This confession may make me seem a little bit shallow, but I’ll admit it: it has always been important to me for my husband to think I’m attractive. I love when he looks at me, and likes what he sees, and tells me. After 33 years of marriage, though, I know he’s seen plenty of bad and ugly to go along with the good. I have gone to some pretty dumb lengths to “hide the ugly” from him, and even more so recently because it seems that the older I grow, the less control I have over my appearance. My hair is having a midlife crisis and has decided it wants to be both curly and a different color. My dad’s crazy eyebrows are trying to reincarnate on my forehead, and I have become one of those flush-faced ladies in the freezing church auditorium, desperately fanning with a handful of attendance cards. There’s more, but I’ll spare you those embarrassing details!
But recently, too recently, I realized something. Annoyed by something insignificant one day, I caught a glimpse of my face in a mirror. It exposed a very unattractive me, the me that John sees and knows more than anyone else, and it turned a mirror on my soul. That mirror revealed that while I may have hidden some of my external ugly from him, I wasn’t making much of an attempt to conceal (or eliminate) my internal ugliness, and that particular ugly is 100% within my control. I realized that the effort to camouflage my physical flaws was absurdly inconsistent with what I know to be truly attractive to my husband, and to my God. I saw that it was impossible to be attractive when I am pouting, or unforgiving, or being selfish, or a myriad of other conspicuously ugly attitudes. This is true of my behavior before my friends and family—and the world, as well. It seems that it isn’t just the mouth that “speaks out of that which fills the heart,” (Matt. 12:34) but the face does, as well.
Have some of you faced this same problem? I think it can happen if we are more influenced by the world than we are by His Word. We have to remember that what is valuable to God is so different than what we often value. He considers our heart, not our appearance (1 Sam. 16:7). Our attempts to improve our appearance (or, for that matter, our worldly position…or intelligence…or possessions) is not important to Him, but an inner heart that is devoted to Him, with humility and modesty reflecting that devotion, is of great value to Him (and will soften a husband’s heart, 1 Pet. 3:1-4). Much of Matthew 6 is about hypocrites who give, pray, and fast so that they will be noticed by others. Being noticed was their treasure, and “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” (Matt. 6:21). What I’ve come to understand, though I’m still working to remember, is that when my heart belongs to God, I’ll truly want my actions and attitude to reflect His glory, not mine.
The honest truth is that every single one of us can be genuinely beautiful when we come to the realization that there is no makeup so magnificent nor any gold so brilliant that outshines or outlasts the attraction of a genuinely kind, respectful, compassionate, forgiving woman whose soul has been saturated by the word of God. Indeed, the most beautiful women I know may not be beautiful at all in the worldly sense. But they are difficult to see with worldly eyes—because their mind is set on things above, not on earthly things, and they are hidden in Him. That is genuine beauty: the kind that my husband will see, but more importantly, the beauty that my God sees, and loves.
by Carla Moore
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