1 Peter 3:3-4 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.
The women’s Bible study that I lead on Monday evenings is working through Beth Moore’s Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman. Such a challenging study. Such a needed study for today’s women who are constantly bombarded with the message of “you are not enough”. We are constantly being told that we need to be thinner, blonder, taller, richer, healthier, fashionable, workout more, be more accomplished, and more educated.
One point that Beth Moore brings up that has really stuck with me is this:
It’s tough being a woman in a world where beauty is a treatment.
In 2012, Americans spent $11 BILLION on cosmetic surgery. Now, I’m not talking about reconstructive surgery due to catastrophic incidents that cause physical injuries or deformities like breast cancer, burn victims or car accidents. I’m talking about elective surgeries. These include 13 million cosmetic procedures like facelifts, 286,000 breast augmentations, and 6.1 MILLION Botox injections. Americans also spend $2.6 BILLION per year on gym memberships. Women in America spend $426 BILLION on cosmetics every year.
Now before you think that I am completely against these types of things; let me set you straight. I am not giving up my make up, facial creams, gym membership, my collection of shoes, my hair coloring appointments or my Spanx. I feel no conviction or guilt about using them nor do I intend to.
But I will declare this: these outward trappings are not who I am.
I don’t place MY worth in them. They don’t define who I am. Christ is my identity. Redeemed daughter of the King is my status. My worth is found in the ultimate price that Christ paid.
Peter wasn’t against those things either. He was basically saying, “Ladies, you are beautiful from the inside out. Being so elaborate in your dress, hairstyles and jewelry is distracting from who you really are. The work that Christ is doing in you through your words, your countenance and your actions is what God values.”
I must admit that this is something that I have to remind myself of often. I have to fight my insecure self. That little nagging voice that says, “You should be thinner. You have some wrinkles. You have cellulite (hence the Spanx). You’re not as together as you should be. Should you be wearing that?” Oh, that voice. It sounds just like me! I know that I am not alone in this struggle.
Our beauty will fade. Our breasts cease to be pert and slide sideways into our armpits when we lay down. (You know exactly what I’m talking about!) Our hair will become less shiny and full. Our eyes will need glasses. Our thighs might look like a relief map. Our hands and feet may have more spots than a leopard.
All these things can happen. And probably will. Maybe they have already started to happen. Let me remind you of Psalm 45: 11 Let the King be enthralled by your beauty.
The Lord is enthralled with your beauty! He loves you body, mind and soul. You are his beloved daughter. You are enough.
If all we have is our outward beauty; then we are beggars indeed.
Proverbs 31:25a, 30. She is clothed with strength and dignity….Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.