by Chris Shook and Megan Shook Alpha

 

“Fancy hairstyles don’t make you beautiful. Wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes doesn’t make you beautiful. Instead, your beauty comes from inside you. It is the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Beauty like this doesn’t fade away. God places great value on it.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIRV)

We are constantly told in our culture that beauty begins with us, that beauty is found in the clothes we wear, the makeup we put on, the shape of our bodies, the color of our hair, the muscle tone in our arms. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When we believe the lie that beauty begins with us, then we look for our reflections in the bathroom mirror. We become overly concerned with our outward appearance and not as concerned about the needs of others. The paradox is that, when we focus on outward appearance, we turn inward and become self-centered. But when we focus on inner beauty, we become outward focused and less selfish. Beauty doesn’t begin with us. Beauty begins with God. When you look for your sacred reflection in Christ’s eyes, you’ll find yourself looking in your mirror a lot less.

Beauty begins where self ends. When we stop focusing on ourselves, even for a second, we realize we aren’t the only people on the planet! When we get caught up in ourselves and how we look, our whole world hangs on whether we work out, eat healthy food, feel good, look good, or are at our ideal weight. We turn into I monsters. If we are not satisfied with ourselves, then we are more likely to be upset and feel our day is ruined. Think for a minute how truly selfish that sounds. When we starve ourselves, work out a lot, and focus on ourselves, we think we will look and feel better, but just the opposite occurs. This focus on self becomes self-destructive. We can get caught up in “How do I feel?” and “How do I look?” and “What is everyone thinking about me?” that in our heads the whole world revolves around us rather than God.  I’m not saying that we should totally ignore our appearance or that it’s horribly evil to fix our hair, wear jewelry, or put on a nice outfit. No, we just need to realize that none of this is going to make us beautiful or feed our souls. The answer to beauty is not outer appearance, because that’s not the source of beauty. Strangely enough, to become beautiful we do not start with ourselves. Beauty is much more than how we look on the outside. Real beauty is eternal and other focused. When we spend more time concentrating on other people’s difficulties than on our own, we will be truly beautiful.

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