Mar
12

Redefining Beauty

Here is a blog I posted on Conversant Life a while back but thought the topic is a good one to revisit…

A couple times a week, I work from home. It’s really nice, especially since the lack of a commute saves me time and money. One morning I knew I wasn’t going to see anyone else until late afternoon. The kids were at school, Mark was at the office so to save even more time, I went with the “natural” look.

About an hour later, the doorbell rang. I peeked out the window and saw it was our delivery guy in search of a signature. When I opened the door he looked at me and seemed thrown off a bit, “Oh, you’re home. I sure hope I didn’t wake you.”

Huh? Why did he say that? I didn’t delay in answering the door. It was almost 10:00 a.m. on a weekday. Why would he think I’d still be in bed?

As I returned to my desk, I glanced at my reflection in the mirror. I stopped. I knew. My face, normally covered with beauty products, was completely bare. My imperfections glared. My eyes seemed smaller, my nose looked bigger and my hair was definitely nappier. I looked more like a woman fresh out of bed rather than one fresh for the day.

 

The rest of the morning was spent with me obsessing over my lack of “natural” beauty.

I have a love/hate relationship with beauty. The old saying tells us that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” but if this is true, why do I feel enslaved to it? Why do I feel the need for my body to be a certain size and my hair to not be a certain color? Why is it that I can I find beauty on the TV but not in the mirror?

Perhaps part of the problem is our culture’s misconstrued definition of beauty. Dictionaries define beauty as something that that brings great pleasure to the senses or blesses the mind. I like this. According to this definition, beauty can be found basically anywhere.

I did an informal word search in a Bible program on the words “beauty” and “beautiful” and noticed two things. First, with the exception of the books of Esther and Song of Solomon, these two words were generally used to describe God or part of his creation. The second usage of these words warned us of the dangers of depending on our own or man-made beauty.

Again, this was an informal study but it appears that God knew that our obsession for beauty would take our eyes off of Him and what He has given us, and then place it on ourselves. We like beauty. We want it and will do what it takes to have it. In the process we lose sweet communion with God.

I personally don’t see harm in trying to improve my appearance but when it causes my focus to leave God and then fixate on myself, it puts me in “insecurity” territory. I see all that I’m not. However, when my eyes are on God and all who He is, I see all that I am in Him. I see true beauty – one that blesses the mind and brings true pleasure. I’m filled with peace instead of anxiety. And to me, that sounds beautiful.

For now, I’ll continue to wear make-up most days and may never see the natural color of my hair again. Come to think of it, I’m not sure if I actually remember it. Either way, when the gray makes its way through I’ll see it as a reminder that God has given me some great years and memories…and hopefully some wisdom learned along the way.

How about you – does our culture’s definition of beauty haunt you?

Any insight on how you deal with it?

Any tips on how to raise children in a beauty-obsessed world?

Comments

  1. Hi, I like your post, and it’s a great subject. I cannot address the kids issue since I don’t have any. But I’m disabled and my body image is a mess; I think our culture is so beauty-centered that it creates psychological roadblocks and detours to our sense of worth. I feel it in the back of my mind, like some shadow whispering negativity. When this negativity eventually emerges in our outter lives (and it’s sneaky how it manifests itself, how be self-sabotage), the negativity produces negative fruit in our demeanor or confidence or actions or how we perceive challenges – and this dark fruit affirms what our shadow has been saying all along. It’s a war I’ve been fighting for years.

    M

    • Laurie Russell says:

      Dear M,

      Thank you so much for sharing with such transparency.I hear your pain. Body image is an area the enemy often uses to destroy our joy, confidence and all that is good in God – especially when it’s from a disability that we have no control over. But it was the broken that Jesus touched and they were the ones He stopped for. They were the ones that He changed His day and schedule in order to be with them. I’m so glad He’s a God that looks at the heart and not the outward appearance. I’m praying His whispers will ring louder in your ears than the negative ones lurking in the shadows.

      May God’s love bless you dearly my friend!

      Laurie

  2. liz lewis says:

    beauty is the reflection of the soul. the soul is having a human experience. many times we see the perception of beauty in the a dim light. we often ask ” such a beautiful man/woman and such a sad/mad disposition”. these are marks of a soul which has yet to encounter its perfection. it is a soul which sees itself through man’s eyes and not through god’s eyes. god makes everything perfect and in correct order. who are we to challenge that-even within ourselves. when you say that you are ugly, fat, uneasy on the eyes, unattractive, boring, dull, ect. you are telling god that you have made something non-perfect. how dare we! how do we challenge the creator of the sea, sun, earth, fields, flowers, birds, bees, ect.. all of these things are perfect even unto man. we judge ourselves and each other on hollywood’s criterion. who are they? movie makers, pretenders, reality busters, or false makers of reality. you pic one and base you life on a lie created by man or a truth buried inside of ourselves given to us by god almighty himself. good luck

    • Laurie Russell says:

      Hi Liz,

      Great words and wisdom here! God himself said all of His creation was “real good” and that includes us.

      Thanks for sharing and reminding us that when we criticize ourselves, we’re criticizing His creation.

      Blessings!

      Laurie

  3. Laurie Russell says:

    Thanks Troy!

    I appreciate your kind words.

    Laurie

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