Tuesday, April 14, 2009

True Beauty

What a touchy subject, especially to women. I wonder if there are many of us who are not concerned with our appearance, and critical of it in some way. Women dye/perm/straighten their hair. They wish they were taller/shorter/slimmer. If they could, they would have less freckles/wrinkles/age spots. In fact, some women get so concerned about their appearance that they permanently alter it through plastic surgery.

Last week, as I went through my closet, I got a little discouraged when I realized how much smaller some of my clothes were then the ones I am currently wearing. These clothes are not old, they are ones I wore just a couple of years ago. But it seems that being pregnant with two girls right in a row changed my shape in a way I don't much appreciate, and my body just seems to want to fight me on this issue. I am somewhat hoping for a boy pregnancy next (I've always found them much more slimming).

I do not believe that there is a certain ideal of beauty that we should strive to attain. I believe that God created all people to look different from one another, and that they are special and beautiful in their own way. Hence, there is no perfect height, or eye/hair color, or age, or weight.

Judging people merely based on their outward appearance is a sad indication of what our society thinks of as beautiful. The Bible only ever emphasizes inner beauty. Yet, our society and especially single young people sometimes seem to be overly concerned with dating/marrying someone with certain looks or athletic capabilities, as if that were some kind of indication as to what kind of a person they are. Appearance, it seems, is viewed as an outside manifestation of character and inner beauty. But really, unless someone is a total slob or morbidly obese, it isn't.

There is no point in having an outward appearance that is considered by the world "beautiful", but that serves no practical purpose. God's purpose for women is to "marry, bear children, guide the house". A girl may look pretty but be a total airhead who doesn't know how to cook a decent and healthy meal or do any housework. Raising children can be gross and dirty. They throw up, they soil their diapers, they smear food on every conceivable surface. Giving birth in my eyes is beautiful, but it's a far cry from what Hollywood would label as such. I have known several women who were so vain about looking perfectly put-together during childbirth that they got shot up with drugs and applied their makeup throughout labor. They did, in fact, look pretty and dolled up in those right-after-birth pictures, but there's no denying that they also looked high as a kite, and that's not to mention the effects of the drugs on the baby.

I am not impressed by women who can run a marathon or compete in a professional team, but I think any woman who has given birth without pain medication is admirable. The girl who gets up early to hit the gym before going off to work or college lives a sad life, but a mom who gets up early to nurse a baby and then fix breakfast for the rest of the family is beautiful no matter what her hair, makeup, or figure looks like.

What our society considers "beautiful" is not practical. It is only intended for viewing, not using. Kids don't want a "pretty" mom, they want a loving mom that can take care of them. All kids think their mom is beautiful, because they have no concept of outward appearance, only the inner (wo)man. The sweetest compliments I ever get are those from my three sons, because they are so heartfelt and genuine.

People who look for beauty in the outward appearance are consumed with self. How good will a pretty girl/boy by their side make them look. Inner beauty, on the other hand, serves a purpose other than vanity. It serves others.

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. - Proverbs 31:30


  1. You said it all. True, true, true.

  2. kids may not want a pretty mom but I know they would love a healthy one that will be around for them for a long time, so moms or women that go to the gym or work out to stay healthy to me is a good thing.
    I work out to keep my heart healthy, to keep my bones strong, to keep my mind in shape too. I want to be there and watch my kids through all stages of their life.
    It is not a matter of striving to look like hollywood or be a size 2, it is a matter of being healthy.

    You are right, your true beauty is on the inside. Keeping your body healthy is not sad but admirable to me

  3. Oh, Zsuzsanna, this post hits me right in the heart!!

    I am a 53 year old mother of six, grandmother of 3 beautiful granddaughters (soon to be four- we just found out that daughter number three is pregnant, due on October 30!!!). Praise God!!

    Many years ago, (perhaps 33. 34 ...I don't exactly remember the year!), a dear friend stopped over at my house and innocently asked me if I had been painting...she saw white "streaks" in my hair.

    That innocent question hit me hard. I was a "golden blond" child, but thru high school, my hair got somewhat darker. By age 22 or so I was what you could call a very dark dishwater blond.

    At age 22-ish, there was no way I wanted to be gray-haired. Since then, I have had my hair highlighted with the "golden blond" hue that I had as a child

    My husband, children, and grandchildren love me for me, for who I am, not for what I look like. (I also carry a few extra pounds, primarily because I LOVE to cook! And not necessarily the low fat, healthiest recipes! ;-

    I am thinking right now about the money that I have spent on my "hair", and feeling bad....

    I think I need to go pray about this.

    Blessings to your family!


  4. All true. My husband and I get a lot comments on how well behaved our son is. But I never get comments on how I look. People just don't seem to notice that about me . (Probably good for them; LOL) But seriously it dosen't matter how you look . You should maintain good health of course and not be a slob ,but being a good wife and mother is what matters to God and your family and not being a size 2.
    In the end my husband loves me for me.

  5. I agree with you about true beauty being on the inside. That's absolutely true. I also agree with Kris, that there are health reasons to work out. Not everyone who works out does so for vanity. I want to be here for a long time for my family, and on the occasions that I work out, it has nothing to do with looks. I actually try to GAIN weight, as the health problems I've had have made me lose a lot of weight.

    I work out for the same reasons Kris does. I also work out to strengthen my neck muscles in the hope of helping to deal with chronic pain I have.

    I totally understand the point you were trying to make, I just feel that you were implying that anyone who works out is vain for doing so.

  6. "what our society views as beautiful is not practical, it is only intended for viewing not using"

    You got that right:) I mean if a woman has kids her body will change. even if she looses all the weight, the shape will be different unless she spends hours and hours at the gym each day. And who wants to be childless??

  7. Amen!

    What evidence do you have that boy pregnancies are more slimming? It seems to me that pregnancy is pregnancy; this is the first I've heard of this.

    I know you were referring to working out in terms of working out for vanity's sake. Aside from health reasons, there are some women who enjoy physical activities. Some women love to go for a run; for me it's swimming. It clears my mind and gets my blood pumping!

  8. Great post.

    It frustrates me the women who incessantly go on and on about their weight, and calling being what the world considers overweight a "sin". I already have people pressuring me to lose weight even though I'm pregnant! (I'm actually not big at all lol).

    About birthing babies...I agree...I actually home birth and have had two wonderful experiences so far and am planning a home birth for baby #3 (3rd baby in two years).

  9. Wonderful post. So true. I struggle all the time with being satisfied with my appearance and this was encouraging to me. Being a Godly wife and mother is truly what makes a woman beautiful!! Thanks.

  10. There is nothing wrong with working out in a gym, or having a job, or attending college. I can see nothing sad about a girl who does one or all of those activities.

    I don't think it makes any difference whether it is a girl or a boy pregnancy. More likely, it is age. As we get older, our metabolism slows down and it is harder to keep off the pounds.

  11. Yesterday I was called ma'am for the first time. That didn't make me too thrilled lol. My husbands also been pointing out the fact that I'm getting "a lot" of white hair in my temples. But, hey, my father had all grey/white hair in his 20's so I guess I was just lucky enough to follow in his footsteps. I'm only 25. It makes me different and reminds me of someone I miss and love so it's okay with me :)

  12. I think the only form of 'useful' and 'biblical' beauty (outwards) is that women are to dress themselves modestly and take a little care of their appearance. (i.e. not hide themselves in frumpy, stained clothes and walk around with their hair uncombed)

    And you're right, that has absolutely NOTHING to do with being a size (what is it nowadays?) 0..

    Greetings from the netherlands!

  13. I think being a stay at home mom is fine and commendable, but there is no reason to deride others for doing things that they enjoy outside of the home. Your narrow view of propriety is in direct conflict with our freedom in Christ.

  14. I agree with you about true beauty being within and having the imperishable qualities of a gentle and quiet spirit. However I also feel that you were perhaps writing this out of frustration with your current shape/weight?
    I am a homeschooling mother of four young boys and a I am marathon/endurance runner. I greatly admire woman who can endure much physically. My boys admire my determination and I do it to teach them that we are the masters of our physical body, we are not to be enslaved to it. I am constantly encouraging the woman in our church to be healthy and active, FOR your kids. Not everyone is going to be a size 2, but neither should everyone be a size 12. We need to be healthy, vital and active so that we can make the most of every opportunity the Lord puts before us.

  15. Being healthy and keeping yourself fit is not living a "sad life". You mention practicality vs beauty. Well, going to the gym and running marathons are perfectly practical activities. You talk about being a good and loving mom. Surely your children want their mother to take care of her own health. It's difficult to look after the wellbeing of others when you aren't capable of looking after yourself.

  16. Please don't assume that every woman who takes care of herself, refuses to have children, and focuses on other things has a sad life. I have a disability that is fairly inheritable, so having children who are likely to inherit it would be selfish and inconsiderate of me. I also believe that God gave me a mind, and to NOT use it would be a sin and a shame, hence I attend university. And any man who can't live with either is no man I wish to wed.

    Besides, Jesus did what his mother wanted with the miracle of water into wine, so there's nothing wrong with men taking orders from a woman!


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