Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest post by fellow CMBA-r Pearl from Pearl’s Oyster Bed. Check out her awesome blog when you get a chance, but first: read this post! This post is included in the Let’s Talk Sex series – Glorifying God with Our Bodies, Part 2A.
Our souls are tethered to these bloodbags we call bodies until the Lord calls us home. Until then we’ve got to contend with this fleshy existence.
The duality between spirit and flesh is difficult for me to navigate. Part of my human trial as a Christian female is juggling this dichotomy in regards to beauty. How do I balance the inner beauty/outer beauty mindset? Can I be Mother Theresa and Marilyn Monroe?
1Samuel 16:7, “For the Lord sees, not as man sees; man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1Peter3:3-4, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment….rather it should be that of your inner self….”
Peter isn’t condemning a woman’s outer beauty. He is saying do not make it a pre-occupation. (Actually, the whole section is about how a believing wife can win an unbelieving husband over to Christ with the beauty of her way.) Christian women are encouraged to seek inner spiritual beauty. I don’t refute that.
All of these Biblical Characters are described as having physical beauty:
Sarah (Gen. 12:11)
Rebekah (Gen. 24:16)
Rachel (Gen. 29:17)
Abigail (1Sam. 25:3)
Esther (Esther 2:7)
David (1Sam. 16:12)
Joseph (Gen. 39:6)
It is interesting to me that in verse 7 of 1Samuel 16, it says the Lord does not look at outward appearance as a man. Yet, in verse 12 of 1Samuel 16, it mentions that David is ruddy, with bright eyes and good-looking. God is not ANTI-beauty. Look at God’s creation, the iridescent hummingbird or the exotic passion fruit flower, for example.
In my Christian walk of umpteen years, I haven’t heard enough testimony that it’s OK to nurture your physical beauty. Because of the lack of reference to this, one may think that it’s not a godly sanction to nurture outer beauty. I believe it is a godly sanction to care for your exterior, especially in regards to health. So, today lovely ladyfish, allow yourself to accept the exquisite woman you are, on the inside and the outside!
What permission to be beautiful is not: Vanity or lack of humility
Vanity is the extreme desire to be physically beautiful at all costs. There is no outside desire to serve any other than yourself. I would venture to go as far as to say it is similar to an addiction, being consumed with thoughts of the mirror. Hesitantly (and then boldly!) accepting your beauty, will not make you vain, unless you let it.
Accepting that you have pleasant physical features does not mean you are haughty. It’s acknowledging the wonderful work that God does.
Areas that sabotage permission to be beautiful:
Negative Body Image
Media inundates the public with images of bodies that are unrealistically thin (female) or unnaturally muscled (men). When realistic body types don’t match the media body types, ladies may counter their displeasure of their own physical form by ignoring it all together. Learn to love yourself by getting back in touch with your body, literally. At this moment, what is your right foot doing? Is it hot/cold/achy? Go get a massage, get in touch with the skin you are in.
What is your best characteristic? I know you have one thing you like about yourself!! Is it your eye color, smile, hair, height, hands? YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL no matter what your size, shape or bra cup.
When negative body image has been countered, the love of self can take over. Better food choices and exercise may be on the menu which can further perpetuate a healthy self-image.
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.’ And here is the second one, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself,’” Mark 12:30-31.
Outer beauty can be perceived as a hindrance. Our society values outward appearance. Beautiful Christian ladies who realize their beauty, may experience guilt or shame because of it.
Guilt over undue attention.
Guilt over enjoying the undue attention.
Shame that men other than the husband notice.
Shame that their beauty may have been the perceived cause of sexual violation.
Gorgeous girls embrace GRACE. Your beauty is God Given! He wanted you to look the way you look. He didn’t mean it to be a burden. Christ came to offer us ALL grace and mercy. It’s OK to offer YOURSELF the grace and mercy of Christ. You would offer this same mercy and grace to others, why not yourself? Christ came to free us. None of us want to cause another to stumble. Free yourself from the worry that beauty is causing sin.
“Through faith in Jesus we have received God’s grace. In that grace we stand. We are full of joy because we expect to share in God’s glory,” Romans 5:2.
Put your entire self in Christ’s hands. If you suffer from shame or guilt, give it to Christ. He gave you your beauty so that you can use it to serve HIM more fully.
What can be achieved when permission is granted?
- Better care of health: Starting to like yourself, might want to take care of what you’ve got. If your health improves through better food choices and exercise, you will be physically empowered to be a better servant for the Lord and your mate.
- Improved Intimacy: Your husband will be thrilled that you are allowing yourself to acknowledge the beauty he already sees in you. Satan is using our negative self-image of outer being as a hurdle to marital intimacy. Love your husband by letting him view you naked. See former Pearl post, Christian and Sexy.
- Better Serve the Lord: We still live in a human society that values outward appearance. If we are well cared for, people may hear our Christian words of counsel better. “..I have become all things to all people so that in all possible ways I might save some. I do all of that because of the good news. I want to share in its blessings,”1Corinthians 9:22-23.
I pray with you, beautiful ladyfish, that you continue to grow in the beauty of a gracious Christlike spirit. But, as you do so, give yourselves permission to be the vibrant, exquisite Christian creatures, that you are.