Beautiful is a 'be', not a 'do'

Have you seen Chronicles of Narnia, where the four Pevensie children step through the wardrobe and into a great romance set amidst a great battle? It's a great story, even more so for me when I went to the Deepening Weekend for the first time, where I learned that my life (and yours) is a great romance set amidst a great battle. I walked away from that weekend with an new perspective on beauty, my beauty, and it had been gnawing at me to write about it, so when J. Parker from Hot, Holy, & Humorous invited me to be part of a series of blog posts on beauty, I knew it was time to put pen to paper, and share part of the journey God has led me through. Read on!

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

Our adorable preschool aged son often sat on the bathroom vanity, watching me, as I got ready for work each day. He attentively, and with great curiosity, watched as I went through each step of my daily routine: blowing my hair dry, patiently waiting on each curl of the curling iron, brushing and styling until it was time to lock it in place with hairspray; then move on to eye liner, mascara, lip stain, and the like.

One morning, he asked me the question. “Mommy, what are you doing?”

And I gave him the only answer I had, without even giving it any thought, “I’m getting beautiful.”

His response was a one of admiration, laced with bewilderment and indignation, spoken with all the confidence that only a four year old could muster . . . “Mommy, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.”

His response didn’t resonate with me then like it does now.

Growing up, beautiful was a word for seascapes, mountain vistas, bouquets, and other girls. I was the smart and sensible one with the ‘girl next door’ look.  Although I didn’t realize it, something inside me longed to be seen as beautiful as I experimented with make up and hair gadgets, imitating what I saw in magazines, on television, and around me in other women.  At the same time, I was striving to find my place as a wife, a mother, and excelling in facilities management and construction career.

The beginning of my journey in understanding that my son is right, that I am beautiful, came at a time in my life when I felt anything but beautiful — I had learned my husband had been involved in an affair with another woman for almost a year, he said he ‘loved’ her, and moved in with her. You can read more about that here. It was then that I surrendered my life, my plans, my desires to Jesus, and allowed Him to transform me into the woman He created me to be.

As I laid down my nature of control and striving, and learned to live my life resting in God’s sovereignty with an open hand, heart, and schedule, I became increasingly more beautiful to my husband. As he lived with his girlfriend, tossed about by the wake of his decisions, yet drifting in the current of his selfishness and sin, he saw me as more radiant, alluring, desirable, than ever. Was it because of changes to my hair and make up routine? Um, no.

Our son is almost 21 years old now. It’s taken me close to 17 years to learn that beautiful is a ‘be,’ not a ‘do.’ We are created in the image of God . . . what does that even mean? We don’t know what God looks like, the closest thing we have to a picture of Him, of His image is man and woman. God is beautiful. As a woman, I was created as an image bearer of God, and one of His attributes we reflect to the world is His beauty. I am beautiful.

Beautiful is a ‘be,’ not a ‘do.’

Be still. Beauty comes from a settled heart. Not a heart that settles for less, but a heart that knows beyond all doubt, is determined, decided, assured, resolved, certain, established and confident in who she is, where she is, and the good God is up to in her life. A settled heart chooses to rest in God’s sovereignty and goodness. That woman, my friend, is beautiful beyond words. She is the woman you want to know, the woman you want to spend time with. She is the woman whose presence draws you closer to God, covers you with His peace, offers you rest despite your circumstances, strengthen and encourages you. Do you know a woman like this? She is beautiful, isn’t she?

Think about the times someone has told you that you are beautiful. How quickly we deflect the compliment, and instead of saying ‘thank you,’ we make excuses, downplay and even reject our beauty, as if this rejection equals humility, and saying ‘thank you’ would be prideful. In this rejection of beauty, I’m teaching my son a flawed, worldly definition of beauty. Read more about my journey to learn to say thank you.

Consider what you are teaching your daughters, especially when they are told they look just like you . . . and you reject the idea that you are beautiful. You are beautiful, every hair on your head (and other places), every inch of your skin, the shape of your body, the scars, the stretch marks, the dimples, the freckles, all of it equals a beauty God created in you physically. You are the full package, the real deal, you are beautiful from the moment you wake up in the morning, before you do a single thing. Sure, shower, style your hair, but know that those things only enhance your beauty, they don’t bring beauty.

Be beautiful. Be convinced.

Be convinced that the God who created this universe, created YOU to reflect His beauty like no one else. Be convinced that He loves you, He sees you, you are never, ever hidden from His sight. Be convinced that NOTHING you can say or do could make Him love you less . . . or more. Be convinced that you are ENOUGH, you are beautiful, you are becoming who He created you to be.

God is . . . beauty is . . . captivating, inviting, alluring . . . and so are you when you know you are His, you are in His arms, and the good He is up to in your life.

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