For some women, beauty has been the enemy. Beauty, or the perceived lack of it, has been the cause of painful expectations, missed promotions, struggles in marriage, or even self-hatred. Given the challenge, let alone the opportunity, to embrace beauty seems about as dumb as trying to spit into the wind. We're scared. Isn't it better, we reason, to dismiss beauty than to try to embrace something we fear we don't have? Won't we look foolish if we think we are beautiful when we are not? All of these were my thoughts as I began to think about how negative I had become toward beauty. I was so afraid that I didn't have "it" that I rejected it before "it" or anyone could reject me.
What I miss in this thinking is what not embracing beauty does to me and to my spirit. The more I dismiss beauty as belonging to others, the more I reject opportunities to nurture my spirit, the more I hold my physical appearance at arm's length and try not to care, the more I die on the inside.
Karen Lee-Thorp and Cynthia Hicks wrote in Why Beauty Matters, "Our bodies are as much us as our thoughts are. This is why calls to ignore our our outer appearance as spiritually irrelevant do not help us. Quite the contrary: the more we honor our bodies as us, as intertwined as our spirits, as limbs of Christ, temples of the Spirit, and beareres of God's image, the more we will understand and manage well the power of physical appearance in our lives."
We must embrace beauty because beauty is a part of who God created us to be. We are mind, body, and soul. Each of these elements possess beauty in its own right and deserves to be embraced. That embracing transforms us to live our lives in a whole and healthy, honoring-to-God way. Are we seeking to embrace beauty so we can look as if we have it all together spiritually? No. Beauty is embraced because we don't have it all together, and we are trusting God in a more radical way than ever before to make something beautiful out of our surrendered lives.
Embracing our beauty will wake us up. We'll have to face all the parts that we have deemed ugly and worthless. We'll be confronted by old pains and wounds, and we'll have to make a choice to stay dead or to give way to new growth and life. We'll be challenged by what not embracing our beauty does to our families and our relationships. Consider the possibiliites: you can learn to embrace your beauty and allow it to bring you joy and delight, or you can give in to the culture's definition of beauty and allow that to rob you of every bit of confidence and enthusiasm you have about who you are.
--from Fresh Brewed Life : A Stirring Invitation to Wake Up Your Soul by Nicole Johnson
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