Being the Type of Woman the World Needs

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I’m about to tell you something you’ve heard from just about everyone in your life 100 different times. You heard it from your mom first, then your dad, then your friends and youth group leaders, then your grandmother and the preacher and your camp counselor. It comes from the Bible and is paraphrased and repeated often, especially to young women. It’s this: “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart ” (1 Sam. 16:7).

It’s telling how often I’ve blogged about beauty this year. A topic I avoided for a long time, I think because I was in denial about my shallow views of it. But the reality about me and my thoughts on beauty is that I turned 28 on Saturday and that 1 Samuel verse is just starting to sink in. That’s 28 years of outward appearance-focused living, folks. And let me tell you, if you don’t already know, it’s exhausting.

I had lunch last week with a wise friend and mentor. Among several other things, she mentioned this simple phrase, that God looks at the heart. And I walked away from lunch repeating those words to myself as if I had never heard them before. What does this mean for me, I thought, if God looks at the heart?

Beauty is incredibly subjective. What’s beautiful today was not beautiful in the 19th century and what will be beautiful 20 years from now is not beautiful today. And since God exists outside of time and He only looks at the heart anyways, this makes cultural beauty standards so very irrelevant. Ann Voskamp wrote a beautiful piece to her daughter about beauty that reminded me of so many important things:

“The world will say they will love you if you are beautiful —- but the truth is you are beautiful because you are loved.”

“The world has enough women who live a masked insecurity. It needs more women who live a brave vulnerability.”

“The world has enough women who know how to do their hair. It needs women who know how to do hard and holy things.”

Hard and holy things. I guess this would not include panicking when my jeans are a tad tighter than they were last week or examining my “love handles” for an incredible amount of time in the mirror or sizing up every other girl in the restaurant, thinking of what’s better about me than her and better about her than me. The world doesn’t need women like that, the woman I am most days.

The hard and holy things? Sure, they are acts of service and loving others and restraining judgment. But I think the hardest holy thing is within us. It’s how we speak to ourselves and how we view ourselves. It’s choosing to pay more attention to your own heart and deciding that beauty isn’t something you’re attaining but rather, that it is innate. That it is already in you and your job while here is to decide which beauty you will project on this earth, your own or His.

And you will choose your own often. You will choose it when the guy passes you up and you say it is because–the worst phrase humans ever made up–“he is out your league.” You will choose it when you go to the pool this summer and spend more time looking at your reflection in the water than actually enjoying the water. You will choose it when you beat yourself up for never being able to lose those last ten pounds. It is a process and it is a journey and this why everyone in your life has told you at least 100 times that “the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  And this is why we won’t stop reminding each other of it.

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9 thoughts on “Being the Type of Woman the World Needs

  1. Beautiful, important words! It’s quite a paradox, but since I feel fully loved by God, I’m not always concerned about how I look and, in the same time, feel more beautiful and “in peace” with my looks than ever. And as I don’t have to “check” on myself all the time, I’m more open, sensible to and interested in others and how they feel. Much better way of living – but I had to get more than forty to get it :-) So congrats to your way, and be blessed!

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  2. I am also 28 and getting closer to 30 is a scary thing… lol.
    Something I have been repeating in my head here recently is “what if you are more beautiful than you think” ?
    It really makes you think……
    Here’s a post that some girls/women actually do just for the feeling that makes them think they are pretty or worthy. But they have to believe it deep inside for themselves and no man can give them that assurance only God.

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  3. Ha. I’m 28 too. This is just finally “starting” to sink in. I have a long way to go, but I think I’m learning this better, because I am aging. I have had 3 kids and even though they are wonderful, I have aged much from 9+ years of sleepless nights. I feel like I’m at a point where I can not keep up. There is no way in the world I will ever be able to compete now. With 18 year olds, with even maybe ladies of my own age or older who spend tons of time and money on themselves. After awhile of feeling defeated that’s when the message you wrote about started to sink in. That’s when joy came and I realized my life isn’t about me anyway. It’s about giving God glory and worshipping Him. That is the most beautiful thing in the world. I only pray my husband will stay interested in me. I’m learning though, now in my 11th year of marriage, that a sincere, faithful, and loving heart is beautiful to a husband. That he will trust in her and delight in her (Prov. 31).

    I also feel, on the flip side, it’s important to not let yourself go. My husband is very visual. I’m far from perfect or even being able to fake perfect…far from it, but every once in awhile I will put on a full face of makeup and style my hair and show him that side of me. Cuz he needs to see it…in the midst of all the visual aids in the world. Right? I’m conflicted about this, but that’d how I feel right now. Thoughts?

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