These days, it’s challenging to ignore the beautiful people we see in our everyday lives and on the internet. From flawless skin to attractive features to fit figures, society’s standard of beauty is seemingly everywhere.
In fact, our culture has become obsessed with image, or, perhaps, our culture was already obsessed with “good looks.” Now, however, in the 21st century, we have 24/7 access to this obsession with apps such as Instagram and Facebook and countless online magazines and publications.
As a woman in her 30s who, admittedly, truly learned to love herself, flaws and all, a bit later than I’d care to admit, I must say—there are times I question my appearance and whether or not I fit into today’s standard of beauty. In fact, I know I don’t fit into society’s standard of beauty, and I’ve learned to wholeheartedly believe that it’s perfectly okay not to fit in because God made me this way for a reason, and I am one of one!
Cliché but true (thanks for the reinforcement, Psalm 139:16)!
However, during those questionable times, the times I play the ugly comparison game, my fleshly mind creeps into the self-doubt territory, and I have to work hard to shun negative thoughts and feelings about myself.
I’m a mom of two, and my body has experienced a range of changes, changes I’m actually quite thankful for because those changes are a result of two healthy children (thank God). Nevertheless, I understand the vicious cycle people endure when measuring their appearance to society’s standard of beauty. In fact, when I was in the 5th grade, I remember walking on to the playground when three girls approached me and made fun of my nose. Their words hurt my spirit, and I wanted to look like anyone but myself at that moment.
The truth is, some folks aren’t exactly comfortable with aging or having features outside of the scope of what’s presumed to be beautiful. Some people are still trying to find their way on their self-love journey, too, and although the standard of beauty seems to be more prevalent these days, beauty has been discussed long before our generation. In fact, the Bible talks about beauty quite a bit.
Yes, the Bible!
Even the Bible has a standard of beauty, a standard that God wants to resonate in our hearts and minds.
As a woman of Christ, I find joy in knowing that Christ’s word and His take on beauty outweigh any society-imposed standard. According to the word, a person is beautiful when they seek to become like Christ: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
To be Christ-like, we should worship, pray and seek to treat ourselves and others with love and respect, and according to the Good Book, there is nothing more beautiful than that: “And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:15).
According to God, beauty has nothing to do with the symmetry of your face or having a chiseled body. Beauty can be found in those who behave like our Lord and Savior, someone who is motivated from the heart to do good for themselves and others.
I’m thankful that God’s word leads us to discover the ultimate meaning of beauty, shying us away from judging ourselves from someone else’s standards or our own fleshly emotions: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4).