(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)
What True Beauty Looks Like
By Sarah Komisky
“You are completely beautiful, my beloved! You are flawless!
– Song of Solomon 4:7 (LEB)
I look like my Dad. From my blue eyes, fair skin, full lips, and facial structure, I am my father’s daughter. With all the comparisons over the years and the similarities that are evident, I am pretty confident of my resemblance. But sadly, I’ve looked in the mirror at times and have forgotten my true resemblance – the resemblance of my Creator.
Like all of you readers, I too have insecurities and I have roots that lead to them. For me, many of my roots come from a false identity rooted in physical beauty.
I grew up hearing the compliments of others coming in the form of appearance – mostly concerning my eyes. Offered to model as a child, then as a teenager, my parents said no wanting me to know I was beautiful already. But in my teen years, things took a turn when I began absorbing compliments like a sponge for affirmation (especially when they came from guys).
In a time when insecurities are heightened, I latched onto the identity people gave me. And as I struggled with perfectionist tendencies, the guys I dated or were in pursuit of me, only encouraged them with their words and actions. So I began to really strive to keep a standard of beauty the world defines as beautiful. This meant perfect hair, makeup, teeth, skin, weight, and style. Yet, I always felt like I came up short.
Although dating and being admired by cute, popular or cool guys made me feel good and of worth, I discovered that beautiful people are often the most shallow and most ugly. I would know because as compliments went to my head, I too became prideful and vain (which is NEVER beautiful). I also discovered that the guy’s who only focused on my outward appearance never took time to discover my heart. Not focusing on God’s words, I held onto theirs and always came up empty.
As time went on, I held on to this high and unattainable standard not realizing I was craving the affirmation of the One who loved and accepted me. I freaked out with any little threat to my physical beauty fearing that I would be “less than.” Eventually, I also developed some wounds from guys that also left me jaded, but it was at this time that Jesus reminded me of my true reflection.
Coming out of work one day, without makeup and probably still carrying goldfish cracker dust and juice stains due to working with toddlers, I was being approached by a twenty-something stranger on my college campus. He reached in his satchel for something at the picnic bench I was sitting at and I stared puzzled, squeamish and suspicious. On the phone and ready to get up and go, the handsome green-eyed guy with a mocha colored complexion was placing a stand-up mirror before me. My eyes stared at the jeweled encrusted mirror as he pointed to the words, “What true beauty looks like.” My mouth opened as he turned the mirror around and adjusted it to show me my reflection, nodding as if to say, “That’s you!” Smiling, he packed his mirror, walked away, and I never saw him again.
Looking back, I know it was God who made me look in the mirror and see myself for who I really was – His beautiful creation. It was the beginning of a new perspective as I let Jesus redefine beauty in my life. Coming to Christ later on, I began finding a new identity in Him. I discovered true beauty meant owning who I was and letting Jesus mold me into His beautiful image with qualities like love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and grace (Galatians 5:22-23). These were qualities of true beauty! I also began to discover beauty that didn’t depend on the opinions of others. Now, under a new definition of beauty, I am affirmed knowing God sees me completely beautiful and flawless. And this is what true beauty looks like!