Beautiful in HIM!

I’m so pale, I have got to lose 10 pounds before summer, I’m having a bad hair day, I don’t have anything to wear, I look old…the list goes on and on. Does this sound familiar? Over analyzing myself and finding personal flaws is something I do on a fairly regular basis, but not nearly as much as I did in the past.
Actually, what I used to do was get so caught up in how I looked on the outside, that I completely forgot to examine the person I was becoming on the inside. Honestly, there was a time that I stopped criticizing myself and went the other way. I was in complete adoration of myself and the way I looked. I became extremely caught up in having the perfect tanned, skinny, body and spending loads of money on clothes that I clearly could not afford just so I could keep playing the starring role in a big production called “ME”! Everyone look at ME! Like ME, be jealous of ME! ME ME ME! Ugh…it’s so sad to reflect on that person! The old ME!

This thing that was ME…It’s called vanity and it is a very dangerous place to be! Looking “fabulous” doesn’t necessarily seem to be evil or a danger to us or to others, but that mentality makes it a perfect playground for the devil! Actually vanity is the ideal “outfit” that we begin to wear when we become so obsessed with our outer beauty and start to neglect what’s happening on the inside. It’s like a very creative Halloween costume. Vanity will tend to fool the people around us because they also begin to get caught up in our clothes, hair, skin, weight that they don’t even care who we are on the inside. We look great, they look great and it’s fun and contagious!

Now, I will make one thing crystal clear with you upfront…I like fashion, I like pretty clothes and shoes, jewelry and fun hair styles. I’m a bit of a girly girl, what can I say? I take pride in how I look (usually) when I walk out the door and most days I don’t leave the house without at least a little bit of makeup to cover the acne or freckles! But, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the fine line between being proud of how you look and making it so consuming that it’s encompassing who you ARE as an individual. Forgetting about the beautiful God given traits of your personality that you were blessed with at birth and that have made you the woman He wants you to be!

Who I WAS when I thought I was this amazing woman floating through my life, was a big, hot, tan, well dressed mess! I made my friends laugh, I was sarcastic and fun. I was the “life of the party” at times and I was loving every minute of it. I was completely caught up in it. I was using all of the these actions and props to cover up the emptiness in my soul. I was seeking attention for all of the wrong reasons and it began to destroy my life. I now know that low self esteem from my younger years played a big role in my need for attention and my need for always looking a certain way, but whatever the reason is for starting, it spiraled quickly and vanity became more of a God to me than God himself!
The really scary part is how quickly and quietly it can consume us. We are “good, nice, Christian people” so that’s all that matters, right? We’re not hurting anyone, are we? You may not have these same personality traits as I have, but fill in the blanks with your own and you’ll understand what I’m getting at.
Now…ask yourself this, day in and day out, how many times do you look in the mirror? How often are you thinking about what to wear or what not to eat because of weight gain? How much money is being spent on healthcare products, makeup, creams, lotions, botox, etc.? I’ll answer those for you…ALOT! We think about all of that ALOT! And the reason it doesn’t look dangerous is because people like looking at “pretty”. Our friends, our husbands, boyfriends, strangers, we all like looking at “pretty”! That is why I believe vanity can be a very quiet but dangerous sin and if we don’t keep it in check, it can and will consume you too! We lose sight of what kind of beauty should be at the center of our lives and we lose sight on how to share that with others. We can talk about plastic surgery, fashion and working out all day long, but our faith and our true beauty in Christ become taboo topics. Therein lies the danger of vanity! And you don’t think our daughters will follow these footsteps? Think again!

1 Peter 3:3-4
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, 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.

Over the past couple of years, my spiritual life began to take a turn and I started to hear God tell me I was beautiful and I even started to believe Him. I would hear Him whisper things to me about my giving, generous and thoughtful traits. He reassures me about the fact that I truly care about my friends and want to help them and be there for them when they need me. I began to believe God when He told me that if I shared some of my stories with other women, that they might listen and hear Him too and start to see their true beauty regardless of a painful past! Each day, I hear Him tell me new things about myself and how I’ve improved and how I continue to grow and change in HIM with every prayer and every genuine action of support or love to others. He’s allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me daily and as I allow it too, I realize that’s what makes me a gorgeous daughter of The Lord. I never realized that before.
By starting my mornings in prayer and by asking for His guidance in all circumstances, He is opening my eyes to the real “pretty” in me even when I make huge mistakes! He shows me His grace and love when I’m wearing clothes that don’t fit quite right or when my hair looks messy and when the scale is not smiling back at me! He loves me no matter what, all the time! Knowing that I will continue to fall and make those mistakes every day, regardless of how I look doing it, is o.k. with Him and it’s o.k. with me, now, too.

We are His daughters and we are sisters in Christ, let’s embrace that and recognize the stunning women we are on the inside. Compliment a woman’s laugh or her kind, gentle voice and her tenderness before you talk about her fantastic new hair color. Encourage her to continue being a great listener, an amazing cook and a great mom. Tell her that you admire her work ethic, her strength and her love of the Lord before you compliment her shoes!

I am seeing that the parts of my personality that make me who I am have not changed really either, but now I just see that they are not being used to mask pain any longer. God created me with a sense of humor and a witty, sarcastic side (that I sometimes need to apologize for), a fun loving, outgoing person who happens to like to look fashionable and put together most of the time. You see, the fashion, the outer beauty, even getting the laughs, are no longer my crutch because I’ve realized that none of this is about ME! It’s about who HE is in me and that is 100% pure beauty that will last through the ages!