(Photo by Selma Komisky)
By Sarah Komisky
If someone asked you to name the top five most beautiful people in the world, who would you name? Would it be a runway model, the most popular girl at school, or the person that has a bazillion likes on social media? While you’re thinking, why don’t I share my list with you (and I promise you, this list isn’t exhaustive).
- Marlene: Bold and passionate about Jesus
- Mom: Compassion and selfless (AKA others-centered)
- Aunt Vicky: Courageous and faith-filled
- Gigi: Joyful and adventurous
- Debbie: Generous and a good listener
Did I surprise you? No, I didn’t opt for People’s most beautiful of 2017. Instead, I chose women who inspire me beyond their cute wardrobe or hairstyle. In fact, I chose all women who have or had physical maladies and consider each of them all incredibly stunning outwardly, but even more stunning inwardly.
Proverbs 31:30 in the Message translation says, “Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades…” Since this verse is alluding to physical beauty and since we all know we are all in the process of aging, why are we walking around so afraid of it?
Culture gives us the answer: we only focus on the physical, and in our pursuit, we’ve created an unattainable standard.
In a 2014, Dove reported that 82% of women believe that social media influences how we define beauty today. Yet, most of the beautiful celebrities we consider ideal don’t even look like their own photos! The list of these women who have been manipulated by Photoshop include Brittney Spears, Zendeya, Madonna, Jennifer Lawrence, Lorde, Kerri Washington, and Lady Gaga to name a few. So-called “flaws” are eliminated and the world’s ideal replace the real woman. In essence, celebrities aren’t even making the cut! Yet, when those who chose to release their real photos (with blemishes, wrinkles, cellulite and all), we the general public become refreshingly affirmed when we see ladies who look just like us!
Media and the world around us says we aren’t enough, and most of us have sadly believed it. Take a look:
“Every actress out there is more beautiful than me… All better looking than me. I’ve seen them without makeup, so I know.”
– Jessica Alba
“I don’t think I’m a sexy, beautiful woman…”
– Megan Fox
“…I tend to see flaws in my appearance…”
– Scarlett Johansson
“I still feel the stress over ‘Am I thin enough? Am I too thin? Is my body the right shape? There’s an obsessive quality to it that I thought I would’ve grown out of by now. It’s an ongoing source of shame for me.”
– Anne Hathaway
According to Dove, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful and 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful. Alessia Cara’s who wrote the song “Scars to Your Beautiful,” pens our dilemma well, saying, “She craves attention, she praises an image/ She prays to be sculpted by the sculptor/ Oh, she don’t see the light that’s shining/ Deeper than the eyes can find it? Maybe we have made her blind…”
As a result, we work hard, change ourselves, and lose ourselves in the process, but God gives us a way out. 1 Peter 3:3-4 in the New International Version says, “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 worth in God’s sight.” In simple terms, God is encouraging our female hearts to not depend on faulty, fleeting things like makeup, clothing, or working out to define us.
Instead, we can have lasting beauty by perusing the One who is beauty Himself, Jesus Christ. Relationship with God naturally rubs off His beautiful qualities. In a shallow world, these inner traits shine – so why not cultivate beauty that will last beyond youth? Why not show the world something beautiful beyond the exterior?
If your perception of beauty needs to be redefined, why not pray this with me today?
God, I am tired of living by the faulty standards the world has created. Today, I choose to believe what You say about me – that I am enough. Help me to be free to be myself and to shine the inner beauty that comes from knowing You, Jesus. Allow me to live differently in this world and shine Your true beauty.
In Your name, amen.