“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
True beauty, what does it mean and how do we find it?
All my life I have been chasing the world’s view of beauty. Am I thin enough, pretty enough, tall enough? Is my nose too big, lips too small? What can I do to “fix” my look? What can I buy for myself to enhance beauty and stop the voices in my head that would be on repeat. . . “You’re just not pretty enough. Beauty doesn’t describe you.”
Bombarded with images of the world’s view on what women should look like, compiled with side comments from friends and family about my appearance growing up, always left me feeling simply inadequate in the beauty category. I wasn’t tall, extraordinarily thin, I didn’t have perfect teeth or a perfect body, I was what some would call “ordinary” and I let that title or label of being “ordinary” steal my joy and I stopped smiling for what felt like a very long time. I just longed for someone to say “you are beautiful.”
I don’t know exactly the moment that it happened or even where I was at the time, but I remember when my eyes first fell upon the scripture in 1 Peter 3:3-4, something anew began to stir in me.
“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.”
Suddenly, after reading this passage, my view of myself and what I believed beauty was, was called into question. Could this really be what true beauty is, the inside more important than the outside? And my smile began to untighten.
What Really is True Beauty?
As I started to dig deeper into this concept of inner beauty, I was amazed how many times in scripture God shows us the beauty of one’s own heart that not only makes them a beauty to behold, but how it can save as well. Like in the case of the 10 lepers. They were all healed, but only one came back to give thanks to God. His beauty flowed from his heart as he fell down at his feet to give thanks and Jesus replied,
“Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17:19)
And with the widow who Jesus witnessed putting all she had into the treasury. I am sure there were many outwardly beautiful and rich people giving their tithe, and I imagine the widow, being poor, maybe didn’t look as sharp as the rest. But Jesus took notice of her and made sure to share what she had done with the disciples. Why? Because he noticed the beauty of her heart which she put into the treasury box first and then all the money she had.
These stories, like many other scripture passages, help us to understand what true beauty is. It’s an inside job! Your inward disposition can change your outward appearance for the better so we should all strive to fill our hearts with the things that delight the Lord, so our beauty will shine through.
True Beauty Describes You
I still struggle from time to time with feeling inadequate by the world’s standards of beauty, but then I remember that God loves the real me, and he helps me to shine bright for all to see and smile more through my insecurities. And, when I TRUST and realize that he has made me just as he intended, my smile gets just a little bit bigger.
When I started to live and believe I was beautiful in His eyes and started living a new life with God, I was amazed one day when someone said to me, “I can tell how much you love God, and see how you are filled with the Holy Spirit, and it is BEAUTIFUL!” Those words pierced my heart, and I was overjoyed as I realized those were the words I really longed to hear, not just “You are beautiful” but “You are beautiful because you have a heart for God,” and that is true beauty!
My prayer for you, dear reader, is that you too begin to see your beauty through the eyes of Christ and not your own. For His eyes see the real you, the fearfully and wonderfully made you, the true beauty that you are.
Mandi-bre Watson is a passionate follower of Jesus, a devoted wife, and a mother of 4. Through her writing and speaking, she tries to be a beacon of hope as she points people to the Savior. She owns a small marketing company that helps other small businesses and is also the owner of an online boutique, Veiled in Love, where she sells her handmade veils. She is a certified Spiritual Companion through Oblate School of Theology & an active member of St. Francis of Assisi Church. Mandi-bre also served as the Emcee of the 2022 Catholic Women’s Conference and serves as a member of Pilgrim Center of Hope’s Speaker Team.