In a world where women are encouraged and advertised to filter, contour and cosmetically alter their appearances - it's hard to match up to the standards of beauty that we're being presented.
Now, I'm not exactly the poster child for 'natural beauty'. Okay, so I don't wear make up but I constantly dye my hair and I have multiple tattoos and body piercings. But I don't believe that any of these things take away from my natural beauty.
I'm not talking about beauty as the world defines it. And I'm not even talking about beauty as you may define it. Because I believe that what we believe about beauty leads to what we idolise. Like it or not, we all worship something - whether we believe in God or not!!
When I believed that beauty was found in the exterior, I spent years idolising different models. Some times I would convince myself I had learnt something new about beauty, because the models were less Fashion Week and more 'alternative' - but the belief system was the same. Their physical appearance gave them a value, that I didn't have. I would use their images as fitspo and shame myself if my body didn't shape up. I believed that they were beautiful and I would never measure up.
You may believe someone's beauty (and value) can be found in their success, or maybe their financial incomings. It could be anything from career, talents or even in the way they layout their Instagram feed. But what you believe about what beauty is - will decide how these things impact what you choose to do with your life.
I believed beauty was found in a skinny physique and so chose to spend less time eating and more time working out. And I ended up with an eating-disorder for over ten years.
But since I chose to begin my Christian walk as an adult, God has been guiding me into a healthier lifestyle - physically and mentally. When I first read today's verse I understood that physical beauty fades (we're not all immortal teenagers like Edward and Bella) but it's taken me a long time to understand the value of these words. Proverbs 31:30 (MSG) says this,
'Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.'
There is a beauty within you that cannot be altered by the world we live in. It cannot be diminished by the beauty standards set by the media. It cannot be fully portrayed by an Instagram feed and it cannot be stolen by another person. It is the 'Fear of God' which means your reverence or understanding of Him - this is your most natural beauty.
If you want a beauty that cannot be stolen - learn more about Him. Learn about His gentleness, His creativity, His wonder, His strength and worship Him.
In Him, we find our true identity and value. But we also find the source of beauty. And when we begin to learn who beauty is, it changes our perspective on what we spend our time trying to attain - whether it's perfect symmetry, money, fame or a seamless 3x3 Instagram feed.
In Ecclesiasties 1:1 (AMP) it explains it really simply by saying this,
“Vanity of vanities! All [that is done without God’s guidance] is vanity [futile, meaningless—a wisp of smoke, a vapor that vanishes, merely chasing the wind].”