I had the opportunity to speak to a group of lovely high school girls this past week about body image, the lies we believe about our worth, and the places we find our value. During the event I asked the girls to shout out the characteristics that our society says is “beautiful.”
They came up with the following:
“on fleek” eyebrows
small pant size
I am sure the list could have gone on and on….
When I asked them what characteristics God uses to describe beauty, they were only able to come up with three:
a gentle and quiet spirit
feet that carry the gospel to unbelievers
a loving/kind heart
I pulled two observations from this exercise.
Society’s messages about beauty ring louder and more clearly in our ears than God’s do.
While society looks at the exterior, God is looking for beauty in our hearts.
If you search through scripture, you will be hard-pressed to find much about how God defines physical beauty. You will not come across a passage describing what kind of hair, skin color, eye shape, body shape, or dress size God deems more beautiful than another because it does not exist. Scripture does say that we were fearfully and wonderfully made by God; a chosen people that He not only created, but knit together, in His perfect image.
I realize many of us have heard this before. It is not an original message, but as I was standing in front of these girls reminding them that God himself decided their EVERY feature, I was overcome with emotion. Sisters, you are His own creation; every part of you was lovingly determined by our Heavenly Father!!! You are a masterpiece and a daughter of the Most High King.
You are beautiful!!!
I believe that the reason the Bible does not give us specifics to determine physical beauty is because physical beauty is a given! He created us all to be beautiful, which is why the Bible instead spends so much time focusing on matters of the heart and developing of inner beauty.
Scripture does address the beauty of our physical features, however. Specifically, to suggest that there is deeper beauty to be found in what these body parts allow us to do, rather than how they appear. Romans 10:15 says, “And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”
Paul is talking about the beauty in feet that travel to share the gospel, but how beautiful are your feet when you use them to walk aisle after aisle at the grocery store buying food for your family? How beautiful are your hands when you use them to put a Band-Aid on your toddler’s knee? How beautiful is your mouth when you use it to worship God and encourage a troubled friend?
Oh sisters, there is so much beauty in who He created you to be!! When we use our physical characters to love others and do His work, it is as if inner and outer beauty intertwines and God’s glory is shining all around us.
Whatever lies you believe about yourself today, I challenge you to fight back with truth: You are beautiful and worthy and enough, whether you feel that way or not. You are His! This side of heaven, our bodies may not always look or work the way He initially desired. There will be sickness, there will be handicaps and old age, but He still created you. You are still beautiful, and you can still use your body in beautiful ways for His glory.