Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty.
What is beauty? Who gets to decide?
The dictionary says this:
a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. a combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense. denoting something intended to make a woman more attractive. a beautiful or pleasing thing or person, in particular.
Now, that definition does sound good, but it can’t be it, can it? I don’t think so. The dictionary misses the biggest factor of the equation – God. Beauty has another name, and that name is God. It has a Creator, and that creator is God. The biggest piece of beauty is the embodiment of Beauty. God is Beauty in it’s most pure form – in all senses of the word. To know God is to know Beauty. To understand God is to understand Beauty. The deepest beauty isn’t in the things from the dictionary definition – it’s in a firm faith with the Creator of beauty.
These past few weeks I waded through thoughts, Scripture, blog posts, inspirational quotes on Pinterest, and dorm conversations. These various things led me with an understanding of beauty I never had before, and a stronger connection with how my God sees me. However, I never thought my journey would leave me where I found myself yesterday.
Earlier this week my boss challenged me to post a picture in which I felt beautiful. This got my mind more wrapped around beauty.
Of all of the weeks to be challenged, I thought, why this one? This past week was a bit of a rough one. Why not these past few weeks that I’ve been on cloud nine. Sure beauty in Christ isn’t conditional, but why not a week when I look better in terms of the world?
Why can’t I be beautiful in His eyes AND the world?
Why did she challenge me to post a picture of myself when I have a cold, when I’m tired, and feeling just plain lousy?
These were my thoughts several days ago. Of course, with the way God’s timing works (which is perfect, by the way) this turned out to be the perfect week. I have been left so humbled.
I debated on which day I would post the picture of myself.
Would it be a good hair day?
Good makeup day?
I couldn’t decide. Until yesterday. Yesterday I decided I would follow through and finally post my picture to Instagram. But his was not a typical selfie. The picture I posted was with a messy bun, no makeup, and in pjs. (It’s the image with this blog) But I posted it with confidence. I felt good about loving myself. I liked it. And I told myself I refused to feel shame about who I am, or for liking the picture. Because even though this week, in that picture, I was weak due to a cold and sleep deprivation, God had used me so much. After all of my searching I felt secure about who I am – and most importantly, I felt secure about my identity in Christ. As if to test this, within minutes a comment popped up under the photo.
That was all it read. I read those four letters. That wasn’t what I was expecting. And that’s when I knew something was different.
A year ago if I would have read those letters it would have crushed me. It would have left me feeling insecure and sorry for myself for days. I definitely would have deleted the comment, and most likely would have deleted the photo. And yesterday I did find myself crushed, but in a different way.
Yesterday I read the word ‘ugly’ and my heart broke – not for myself, but for the young lady who posted the comment.
I clicked on her name and my heart sunk even more as I read
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength” as part of her bio section.
Here was a beautiful young lady – a sister in Christ – choosing to use her words in an attempt to break someone down instead of building them up. What caused her to act that way? Did someone speak to her that way, leading her to mimic the same to make herself seem less small?
Whatever caused her to boldly type ‘ugly’ was not of the Spirit.
That voice that whispers things such as “ugly”,”not good enough”, “not pretty enough”, “too thin/too fat” and so on comes from one place, and that is not from Christ.
They are boldfaced lies from the enemy himself. Those hurtful one liners are spoken by him in an attempt to distract us from the beauty of Christ, and the beauty of the lives He as blessed us with. I let her know how beautiful she was, and encouraged her to use her voice to build others up. I’ll never know if she heard my words or not, but I can only pray that she might listen. For that girl, and for all others in her position, I pray for boldness to speak truth, love, and encouragement to others. I pray for boldness to speak Christ daily. I am also included in this. I frequently pray and remind myself.
Her comment isn’t the biggest issue. The concept is the issue here – the idea that as Christians, we are a Body, a family. Words are important, they are powerful. We should use them to encourage, to speak God’s Truth, to empower, to be kind and loving. We should not use words to attack, cut down, to hurt, or to weaken someone else. And yet it happens all the time. But it doesn’t have to. We aren’t perfect, however, we should strive to become better. We should make an effort daily to use words as a way to show Christ to others. Don’t ever think that words cant make a difference, because they can, and they do. Use your words wisely – even when confronted with someone choosing not to. Sometimes your reaction makes a bigger statement than an action itself. Use your words to further the Kingdom and to encourage others to do the same. Be brave and be bold, even when there’s risk involved. The risk makes it worth it sometimes. He can use all things, even when you don’t realize it.
Be bold with your encouragement.
Be bold with your love.
Be bold with your kindness.
Be bold with your Creator.
Be bold. Be bold. Be bold.
That kind of boldness is a catalyst for change. It can change others, and it can also change you – and it’s change for the better.