I grew up with a love-hate relationship concerning the concept of beauty.
I loved being called beautiful. I hated what it took to feel beautiful.
My idea of beauty was simplistic, incomplete and damaging. Because beauty to me meant being physically attractive. To add insult to injury, I learned physical beauty contained within it a power that could be used to medicate the pain of never “feeling beautiful.”
Physical beauty was very important to me. To look good was to feel secure and happy. When compliments came my way, something in me would take a deep sigh and I would feel more complete.
At least for that day.
The time and money I’ve spent on trying to feel beautiful thus far in my life could have supported an impoverished village…I’m quite sure of it.
And before you misunderstand my intent for sharing my story with beauty, I assure you I see nothing damaging in a desire for beauty.
In fact, I believe it was built into our DNA… but like all perfect attributes beauty was perverted with one bite of the famous Garden of Eden apple.
One bite of curiousty took the gift of beauty and attempted to make it one-dimensional.
But beauty was never meant to be one-dimensional.
Beauty has always been multifaceted and more powerful than the perverted power we’ve given it.
In fact, we were created to behold beauty. Even Satan himself was once beautiful to behold;
“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor….”
Ezekiel 28 has long been interpreted as a chapter portraying the fall of Satan from Heaven. “You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God….”
When God created the world He called it good. When God created humans He called them very good.
Good and very good IS the definition of true beauty, wrapped in the wisdom of God... because what God creates is good and therefore, beautiful.
Our beauty is found in the core of who we are as God’s creation…and what He creates, He values.
After the Fall, we did not become less valuable to God, however, our goodness became tainted with selfish desires.
The Fall brought with it a fog that settled over our vision and a doubt that dripped its way into our veins making us believe we are just fine independent of God…and at same time, battling a despair that no drug could eradicate.
After the Fall, questions about our worth and purpose became a dilemma. Shame would cause us to run away from God instead of to Him and beauty inspired a lust that left no room for love.
It was not until Jesus shed His blood that the fog would be lifted and beauty would once again be fully realized in the goodness of Jesus in us. That His very life sacrificed to give us His life would contain a beauty that transcends our senses and our understanding…because it’s spiritual.
And spiritual truths are only understood by the Spirit.
“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
King David asked the Lord and sought out the gift of beholding the beauty of Jesus. (Psalms 27:4)
He knew that beholding the beauty of the most beautiful One would give him eyes to see the goodness of God…the goodness of God in making His creation good and beautiful. The very thing the enemy is relentless to make us question today.
A few days ago my granddaughter asked me, “How do I look, Yaya?” Anger about how our culture perpetuates one-dimensional beauty swept across my emotions but I took it as an opportunity to tell her “You are beautiful. God made you good and beautiful.” And though she will struggle to believe it, I will keep speaking those words to her even as I keep telling her about the story of Creation, the Fall and the Restoration that Jesus came to give us as our Lord and Savior. I will keep telling her she is loved, valued and was created with great purpose. I will keep telling her these truths as sure foundation of who she is because they are sure to be tried and tested in our perverted culture of lust, greed and selfishness.
As I step beside my daughters and help teach my granddaughters about true beauty, they will not always “get it” or understand it…they may question it, they may not even believe it at times, but I am not relying on my words or my experiences to convince their heart. I am relying on the same Spirit to do in them, what He did in me. I am placing my faith in Jesus and His ability to open their eyes to His beauty and His worth…in this truth, they will never question theirs…
BECAUSE the most Worthy One of all the ages, who created them, also died for them because He loves them and calls them beautiful.
If you are struggling to see your beauty, look on Jesus. He is the definition of beauty because He is Love incarnate. And there is nothing more beautiful than the kind of LOVE Jesus showed us on the Cross and taught us through His resurrection. His life shows us multifaceted beauty that transcends our sight and heals our longing soul.