There I was in the Kohl’s dressing room, standing in front of the mirror and crying. I’m not generally a really superficial person when it comes to appearances, but I’m like every other woman in the world: I like to look pretty. And at that moment in time, I didn’t think I did. Not even a little bit.
Yes, I cried. Maybe that’s lame, but I dare say if you’re a girl around my age, you’ve had the same experience. You’ve tried on what seems like every article of clothing in the juniors department, some in the largest sizes they have, and none of it fits you right. Everything seems too tight, and all you can see are your wide hips or the stomach that you wish was smaller. You feel utterly hopeless. You’ll never look like the girl smiling down at you from the poster on the mirror, the girl who’s skinny, perfectly proportioned, and basking in her glamorous self-confidence. So, if you’re anything at all like me, you break down and cry.
Here’s the catch—there’s nothing actually wrong with how I look. I’m a healthy person. I am—dare I say it—kind of pretty. However, I’m not the body type that the department stores are telling me I have to be. I will never, ever be a stick without a serious eating disorder. I’m just not built that way naturally. The department stores, however, don’t care. All I’m left with is disappointment in the form of a sweater that looks great on a poster child, but not on me. So what do I do about it?
Now, I’m going to read your mind.
“I know, I know. Inner beauty is more important than outer beauty. I’ve heard this a thousand times. Whatever.” Right? But it’s easy for us to forget, isn’t it? When you’re standing in front of a mirror feeling like a swamp creature, you lose sight of the fact that God couldn’t care less what you look like, but that’s the truth. God couldn’t care less what you look like. He cares that you’re His.
Take a look at Psalm 45:10ff. The Psalmist begins his song with praise to the King himself, God, but a shift comes when he begins to talk about the queen. The queen represents those who follow God. This is us, girls. He writes, “Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house. Then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him” (10-11 NASB). This is almost astonishingly applicable in our situation, isn’t it? Forget your people. Forget the world! Why do we focus on the world’s standards of beauty when there’s so much more for us to be focused on? When we do focus on God, and HIS standards of beauty, He will desire our beauty. I’m a New American Standard girl, but I love how the New International Version translates this—“Let the king be enthralled by your beauty.” When God sees a woman following Him, He is utterly captivated by her. Wow. What a thought!
So what are God’s standards of beauty? I could direct you to Proverbs 31 or 1 Peter 3:3-4, but I dare say if you grew up in the church you’ve heard these Scriptures before. (Of course, all Scripture is inspired by God, so those are still worth looking up!) So, for the sake of a different take on things, we’re going to take a look at Revelation 19:7b-8, which describes the marriage of the Lamb (Jesus) to His bride (the church). The passage reads, “The marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to hear to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” So how do we become a beautiful bride for the Lamb of God? Be ready, through following His plan of salvation. Be righteous, by keeping His commandments. It’s cliché, but it’s true: actions, rather than appearance, determine our true beauty in the eyes of God.
Who cares how I look in the sweater?
This article was originally published in Think Magazine by Focus Press.Used with permission of the author.
Editor’s note: This month, Think is offering a FREE digital copy of the April edition of the magazine. This month is on the topic of Islam and they’d like to spread the word about what this religion is really all about. You can help by downloading your copy and encouraging your friends to do so also. Just go to www.focuspress.org and click on the magazine cover to download.
By Melissa Hite
Melissa (age 16) attends Bear Valley church of Christ with her parents, Michaeland Lynn, and her little brother, Matthew. Her goals include continually growing closer to God and eventually becoming a writer and a mom. On her blog, Christ Crossed My Heart, you can find other poignant, well-written posts.