Beauty is such a sensitive topic.
Especially for women, it is extremely rare to believe we may be beautiful. Can you imagine talking to your girlfriend at lunch and she’s like, “So, I was getting ready this morning and I couldn’t believe how beautiful I am. I mean, my hair is perfectly straight and shiny, my eyes are just the right size, and I think I’m looking particularly skinny these days.”
No, you’d more likely hear, “So, I was getting ready this morning and I couldn’t believe how boringly straight my hair is. I wish it was curly. And my eyes! Do you see how one’s bigger than the other? And seriously, I think I’ve put on ten pounds since last weekend.”
Similarly, it’d be unlikely for a woman to express confidence in her personality- her strength under pressure or her kindness to strangers.
As women, we’re taught to be hesitant, unsure, pandering.
I read somewhere that studies have shown that women are significantly more likely to use a ‘qualifier’ or to hedge before speaking up in a meeting or classroom, “I could be wrong, but…I’m not sure if I’m understanding this right, but….Well, I’m new to this, but…”
Women who are assertive or confidence in their looks or general selves are thought to be either snobs or the big B.
So we learn to hide or ‘tone down’ our strengths and our beauty. We learn to be unsure.
Beauty is also tied to many emotions- what we were told or taught by our moms, our dads, our peers or teachers, and certainly our faith- plays a powerful role in our associations to beauty.
Perhaps this political and emotional weight is what made it so hard to get women to write for me this year.
So many responded to my email asking them to write saying things like, “I just can’t think of anything….” or “I’ll have to think on this awhile.” And I’m in this boat as well- I’ve known the topic for a month, and I still haven’t decided what I’m going to write about.
In 20, 40, 60 years, we can’t remember a single time we’ve felt beautiful?
I don’t care what anyone thinks or says, we all- all of us- have beauty in us.
It’s not about being prettier or uglier than the next girl- it’s about finding out where your beauty is: your passions, your strengths, your features, that make you shine and make you who you are.
God works beauty through us inwardly and outwardly.
In 1 Timothy it says, “And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.”
And in 1 Corinthians it says, “Don’t you agree there is something naturally powerful in the symbolism—a woman, her beautiful hair reminiscent of angels, praying in adoration; a man, his head bared in reverence, praying in submission?”
So this month my prayer for you women, is that you would know that you are beautiful- inside and out. That you would understand that your beauty can be used by a loving God who sees you as His beautiful daughter (whether you’re a believer or not), and that you might even think twice before qualifying a statement to hide your strength or criticizing aspects of yourself to minimize your beauty.
Instead, may you shine.
Shine with the knowledge that you have something worthwhile to say.
Shine with the grace of a woman who impacts others.
Shine with confidence of your beauty, inside and out.