I struggle with the whole Beauty thing. Not only in the sense of not always feeling beautiful myself, but also in how I view others. I see people and I know in my head God says they are beautiful, but I struggle because I don't see it. I then feel bad because I feel like I am judging them or not seeing them how God sees them. Recently I realized that I don't see them how God sees them, but not because I can't convince myself they are beautiful, but because I don't understand beauty itself. Beauty is an invitation into partnership with God. Beauty isn't a pass/fail test, rather it is a process that is in itself a beautiful, beautiful thing.
I was in the bathroom one day plucking my eyebrows prattling with God and wondering why He made us have unibrows, when they are so much work and we look so much better without them. Holy Spirit's response caught me completely off guard. I felt like He responded, "Because I want you to partner with Me. I gave you the ability to be beautiful, but I don't force it upon you. It takes work, it takes effort. It is a learning process. I am a gentleman, I won't force beauty upon you." In that moment and the meditations to follow, my views on beauty were radically transformed. Everything in life is a process where we learn and mature with God. Our character, our discipline, our maturity, even our beauty is a partnership with God. There is work and a process involved. We eat healthy, eat healthy amounts, exercise, work out, put together cute outfits that are flattering on us, pluck, shave our legs, do our hair (or at the least run a brush through it), and maybe do makeup. Just like every process some struggle at it more than others, but that is ok. It's beautiful in the process because the process and the partnership are beautiful.
It changed how I view people. I see people as beautiful more easily, because I see the invitation to partner with God in it. I find it easier to appreciate true beauty because I value the process, and I no longer view it as a pass/fail. There is power in my change of perspective because there is vision behind it. Instead of valuing beauty because of personal taste, I value it for the process and the intrinsic value behind it.
I see people as on a journey, and I love them more because I can appreciate that they are in it just like me. Or maybe they haven't even begun that process with God because they don't have a relationship with Him or don't know that He speaks beauty over them. I can love them better because I know how to empower them.
When we make beauty about a partnership with God, we unite our inner and outer beauty. So often we pit the two against each other. We push internal beauty so hard, but sometimes we down grade external beauty. Or we are all about the external beauty, we chase after what the world says is beautiful with everything in us, but we neglect the inner beauty of a life with Christ. Yes, our primary beauty should not come from outward adornment.* For me beauty should come from partnering with God.
I am and always have been a "tomboy". I love jeans, hoodies and clothes that were meant for romping in the mud. Forget lace. And make up? That just ain't my thing. Proudly, I have never worn a pair of high heels in my life. I thought I had the beauty thing down. I didn't seek after it, and clearly didn't find my value in it. But I never invited God into my beauty. What was meant to be something I could enjoy relationship with God in, became something I swore off as a pretentious waste of time. But God had other ideas on beauty, and instead desired relationship in it.
Now I can better love the girls that mis-use their beauty, because I understand that they are just cutting God out of the process. Although I once despised them in their heart for being frivolous and "not as holy" as I thought I was, now I've grown to love them. I understand that beauty outside of God never satisfies, but relationship with God in it's essence takes delight in making all things beautiful. Now I realize beauty is something to be celebrated. Not worshiped, but celebrated and give cause to praise and thank the Creator of that beauty.
God sees what we were created to be, but He still loves us in the process of becoming that person.
The prophetic nature of the beauty of woman is profound. Though I don't understand it all yet, I seek to. I desire to know God more and more in every area of life.
*1 Peter 3:3-4, "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."