I’m taking a deep breath as I approach this particular longing, because it’s an intimidating one. Beauty is such a sensitive subject. As women, it affects our souls, our view of ourselves, our feelings of worth and identity, our confidence or lack thereof, even the way we relate to other people.
Some would say it’s shallow and unimportant, that it doesn’t really matter.
But our hearts tell us otherwise, don’t they?
And the thing is, beauty doesn’t really have a definition. There’s no set standard of what a
beautiful woman looks like. It’s unique to the age, the culture, and even the individual. The old saying is actually true: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Then if there’s no specific definition of beauty… why do we spend our lives striving to attain it, never convinced that it’s ours? Why do we try so hard, only to look in the mirror, shrug, and say “That’s as good as it gets”? If there’s no real criteria, why do we feel like we have an impossible standard to measure up to?
I love John and Stasi Eldredge’s book Captivating, and I learned so much about beauty from it that I just have to share some excerpts with you – because they say it so much better than I could!
Beauty is the essence of God.
Beauty is the essence of a woman. She is meant to be the incarnation – our experience in human form – of a Captivating God.
Beauty is, without question, the most essential and the most misunderstood of all of God’s qualities – of all feminine qualities, too. Why so much heartache over beauty? A woman knows, down in her soul, that she longs to bring beauty to the world. This is in her heart, part of her design.
Whatever else it means to be feminine, it is depth and mystery and complexity, with beauty as its very essence. Every woman has a beauty to unveil. Every woman. Because she bears the image of God.
I love this truth: that my longing for beauty – to have it, share it, and create it – is evidence of the imprint of God in my soul. He is a beautiful God. Look at His creation, His word, the descriptions of Him on His throne. He is beauty and He gives beauty. We are meant to have that desire, too.
Now, we know that the desire to be beautiful has caused many women untold grief. Countless tears have been shed and hearts broken in its pursuit.
Beauty has been extolled and worshiped and kept just out of reach for most of us. For others, beauty has been shamed, used, and abused. And yet, in spite of all the pain and distress that beauty has caused us as women, the desire remains.
And it’s not just the desire for an outward beauty, but more – a desire to be captivating in the depths of who you are. The beauty of woman is first a soulful beauty.
There is so much to say on this topic, whole books have been written about it. But let me just say, dear girl… your longing for beauty is okay. It’s more than okay; it’s God-given. And you are beautiful. You are beautiful because you are made in the image of God and He is beautiful. Your beauty runs soul-deep, to the depths of your heart and who you are.
Tell that to your reflection next time you look in a mirror.
I highly recommend the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. It taught me so much, not just about beauty, but about what it means to be a woman of God! Check it out! (this is an affiliate link. see my full affiliate disclosure at the bottom of the page.;