[Original post date: March 2014]
I live with 5 girls. Five girls who have loved, encouraged, and brought more joy to my life in the past 6 months than some receive in a lifetime. These girls pray with me, laugh with me, and challenge me in my faith each and every day. I am oh so thankful for them. They are truly some of the most beautiful women; inside and out.
Last night, I dragged myself away from my cozy couch to drive down the road to the nearest tanning salon. I complained to my roommates for a solid 20 minutes before I actually put on some real pants and made my way into this never-ending winter. I “needed” to spend 7 minutes of my life trying to get a “base tan” before I leave for Florida with my church in a few days.
When I came home, one of my roommates was painting her nails and another was taking a bath. After a few minutes Pinterest-ing to find tips on how to moisturize “fake baked” skin (believe me, I know how ridiculous I sound), it hit me. Sometime during my 21 years of life, I started to believe that I was created to be pretty; that I HAD to be attractive to society.
I think we like to pretend we don’t care what we look like. The latest rage in girl world is to brag about how many days we can go without washing our hair before an entire can dry shampoo can’t hide the mess. We like to pretend we don’t spend time thinking about how we look. We like to pretend our skin is naturally this bronzed and we haven’t spent ungodly amounts of money trying to keep acne at bay. We like to convince other people that we really do just roll out of bed without thinking about how our hair looks or whether or not we can pull off the “effortlessly cute” look.
Maybe this isn’t a struggle in your life. Maybe you really don’t care what society says about appearance, but after living with 5 BEAUTIFUL, GODLY women for the past 6 months, I can confidently say that on some level, we believe we HAVE to be pretty.
Sometimes I feel like as a 21 year old woman in 2014, my sole purpose is to be attractive. Nearly every magazine displayed in the check-out line at Kroger contains one of the following words: “skinny,” “beautiful,” “makeup,” “workout,” “beauty.” With all of the make up “tips and tricks” flaunting a certain standard, I subconsciously started to believe that I’m not pretty and I have to do whatever it takes to get there.
This is FALSE. I was not created to be pretty.
Now don’t get me wrong, I consider myself pretty girly. I like to paint my nails and I enjoy putting together cute outfits. There’s nothing wrong with healthy hygiene and wanting to take care of yourself, but I think there’s a fine line between enjoying playing with makeup and feeling like you HAVE to wear makeup.
Ladies, we weren’t created to be pretty. We weren’t created to meet society’s standard of beauty. We weren’t created to shame ourselves into avoiding carbs and cupcakes. We weren’t created to follow Cosmo’s “Top 10 Beauty Tips.” We weren’t created to spend time trying to convince each other that we don’t care about how we look when secretly we are all well aware of how long we took (or wish we took) to get ready.
We WERE created to be in a fulfilling and intimate relationship with the Lord. We were created to know Him and to make Him known. We were made for freedom, joy, and security. We were made to love Him to and to tell the world of his overwhelming, relentless love for us. We were made to know His faithfulness. We were made to glorify Him with our words, bodies, hearts, souls, and minds. We were created for a much higher calling than whether or not we meet Hollywood’s standards of beauty.
My friends, you are loved, you are cherished, and you are beautiful. You weren’t created to be beautiful, you already ARE beautiful. You were created to know how deeply and irrevocably loved you are by our gracious and precious Daddy. My prayer for you is that we may confidently know our beauty; that we will lay down our tubes of mascara and pick up our Cross. That we will know Jesus and make Him known.