A post on beauty and vanity as something more than a reason to be pitied or a Bible study topic.
Originally published: 2/24/17
You’re beautiful. (Or handsome – girls aren’t the only ones who struggle with their looks) The problem is, it can be hard for you to see that. You know that one friend of yours is prettier and that other one wears nicer clothes. So, if you’re not up to that standard yet, how could you even consider yourself beautiful?
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:30
We’ve all heard the verse. Every time the topic of beauty comes up, someone reminds us that it isn’t all there is to this life. Of course we know that. So why are we still so concerned with our looks?
I’m writing this for me as much as anybody else because this is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I envy the girl that hasn’t. Why shouldn’t I do what I can to become prettier? It would make me feel better and I want to look good to the people around me.
Hm. I want to look good to the people around me.
Since when has that been the right reason to do anything? We all know this, too. Don’t change yourself for other people. But we still want to.
If we know all these things, why do we still want so badly to be beautiful (or at least reach the point where we consider ourselves beautiful)? We know it’s deceitful and vain and we know that we shouldn’t be trying to impress other people with our looks. But we still want to.
It all comes down to sin. (Doesn’t everything?)
Vanity is not okay. Vanity is nothing more than pride – it’s caring about what other people think about our looks. In most cases, vanity is also dissatisfaction with the bodies God’s given us. We wish we had bigger eyes, clearer skin, straight hair. Then we would be pretty enough.
I was recently given a prayer journal and told to write in it every day. It’s helping me to grow in my prayer life and, I think, my relationship with God. Which means it’s made me realize some things about myself that I’m not too happy about. One of those is my vanity. I wrote out a prayer asking God to take it from me. I really wanted it to just disappear. Then about a week later (when my pride hadn’t just vanished), I wrote out a different prayer. This was one of confession.
Because vanity is a sin, we can’t just act like it’s only a problem common to teenage girls and it’s not really a big deal or just something we should be pitied for. It is a big deal. We are telling God that we are not satisfied with the bodies he lovingly crafted for us; that we would rather humans think us beautiful than our Maker. And that’s wrong.
At the same time though, vanity doesn’t just disappear into thin air, never to be seen again. We can want it to, but it’s a process. We don’t grow all at once.
So while we’re all growing together, let’s all remember together that we are beautiful in God’s eyes. Cheesy? Maybe. But you know it’s true. And you know that charm is deceitful and you know you don’t have to make yourself look different for other people. Our bodies are for honoring God, not gaining attention.
Mirror mirror, mirror on the wall
Telling those lies, pointing out your flaws
That isn’t who you are, that isn’t who you are.
It might be hard to hear but let me tell you dear
If you could see what I could see I know you would believe
That isn’t who you are, there’s more to who you are!
…I see you dressed in white, every wrong made right.
I see a rose in bloom at the sight of you, oh so priceless!
Irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable,
Darling it’s beautiful. I see it all in you
Oh so priceless!
– “Priceless” For King and Country
(and no spoilers – I haven’t seen the movie yet 🙂 )
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
See you later, beautiful.