“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” – Song of Solomon 4:7
As a woman, it is really difficult to feel beautiful.
Ladies, am I right?
Every time a Victoria’s Secret commercial invades my television screen, I’m reminded I’m a couple of sizes and a few plastic surgeries away from being sexy. And being sexy is apparently important, especially if I want to snag a husband. Our culture believes that’s the only type of woman men go for.
Oh, and shows like “The Bachelor” remind me that finding love is for pretty people. Even if you’re pretty, there is always someone better-looking to tempt your man’s eye elsewhere. Good luck with that.
The assault doesn’t stop there. We’ve even instilled beauty hierarchies to make each other literally feel uncomfortable in our own skin.
My skin is a rich, dark brown color, so I could tell you a story or two about comments that have come my way concerning that. And while my mom and others helped me see the beauty in my dark skin, I’ll sometimes cringe at a photo that makes me appear “too” dark.
We could each make an endless list of our physical insecurities. After all, our society claims — no, demands — that the most beautiful women have perfectly arched eyebrows, symmetrical faces (with luscious lips, Disney-princess eyes and a delicate nose), toned bodies (with long legs), smooth skin (preferably tan) and straight hair (preferably long).
And it’s into this delusional mess that God whispers to his daughters, “You are altogether beautiful.”
Looking for Beauty in All the Wrong Places
Unless we look like Gigi Hadid, most women looking for the culture’s validation are going to walk away empty-handed. Yet that’s what we do. We demand society consider us beautiful, because maybe then we will finally feel beautiful.
A recent trend is to praise and promote all body types and beauty ideals. That’s very encouraging, but it doesn’t do enough.
It can never do enough.
At the end of the day, it’s just not satisfying to have society acknowledge my type of beauty. My heart longs for a deeper approval of who I am. I desire for someone to hold my face, look into my eyes and tell me that I’m beautiful, and that someone doesn’t have to be a boyfriend or husband (though I’m not going to reject that if it happens — duh).
I believe most women have a deeper need for a declaration of beauty, and that need is our Creator calling us to himself.
There Is No Flaw in You
As God’s daughters, we are clothed in His righteousness, covered by Jesus’ sacrifice. We are flawless! I’m not talking about Beyonce’s song. Our flawlessness has nothing to do with how talented, beautiful or wonderful we are. Instead, our flawlessness points to a God who is so into us, not just our attributes, that He used His holiness to cover our wretchedness. He loves us, and a loved woman is a beautiful woman.
It is kind of ironic if you think about it: Most women want to be beautiful so that they will be loved, yet in God’s economy His love makes us beautiful. Perhaps you have witnessed this before — a married couple where the wife doesn’t fit the typical “hot” stereotype, but her husband looks at her like she’s the most beautiful and intriguing woman in the world? She’s loved. She’s beautiful.
Ladies, let’s own our beauty. Put those magazines down, turn off the television and bask in God’s love. Also, let’s take care of our bodies, but for the right reasons.
This has become a new focus of mine. I’ve noticed that I feel better and have more energy when I am eating healthy foods and when I exercise by going for walks (I walk, because I’m not running unless something is chasing me). If I feel good, that makes me believe I look good, even though I’m not a size 4. It’s a privilege that God saw fit to give you a body made in His image. Take care of it.
Finally, it might help to meditate on verses where God expresses His love toward you: Jeremiah 31:3, Zephaniah 3:17 and I John 4:18 are favorites of mine.
May we never buy into the lie that we have to look a certain way to be loved. We are loved, so we are beautiful.