EditI decided to write a blog post on beauty because, in my opinion, this topic is mentioned more and more in society, while also getting further and further from the truth of what it is. When I sat down to write this entry, just for fun, I googled the word beauty. I was curious as to what links would come up. First, were articles on makeup and hair. Second, we have clothing trends. Next came body image. And finally, we have…you guessed it…Beauty and the Beast! 🙂
When looking up the definition of, Beautiful, this is what I found. Beautiful-very attractive. Very pleasant. Very kind. (cambridgedictionary.com) So there it is. The definition is speaking in terms relating to inner beauty, whereas society portrays beauty as what is externally present. Something I found interesting is that all of the definitions I found, had to do with female descriptions. As if men cannot be beautiful!
My mother taught me, from a young age, what true beauty is. She was beauty, in its entirety. Her physical beauty was present, but above all, she is remembered by most for her TRUE beauty…her soul. That woman radiated beauty to the world. She was an icon of beauty!
As I began my time here, in India, I felt uncomfortable around some of the more severely disabled children. I have nannied for children with disabilities, but that was only one child. Here I am loving so many more children than one, and they range in their disabilities. I asked myself, “Is four months enough time to be comfortable around these children?” Then, I couldn’t help but realize I was only seeing them from the outside. I did not look at their souls, as I wrote about in my previous post, How are we called to love.
I was surprised, when looking at lyrics of pop songs, just how many had the desire of true beauty in them. Even when some are hidden within other words. One Direction, has a song titled, What makes you beautiful. This is one popular song I found with aligning focuses. Here are some lyrics from that song…
You’re insecure, don’t know what for, you’re turning heads when you walk through the door, Don’t need makeup, to cover up, Being the way you are is enough! Everyone else in the room can see it, everyone else but you. …
Growing up, I struggled with self image issues. In all honesty, I still do. Society plays a huge role in this problem for so many. Everywhere we look, we are surrounded by beautiful people. Thin. Big chest/rear. Seductive in mannerisms and looks. Faces overdone with makeup, to the point that if a before and after picture were posted, you would struggle to recognize the made up person. All of these are only false beauty. Look at this ad campaign done by Dove, when you have time.
For so long, I had been insecure in my outer image. I saw only fat, filth, weariness, pain and wounds that go, oh so deep. I never felt attractive. I felt only the opposite of what I was seeing portrayed as, beautiful. When I entered religious life, I was blessed to have the time and ability to really see myself. I was secluded from the images of the world. The only definition of beauty I had access to was what I remembered from my mom, and that of the Bridegroom. The Lover of souls. Finally, the Lord began to heal my broken image.
As I entered into this journey of self exploration, many demons were confronted. When I left religious life, I promised myself I would remember who I was. I am a beautiful child of God’s. I am made in His image. Society would have no claim to my heart. I wish I could say I stuck to that promise…
When I got to India, beauty again became a theme. I had been called out into the deep, the unknown, where the Lord would have open access to my heart. My two months, thus far, I have entered deeper into BELIEVING I am beautiful. I have begun to see more through the lense of Christ. I am withdrawing further and further from society’s view on beauty.
As I began working with the children here, I started to realize that they are some of the most beautiful people I have ever met. No longer do I see their “disability.” No, I see a childlike soul, aching to share with me what it really means to be beautiful.
This past week, I was taking photos with some of the teenager/young adult women I work with. They started to stack hands and I happened to capture this moment. Since then, I have reflected on the many stories contained in that one still shot. What wounds have those souls endured? What insecurities do they keep hidden within? How different each hand is; in how it is shaped, how it shows love, etc. Yet, there is one common factor. Each of these hands is an image of the Father’s love. Each hand is beautiful.
The song from MercyMe, Beautiful, has always been a go to when I am struggling to see any beauty in myself. Here are the lyrics,
Days will come when you don’t have the strength, when all you hear is, ” you’re not worth anything,” Wondering if you ever could be loved. and if they saw you’re heart, they’d see too much.
You’re beautiful. (x’s 2) You’re made for so much more than all of this. You’re beautiful. (x’s 2) You are treasured. You are sacred. You are His. You’re beaitiful.
Praying that you have the heart to fight. ‘Cause you’re more than what is hurting you tonight. For all the lies you’ve held in you so long, they are nothing in the shadow of the Cross.
You’re beautiful refrain.
Before you ever took a breath. Long before the world began. Of all the wonders He possessed, there was none more precious. Of all the earth and skies above, You’re the one He madly loves, enough to die.
You’re beautiful refrain.
When I need to refocus on true beauty, I close my eyes and let Him sing me this song. Never allow yourself to believe you are not precious, you’re not beautiful. We are His!
ps. sorry about the photos. I am struggling to upload smaller images via my kindle.