(Photo by Maylin Rowe)
By Michelle Ochen
You do not have to walk far or search high to see images of women appearing to have something you lack. Our own eyes speak deceit when looking in the mirror. The media paints a picture with fake ink, unrealistic expectations, and ungodly morals – yet this is what we feel we must live up to. Maybe we do not vocalize it, but our hearts begin to define what the media portrays as “the standard of beauty.” We’ve also heard that men are visual, and so, if this is what they see, it must be what they consider beautiful, right? So, the pressure rises even more.
Have any of these thoughts entered your mind? Have insecurities followed you as a shadow? Each word I pen is coming from a personal path I am walking. My definition of beauty has been defiled by the ungodly image the world has portrayed. A young woman who once found herself beautiful, who is now recently married and currently pregnant, questions herself because she cannot compete with the images the world puts on billboards, magazines and the internet.
Who is painting this picture of deceit? Answer: The world. Walk through the mall and you see images of women posing in positions that go against your moral character but you feel obligated to learn how to look that way. You hear men comment on certain images and are deceived into thinking this is what they want to see. And our own perception on these things can poison us to blindness to the point that we forget this mindset is not of the Lord but of the world. The lust of this world will never be satisfied. And unfortunately, we have been polluted by what we have seen, heard, and consequently what we have forgotten.
The media defines the provocative moves of an underdressed woman with a skinny body and perfect tan as beautiful. Her charm is momentary but not truly what we desire. Reader, I know your initial reaction might not be a genuine desire to strive after ungodliness, but how often do we allow our thoughts to be polluted by such standards to the point where we doubt our own beauty?
God’s Word is the oldest standing definition of beauty, and it will never change. Proverbs chapter 31 speaks of a “virtuous woman” and she is said to be more valuable than a red ruby or diamond. Nowhere in defining her do we read of her body shape, sexuality, or the color of her skin. Instead, she is defined by her character, morals, and how she uses her time. She is known for kindness, being a hard worker, and her eagerness to learn and not to conform.
Imagine if we spent more time seeking to learn what true beauty is instead of trying to become what the world defines as beautiful. Our minds would be cleansed of the pollution that has stained us. God’s word says, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30, NKJV). Later in history, as the culture had been influenced by false ideals of beauty, the church’s women were reminded, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4). “Rather,” we have a choice: We can choose to become the image our culture defines as beautiful or we can “rather” choose to learn this beauty of the inward heart, which God finds precious.
Do you want to be seen as just another beautiful girl through the mirrors of this world or would you rather be seen as beautiful and precious in the eyes of God? It is time for us to define beauty by truth and not by the deceit of photoshopped women. The ungodliness of this life has polluted our thoughts but God is able to cleanse and restore by making our thoughts whole again. Our God is able to make our beauty deeper than just the outward. He is able to make it transparent inside and out. So, are you ready to see yourself and be seen by others as genuinely beautiful?