Mirror Mirror

mirror

Every morning I look into the mirror in my bathroom. I examine myself thoroughly and take pride in my appearance. I make sure that my skin is clear; my smile is bright; and that my hair is in place. I check my clothes to ensure that they are free of stains and wrinkles and that they fit my body perfectly. Before I leave the house, I must be flawless. I must make sure that I look “beautiful.”

However, what is the actual definition of beauty? If you ask 10 people, you may receive 10 different answers. I’ve been told in the simplest form that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is based upon an opinion and there is no right or wrong answer to the question. Nevertheless, because of social media and the pressures of society, I am realizing a shift has taken place, and so has the standard of what is considered “beautiful.”

Because people spend more time scrolling through their phones on social media, I believe that the media has presented a standard of beauty that is constantly reinforced everyday. For example, beauty is primarily defined by how a person looks on the outside versus their inward characteristics. If we constantly see a viral image of a woman who the media presents to have the “perfect” figure, skin color, eye color, hair length, lip shape, etc., that image then becomes the standard. It becomes what others try to strive to achieve. It becomes the definition of beauty.

People are showing their desperation to measure up to this standard of beauty both literally and figuratively, to the point that they might be willing to starve themselves, empty out their bank accounts for expensive surgeries or even lose their lives. Many have died at the hands of an unlicensed surgeon just to get the perfect shape in order to become beautiful. Nevertheless, when a person knows that they are fearfully and wonderfully made according to Psalm 139:14, and when they understand that the Creator masterfully designed every aspect of their body and called it wonderful, there is no alteration, or shade of makeup that could enhance the beauty that is already present.

So we know what the media deems as beautiful, but how does God define beauty? God is more concerned with the inner man versus the outward appearance. He is more interested in the condition of one’s heart and a person’s temperament than the things that the world considers important. 1 Samuel 16:7 states, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”. In addition, 1 Peter 3:3-4 states, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great work in God’s sight”. Lastly, Proverbs 31:30 states, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”.

Essentially, knowing and also believing God’s definition of beauty and using that as a compass for how we navigate through life is paramount. His thoughts should be in the forefront of our minds and should sculpt the way we define what is beautiful. There is nothing worse than encountering a beautiful person and discovering that person is loud for no reason, nasty, rude, ungrateful and has a horrible disposition. The ugliness of the inward man will always shine forth and prevail over good looks. True beauty is measured from that which lies upon the inside of a person. It can never be fully determined by the outward appearance, but ultimately defined by God.

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