(Photo by Jess Sanchez)
Looking Through a New Lens
By Sarah Komisky
“…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. ”
– 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)
When asked, “What are looking for in a guy?” what comes to mind? Pose this question to a group of ladies and many will offer a list that sounds something like this: tall, green eyes, dark hair, rugged, nice smile, hipster, trendy, thin, muscular, this nationality, that type, and this list goes on and on. Get ladies on this subject and things drift off into the wrong direction real quick. Maybe it’s the fact that early on we are bombarded with messages that we are supposed to “look for” attractive men. Take a look at a Disney movie and see the dashing Prince Charming, Captain John Smith, and Flynn Rider alongside the beautiful princess, and guess what we learn? Physical beauty is priority. Fast forward a couple years and we learn from our peers that the guy with acne, short stature, and who is overweight or “nerdy” needs dismissal. Throw in romantic movies like Nicholas Sparks flicks where leading men like Ryan Gosling and Josh Duhamel get the girl, the covers of magazines where “beautiful people” are celebrated, the voices from females in your life that give thumbs up to the handsome guy and thumbs down to the “Average Joe” and voila, you got a recipe for disaster. But even though all of these things can factor into our faulty thinking, we also need to own up to our own faulty thoughts.
For most women, what they are looking for in a guy is often associated primarily with what they are attracted to physically verses what qualities they find attractive internally. While physical attraction is not wrong (it is actually something that is God ordained and God glorifying when we are able to acknowledge the beauty around us) it is wrong when we place all our focus on it and disregard the inner qualities that are far more important. Somehow we as women have learned to think about the opposite sex totally backwards by putting far too much emphasis on what is temporal and ignoring what is lasting.
Take a look at Samuel in the bible. God gave him a job to find the new king of Israel and anoint him (typical for kings in ministry). Samuel takes a look at his first potential candidate named Eliab (David’s older brother) and says, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!”(1 Samuel 16:6, NKJV). By looking at this guy, Samuel thought he was king material. He might have been handsome and certainly he was young, but God teaches Samuel (and all of us) a lesson in verse seven, saying, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Samuel certainly learned his lesson and learned to move past physical appearances to search for something deeper and better. Leaning on God for guidance, Samuel was ultimately led to David, the younger brother and shepard that was called from the fields to be the King of Israel. Later, God shared his thoughts on why He picked David in Acts 13:22 saying, “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.”
The same principle goes for a guy. We are often looking with our eyes, which is not only limited, but it is also deceptive. Have you ever met a good looking person only to find out they were really mean, shallow, prideful, or selfish? Looks can deceive. Samuel learned this. The king of Israel needed to be passionate for God, a leader, compassionate, and courageous, and David was this man. Since God can see the heart (as He did with Eliab), he saw that his appearance wasn’t enough to lead a nation. For us, will physical appearance and attraction be enough to weather us through the storms of life, to be a spiritual leader, to care for us, to raise our kids, and to grow old with? I highly doubt it. Never mind the fact that making physical beauty a requirement makes us extremely shallow as women. Often times, the outwardly “cute,” “handsome,” “beautiful” guys we want will only leave our hearts in shambles when we find they weren’t all we thought they would be.
We need to train ourselves to think differently. According to Jeremiah 17:10, it is God who searches the heart and tests the mind and if He alone has this knowledge, then we should rest in His prompting and leading when it comes to a guy. When we understand that relying only on physical beauty is selling ourselves short, then we understanding that searching for inner qualities is far better. It is these lasting qualities that we honestly desire – more than the physical and qualities that fade over time and that cannot in any way meet our relational, emotional, and spiritual needs.
May I also say that understanding who we are in Christ is essential. If we know our worth is in Him, then we won’t be looking for someone to make us “feel” we have worth because we will get that affirmation from God. Additionally, when we choose to look beyond the physical to something better, we discover someone who is great (might I add a blessing!). Letting go of our list of a physical “type” is essential to discovering the awesome person God wants to bring into your life. He might not look like you expect or fit into the box you created, but if you are willing to look beyond that, you will find this person will be more than you ever imagined and be grateful for the inner qualities that make the person even more beautiful than any outer quality ever could.