Did you know that the average woman spends an average of 474 days of her life putting on makeup? That’s more than an entire year of her life devoted to beauty.
We all struggle with feeling beautiful. We work out, we wear the right clothes, we act like we have it all together, but we still don’t feel whole. We still feel empty. We are self-conscious, depressed, and worry about what others think, even when we claim that we don’t.
So we keep trying and we keep spending more money on things that promise to cover up our ugliness, but they never work. We keep working toward this unattainable goal of beauty.
What is beautiful? Do we even know? Is it perfectly tan skin, a toned body, and big wardrobe? Is it all the latest makeup tricks and hair styling tools? Is beauty thin, or does beauty come in all sizes?
One thing that we can all agree on is that we are not beautiful. No matter what anyone tries to tell you, you aren’t beautiful. I know this sounds harsh, and is exactly the opposite of what everyone is telling us, but hang with me.
What is required to be beautiful?
Well, beauty means “Pleasing to the eye”
And what is pleasing? Is sin pleasing to the eye? Is pride pleasing to the eye? Is disrespect and rebellion pleasing to the eye?
But these are all things that we struggle with, so really, we aren’t full of beauty. And if you aren’t full of beauty, then you’re ugly. Plain and simple.
We all know that the first step toward fixing a problem is recognizing that there is a problem, so here’s the first step to true beauty:
#1- Admit your imperfection.
This is the truth that we have been battling against our whole lives: we are imperfect. Everyone is. We don’t want this to be true and we spend billions of dollars a year to prove that. The weight-loss industry alone brings in 20 billion dollars a year. But we still don’t feel beautiful. Why?
We fight and fight, but deep down, we all know it’s true.
We are ugly.
You cannot be beautiful on your own. No matter how hard you try, no matter how much makeup you wear or how thin or curvy you are, you will not be beautiful.
Why? Because there is only one standard of beauty— the standard that we all live by and strive to reach— and that standard is perfection.
This is why we will never be satisfied with ourselves, because we are not perfect. This is why we feel inadequate and ugly —because we are.
So what then? Do we just go on and live an ugly life? Do we give up all of our efforts to find beauty and just live it up?
Definitely not. We must continue on in our quest for beauty, we just have to realize that we were looking for it in all the wrong places.
Beauty is not a trait that can be earned by excessive alteration to the outside of ourselves, beauty is a trait that we get when there has been a transformation in the inside of ourselves.
We have to recognize that beauty comes from the inside, not the outside.
#2- Recognize true beauty.
What is true beauty?
Well, perfection is the ultimate standard, so where can perfection be found?
You want me to tell you that you can be beautiful if only you exercise, eat healthily, wear the right clothes, and walk around with a certain bout of confidence. But I’m not here to lie to you, so here is the truth:
True Beauty can only be found in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the Author of beauty. He is perfection. He is the only one that reaches that unattainable standard of beauty.
Why is Jesus beautiful? Is it because of what He wears? Is it because of how He fixes his hair?
We know these are silly questions because we know that Jesus is beautiful because of who He is and what He did for us. He is perfect and holy, yet He saw us in our sinfulness—in our ugliness— and He loved us. He didn’t just sort-of love us. He loved us enough to die for us. He loves us with an everlasting love.
Even though you are ugly and imperfect, He loves you.
Why? I don’t know.
But that’s true beauty.
#3- Imitate True Beauty.
There is only one way to be beautiful, and that is to imitate true beauty.
All this time we have been imitating a false sense of beauty, a beauty that is painted on the outside of ourselves, and it hasn’t ever worked. There is a solution to your beauty problem, and it is a solution that never, ever fails.
We must live for the Author of beauty. We must seek to be like Jesus, and only then will we feel beautiful. When we live for Christ, His beauty will radiate through us, and we will wonder why we ever listened to the world.
When we love like Jesus, when we talk like Jesus, when we live like Jesus, we will look like Jesus. And He is truly beautiful, because He is perfect.
We aren’t beautiful because of what size we wear, or what brand we wear, or how much makeup we use, or whether or not we have clear skin or a thigh gap,
we are beautiful because of who we are in Christ.
We are beautiful because He has restored our brokenness, and redeemed us.
I know this is tough because even when we have Christ, we still sometimes feel inadequate. We still struggle with self-consciousness, depression, and vanity.
We struggle with these things because we still struggle with sin. We struggle with these things because we still want attention, we still want to be praised, we still want beauty to be found in ourselves, and not in something else. We struggle with this because we still want the focus to be on us. But this is the root of our beauty problem. We feel ugly because we are focusing on our ugliness; we are depressed because the world isn’t perfect; we are self-conscious because we feel inadequate; and we feel inadequate because we don’t have Jesus who is always adequate.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”
Do you want to be praised? Fear the Lord.
As soon as you start shifting the focus back to yourself, things get icky. Keep your focus on Jesus and you won’t worry about wearing the most fashionable clothes, or who’s prettier than you, because you won’t be looking to bring yourself attention. You will be looking to bring attention to your Savior. You will be focused on how much you love others, and how much you serve others and how much you are doing to advance the Lord’s kingdom, because Matthew says to “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
That’s how you attain true beauty. You live to give glory to the Author of beauty and it is His beauty that then shines through you for the whole world to see, and then, you will have true beauty.
“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of the hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing that 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