SHARING and CARING…it’s what LIFE is all about!

Beauty Is As Beauty Does

Posted by on Sep 27, 2014 in Blog, Food for Thought, Memories, Quotes | 2 comments

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay XII Art).

In a world where beauty appears to be shallow, external and almost worshipped, I believe Mr. Emerson’s reminder is right on point: if we can’t find our inner beauty, we’ll never find beauty elsewhere.

Next week a friend and I will embark on our second year of leading a women’s Bible study. Our topic this year is Developing a passion for knowing God through Biblical teachings that nurture an uncommon beauty. Even though we’ve put together our own curriculum, we have based it on established resources. One of the authors makes this statement, “Just as a woman’s lack of inner character can mar her good looks, a beautiful soul can render a plain face lovely”  (Cynthia Heald, Uncommon Beauty). Unfortunately, our world seems to have redefined beauty, and the plain face has been ignored, if not shunned.

All you have to do is watch TV commercials, flip the pages of a current fashion magazine or, better yet, pause at a check-out counter and glance at the tabloids and you will agree that we are being inundated with the need to be strikingly beautiful. Women especially seem driven. We must have the latest in fashion and hairstyle. We must weigh a certain weight. We must go the limit to impress, even at the risk of being unwise. Sadly, morals and principles are sometimes compromised. And men cannot be excluded. They may have the same drive but under a more masculine—and all-too-often accepted—persona. It seems that from age-defying face creams to buying the right car that has the right sex-appeal, we are being bombarded from every direction with the need to be more beautiful, at any cost.

What ever happened to setting the standard high? What became of developing the beautiful, inner self? I would suggest that the world has enticed us into turning a blind eye, or worse yet, tolerating its carnal mentality in defining beauty. That doing whatever must be done to deter the inevitable aging process—since it equates aging with unlovely—has no limit. It frightens me to think that we have fallen victim to the world’s interpretation of beauty.

I believe as adults we are sending the wrong message to our younger generation. I’m not talking about the generation of our adult children—although they can be, and quite possibly are, influenced by the world’s standard. I’m talking about the second generation of kids who are being influenced through the media, the printed page, the internet, music and, above all else, their peers. Without taking a stand against the immoral definition of beauty, what message are we sending them?

As I consider this question, I think back to my own teen years. I remember how influenced I was by my best friend’s clothing, hair style and beautiful nails. I remember, too, the magazines that I drooled over, wishing I had nicer hair and a slimmer body. I remember wishing I could feel the confidence I portrayed as a cheerleader, all the while hating my mousey brown, straight hair when my best friend had natural curls.

Why did I feel that way? Having girlfriends who were prettier than I was didn’t help. Having girlfriends who were one step ahead of me on the volleyball or basketball court only heightened my lack of self-worth. Having friends who lived in beautiful houses, in posh neighbourhoods and came to school looking like they had just stepped out of the current teenage magazine only aggravated my growing insecurities. It seemed my inner beauty didn’t have a chance!

So what changed me? What helped me understand that I did have something to contribute to society? That I was valued? That I was beautiful? That I didn’t need to look in a mirror and question God for giving me straight hair?

There’s no doubt that being loved by someone who saw beyond my insecurities was the beginning. Doug saw the beauty beneath the surface. But in truth, it was God who made all the difference. As His created being, I came to understand that in denying who I was on the outside, I was insulting my Creator. After all, He had hand-picked me long before time began and instilled something beautiful in me, far deeper than my outward appearance. So who was I to question Him!

Now, I know this may sound contrived, but really, it is quite simple. Knowing that the word mistake is not in God’s vocabulary made it easier for me to come to this understanding, but it did take some time. When I finally could look in the mirror and be content with what looked back at me, I began to understand what Mr. Emerson was saying: It starts with me! It’s my choice!

As a closing thought…

We parents and grandparents must be diligent in assuring our children and grandchildren that although there is a need to be healthy and practical in their outward appearance, they must remember Who created them and live a life pleasing to Him. I read recently that “the kind of person we portray ourselves [to be] speaks volumes for the person we truly are.” That may be true to a degree, but there is always the danger of wearing a protective mask and thus portraying ourselves falsely. Rather, I believe we must first realize that beauty is more than surface, more than skin-deep, more than cloaking ourselves and presenting ourselves to be someone other than who we are. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m completely sold on the truth that beauty is found within, that when we accept God’s hand in our lives, we are on the road to finding our true inner beauty.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14 (NIV)


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  1. Heather.

    Wonderful piece, Ruth. I read somewhere that “outer beauty surrenders to nature, inner beauty thrives on the exilir of life, His everlasting love.”

    • Ruth Waring

      That’s a great quote, Heather, and very, very true. Thanks! If you ever have an opportunity to pick up a copy of Uncommon Beauty by Cynthia Heald, it is well worth your time to read it. This book and the Biblical Teachings (or Spiritual Disciplines by another name) that we will be sharing are the basis for our women’s Bible study. We are praying that our time together will lead to a deeper relationship with Christ for everyone.

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