Often life is hard, but God is always good

Posts tagged ‘Captivating’

Am I Lovely? – Part 2

Photo Credit: Girish Suryawanshi

Photo Credit: Girish Suryawanshi

“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.” (I Peter 3:3-4 NIV)

I apologize profusely to my readers, but I am still wrestling with the concept of my own beauty even at my “over the hill” age. I am saddened and ashamed that I didn’t come to peace with it when I still had my raven black hair and smooth skin.

So today, I return to this timeless treasure from the Lord about what he values: not the hair, not the jewelry, and definitely not the clothes, though a careful reading of these verses indicate this is not a ban on those fun and creative ways to adorn ourselves.

God sees me and considers of greatest worth to be… my inner self.

Ah ha! So what is my inner self?  And is it beautiful?

I dug deeper and uncovered the nugget that “inner self” is not the equivalent of personality; so “gentle and quiet” are not synonyms for our common modern day words “follower”, “introverted” and “not talkative”. (I am none of these)

Instead, these lovely words mean a heart at rest.

Stasi Eldredge gives the most lyrical description of a woman with a restful heart in her book Captivating: “A woman in her glory, a woman of beauty, is a woman who is not striving to become beautiful or worthy or enough. She knows in her quiet center where God dwells that he finds her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in him, she is enough. In fact, the only thing getting in the way of our being fully captivating, and enjoyed is our striving. “ (p. 134-135)

So, today, I have washed my hair, and put on a pretty scarf, and lotioned my face prior to applying make up, but I also have put my face up to be figuratively kissed by my Heavenly Father who told me this morning: “I love you just as you are – you don’t have to do a thing.”

“Beauty flows from a heart at rest.”

(Stasi Eldredge, Captivating)

“Am I Lovely?” Every Woman’s Question

 

"Borrow Somebody's Dreams" Photo Credit: Stefano Corso

“Borrow Somebody’s Dreams” Photo Credit: Stefano Corso

 

It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; 
But you will be called, “My delight is in her,” 
And your land, “Married”;
 For the Lord delights in you, 
And to Him your land will be married.” Isaiah 62: 4 (NASB)

Am I delightful? Am I lovely? Well, maybe I was – at some earlier time as a little girl dancing around the backyard in the wind, or a young woman with runner’s legs and long black hair. But am I – this over-fifty woman, tired, overweight and wrinkling- could I be – lovely still?”

This central feminine question begs an answer no matter the age – even the young beauty with her iphone capturing that alluring “selfie” asks it. When I was young I stabbed my own heart with this query, doubting and worrying because I looked at my physical imperfections with such hateful judgment.

“What if you have a genuine and captivating beauty that is marred only by your striving?” (Stasi Eldredge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul)

I wasted my years of youthful beauty and I watch young women around me doing the same. How is it that we can see so clearly the loveliness of our friends – their wide generous smiles, bubbly laughter, fun curly hair, sparkly eyes, smooth skin -and have no vision for our own?

I hope that age will not steal my beauty. As Charles Dickens wrote, “Cheerfulness and contentment are great beautifiers, and are famous preservers of good looks.”

Author Stasi Eldredge teaches us, “beauty is an essence that is given to every woman at her creation…because she bears the image of God. She doesn’t have to conjure it, go get it from a salon, have plastic surgery or breast implants.”

God thinks we are lovely. At any age. Really, He does.

I am beginning to believe it.

 

 

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