What is love? Baby, don't hurt me...

Beauty. We pluck, wax, paint, exfoliate, condition, dye, sweat, starve, and spent countless hours and dollars in pursuit of it. We spend and spend and spend for it, but what do we get for the high price we pay? Superficial attention from strangers. Superficial romantic pursuits. Superficial compliments. Superficial societal favor. The perks are real, but they're transient and temporary. The compliments feel nice, the attention feels nice, but it's all just firecrackers. Snap, pop, then nothing. "You are beautiful", but how are you changed? "I love your outfit", but how are you changed? "Your hair looks amazing", but how are you changed? I grew up believing that beauty was the one quality that made any other qualities count for anything. I watched countless movies where the smart, sweet, talented girl went totally unnoticed and unappreciated until she got a makeover and walked down the staircase in slow motion. The movies were filled with nerdy sidekicks who were only good for supporting roles or comedic relief. I didn't see examples of average looking but talented people being held in high esteem. I didn't think anything I did or said was worth anything if I didn't look somewhat like the women in movies and on magazines. Like I was a giant room filled with cool things and valuable treasures, but beauty was the light switch that illuminated it, revealed it, made it relevant. I studied Proverbs 31, which contains a detailed description of a godly, quality woman. It chronicles her hobbies, passions, tasks, priorities, and character and I realized that her appearance is NEVER mentioned. The only time beauty is mentioned is at the very end, where it says "Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last." And the more I studied the qualities listed that a quality woman embodies, I realized just how many of them I actually had! But I had been berating and scorning myself because I lacked the one quality that the Bible says over and over again is entirely unimportant. So what does spending time on loving others, growing your character, and fostering spiritual maturity buy you? Deep relationships with the people around you. Deep, stable, assurance of your own inherent value. Deep romantic love that does not depend on physical appearance. Deeply meaningful sense of purpose. I know it's completely counter-cultural and eye-rolling to say that beauty doesn't matter, but really, it doesn't. And of course I don't think there is anything wrong with doing things to feel good about yourself, but it's not worth harming, depriving, or hating yourself over. The minute I really felt and believed that, I was given an incredible gift of freedom. And honestly, it takes daily intention to keep hold of that freedom because the old ways of thinking die hard, especially when they're constantly revived by simply existing in the society that birthed them to begin with. Every day cast off what weighs you down, what is too heavy to carry and not valuable enough to keep. Beauty is fleeting. Let it go.


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