I remember holding my infant daughter one day and being struck with a realization about beauty. Although I believed I looked like “death warmed over” in my sweat pants, greasy hair and smeared make-up, her eyes reflected a different woman. She looked up at me as though I was the most beautiful creature she’d ever seen. As her little eyes locked on mine they were full of love and admiration. It didn’t matter how ugly I thought myself to be at that moment, she saw me as perfectly beautiful.
Recently, that same daughter looked at me as I again sported my sweat pants and smeared make-up and she said, “Mom, are you even going to try to look pretty today?”
I was in the middle of cleaning a bathroom and so I smiled back and said, “No honey. No, I’m not.” As she shrugged and walked away I laughed to myself. Oh, how quickly we women learn. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then us beholders must have some pretty tough standards. And we learn them young.
The truth is, our Creator has some pretty tough standards too. He desires– and even commands– us to be holy, above reproach, to bear the good fruits of patience, kindness and self-control. And what’s more, if we are His children, He even calls us “saints.” Wow. Can I ever live up to that? Sometimes when I hold myself up to those standards I feel pretty ugly.
However, I know the Truth. And thankfully, the Truth looks at my heart.
As the Lord told Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7:
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
It’s like my baby daughter’s eyes. No matter how ugly I may feel, my Heavenly Father’s eyes are able to see the beauty in my heart. And what’s more, he put that beauty there and is able to help me as I strive to become more beautiful in Him.
I’ve found that as I hold myself to the standards of this world I can feel ugly, defeated, and lonely. At times I’ve even felt like no one even cares to see me at all.
Am I going to choose to believe that?
God’s Word paints a different picture about beauty. Being beautiful in God’s eyes means I believe what He tells me about who I am.
God’s Word is full of truths that tell me I am His child (John 1:12), that I am complete in Him (Colossians 2:10), that I have been given the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 2:7), that I can find grace and mercy when I need it (Hebrews 4:16). It even reminds me that I may approach the throne of grace itself… with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12)!
The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter how I “look” to others. What matters is who I am in Christ.
And when I truly feel secure in my beauty, the beauty that God desires, then I am able to in turn love others in a more true and meaningful way- no matter how they see me. And that makes us all feel more beautiful.
Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some days I may actually pass the world’s beauty standard, and other days I fail miserably. But that doesn’t really matter.
The only eyes that really matter belong to Him who is able to behold my heart.