Thoughts about beauty

Growing up in the church, I attended many girls retreats and conferences. Recently, I was reflecting on my experiences, and I noticed that most of these events centered around one thing: beauty.

This frustrates me.

At first, it was just for superficial reasons. I don’t care about fashion or similar things as much as most girls, and I struggle with a lot of other things besides just feeling valued or pretty. I was bothered by the fact that it seemed we had chosen to focus on one type of girl in our efforts to minister to all women. However, as I continued reflecting, my frustrations went from superficial to spiritual. Why did it bother me that we focus so much on beauty?

Am I saying that women shouldn’t feel beautiful, or that God doesn’t find each of us captivating? Absolutely not! In fact, there’s an entire book of the Bible devoted to expressing the way God views us: “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7)

What I am saying is this:

Women will never realize how beautiful they truly are until they understand how ugly they once were.

No matter how physically beautiful we are, we were once ugly. We were sinners, and our sin made us ugly.

But God loved us when we were ugly (Romans 5:6-8). He loved us so much that it made us beautiful: when he took our sin away, redeemed us, and made us his own.

The ugliness of our sin left him hanging on a cross — but he conquered death, rose from his grave and walked out three days later.

Was there ever a more beautiful sight than death being defeated?

When we make the journey to salvation simply about beauty and self-esteem, we deprive women of the life-changing power of the Gospel. Again, I’m not saying that beauty is bad. But as Christian women, we need to understand:

We are not just beautiful because God loves us; we are beautiful because God’s love changed us.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says we are new creations in Christ. Every trace of ugly is gone! Hebrews 10:16-17 says God doesn’t even remember that ugliness after Christ’s sacrifice. When Christ made us his own, he made us new — and that is most beautiful thing of all.

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