Saturday, December 17, 2011

BEAUTIFUL BEYOND MEASURE

"The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
~1 Samuel 16:7

I would like to know when thinness became a measuring stick for beauty. To be honest, I get caught up in the mentality that I have to be close to the size I was in my twenties in order to be attractive. I would ask where this mindset was planted, but I already know. We are inundated ~ even brainwashed ~ by the constant input we receive from magazines, designers, catalogs, and the Hollywood-ites that slimness is synonymous with beauty.

I wonder...did Mary ever give thought to her youthful figure as she surrendered her life to God's plans? What about the Proverbs 31 woman? When I read about her, I find myself caught up in the real, tangible, true definition of beauty. But I don't notice a hint about her dress size, her waistline, or how much she weighed.

I think back to my childhood and remember my mom and her peers. All were beautiful, vivacious women ~ but I don't think any were smaller than a size ten. They weren't obsessed with trying to fit into the same jeans their daughters wore. When did this change? And how were we women so easily swayed? I can't think of one of my friends who isn't constantly aware of the size she thinks she should be. We eat less, exercise a lot more, and stress over another inch that has appeared over the past year. Of course our health should be a top priority. But are we promoting the path to good health by putting so much focus onto our weight and the size we wear? I think the opposite may be true. The yo-yo dieting, the overdoing it at the gym, and the stress we take on over our outward appearance may be more harmful in the long run. I have to say ~ I think my mom and her friends were happier people overall than women today. And that makes me sad...and a little angry.

Like I said, I enjoy being a size six. It's the weight I feel healthiest at. But I don't enjoy the pressure to maintain this size if I want to be perceived as attractive. Let's get real here. True beauty isn't measured on a scale or around a waist. True beauty is what radiates from within. It's doing a kindness that no one else will notice. It's meeting a need that involves a sacrifice. It's opening our doors and our hearts to those who are overlooked or forgotten. It's putting others before ourselves and doing the hard stuff because it's the right thing to do. It's lightening someone's load with a smile, a touch, a meal, or a message that we care.

This is true beauty. I may still get caught up in the "skinny" mentality at times, but deep down I know better. I know I can reject the lies about beauty that are fed to me, and strive to have real beauty that shines from within.

"Beauty..when you look into a woman's eyes and see what is in her heart."
~Nate Dircks

"The true beauty of a woman is reflected in her soul. It is in the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing of years...The beauty of a woman is not the clothes she wears, the figure she carries or the way she combs her hair."
~Audrey Hepburn
       

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