eat healthier, and get stronger at the gym, but I don’t honestly know if those would ever get me to a point where I could call myself, without a doubt, beautiful. That knowledge has to come from the heart, and from the heart untethered by the devil’s lies. But for now, my heart is tethered, in a way that no amount of ‘likes’ on Facebook, or compliments from friends will change, but only, eventually, through the truth of the Lord, who cherishes the “imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.” (1 Peter 3:3)