Sequins, jewels, high heels, bowties and tuxedos walked across the red carpet at the Oscars Sunday evening. It was a night to celebrate the film industry and the talent who make the stories come to life. It was also a night that fuels the flame of pressure to be beautiful on the outside.
Today’s to-do list for outer beauty is quite overwhelming. We must sleep eight hours, drink 64 ounces of water, eat a healthy diet with organic vegetables and fruit, exercise for 30 minutes, get 10,000 steps, eat one serving of dark chocolate and drink two cups of coffee. We start an anti-aging skincare program in our mid-twenties. We use online fashion consultants who ship the perfect outfits to our front door. Whew! I’m exhausted!
We wrestle with our own dislikes about our outer beauty. One of my dislikes for many years was my fair, freckly skin. I wanted the Hawaiian Tropic tan. Every summer, I drowned my fair, freckly skin in baby oil. Every winter, I had an unlimited pass at the tanning bed. No amount of baby oil or tanning minutes gave me the beautiful tan. My fair, freckly skin burned and burned and burned. Now, I am a three time skin cancer survivor. The outer beauty of tan was not worth it. I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin. (No pun intended.)
Outer beauty is important, but it should not consume us. The beauty in life is not defined by a wrinkle count, foundation shade or clothing size. True beauty is defined by your spirit. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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” (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV).
A gentle and quiet spirit is true beauty. A gentle spirit is kind, slow to anger, compassionate, sympathetic, and sweet-tempered. A quiet spirit is peaceful, even tempered, untroubled and calm. Our spirit builds the inner beauty that we demonstrate to others through our actions and our words.
What image of true beauty are you sharing with others today? Are your thoughts and words positive, optimistic, uplifting, loving and full of grace? Are your actions selfless, sacrificial, genuine, generous and loving? Do you live a life that follows the Word of God and strives to make the world a better place through love and serving others?
No matter how hard we try, outer beauty fades with age. Our inner beauty remains; it never fades. People do judge by outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV). His judgment is the only one that really matters!
Define, embrace and love your inner beauty! Define, embrace and love the inner beauty of each other!