Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Earlier…we talked about the cursed things at the grocery checkout lines, specifically women’s magazines. One of the troubles with these magazines that we did not discuss was the problem of the covers. We don’t even have to buy these magazines to be infected by them. Just looking at the “beautiful” women on the covers is a double whammy. First, it can destroy our peace by putting us under the same kind of pressures as all those articles on the perfect party or the perfect new decorating scheme. We may be tempted to think, “How can I look like that when God keeps blessing me with children?” Thus, we allow the stress of watching our diet, fixing our hair, purchasing and maintaining an attractive wardrobe, etc. to destroy the peace in our homes.

Secondly, perusing these magazines implants in our minds a false idea of what beauty is all about. Peter tells us in Scripture what our goals ought to be and he is far wiser than Helen Gurley Brown. In 1 Peter 3:1-6 we are given God’s definition of what beauty truly is: “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

Of course we know this passage, but do we really heed it? And do we teach it to our daughters? For that matter, do we teach this to our sons so that they will recognize true beauty when they see it and not pursue or accept a worldly counterfeit?

~Denise Sproul in Tending Your Garden

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Our culture’s pursuit of beauty can be summarized with this definition: A love of self. God’s definition of beauty can be summarized with this definition: A love for God. Which beauty are we seeking to cultivate? Are we intentionally and actively cultivating an inner beauty or do we give more attention to our outward appearance?

See, the way we think about and attend to our personal appearance is really a mirror on our hearts. It shows whether our priority is to cultivate inner beauty or outer beauty. It actually reveals either a love for God or a love for self. It either reflects godly motivations or selfish motivations. It’s questions like these that have helped me to see that all too often my desire is for self-glory rather than desiring God’s glory.

First Corinthians 10:31 calls me to an altogether different standard. It says, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Everything we do should be for God’s glory, not our own. We are to pursue holiness in every aspect of our lives including our beauty pursuit.

~Carolyn Mahaney in “Beauty Is in the Reflection

Photo: OBMonkey

Where True Beauty Is Seen

“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake,
I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”

Psalm 17:15

Author Leslie Ludy describes the key to becoming a woman of beauty. This is worth passing on to other women that you know… 

Photo: Vea Avernalis

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

In verse 3 Peter [1 Peter 3:3] begins to talk about how women braid their hair and dress. And at first this seems completely out of the blue. But actually this isn’t a detour or rabbit trail. There is something so profound about what Peter does here. Think about it: Peter is addressing one of the most common means by which a woman seeks to gain power over men: appearance and allurement.

It was true in first century Rome; it’s true today. One of the primary ways that a woman gets what she wants is to highlight or flaunt her beauty and her outward appearance. This is why the hair,makeup, jewelry and clothing (not to mention diet and plastic surgery) industries are multi-multi billion dollar industries. Female sexuality, female beauty is often used like a weapon.

This text indicates that a natural tendency in the female human heart is a failure to entrust your­self to God and instead to put your hope in how you look. To get what you want–love, care, atten­tion, power–by the way your body looks, by the way you dress, by your style.

And Peter is saying to women, “Don’t play by the world’s rules.” Don’t find your greatest joy in feeling sexy. Find your joy in the approval of your God. Don’t make your focus outward adornment, make it inward adornment.

The point is not that it’s wrong to do your hair or wear jewelry. If that’s what this verse is saying we’d have to also say it’s wrong to wear any clothing at all. obviously that isn’t the point. Many women today need to adorn themselves with more clothing.

The point is that outward adornment shouldn’t be your primary preoccupation. You should give more attention to cultivating a heart that loves God, more attention to a quiet and gentle spirit–that means an attitude that isn’t demanding. God sees your heart; he looks past your outward appear­ance and what he cares about is your inner person. So make that beautiful.

Clothing and style will get you attention. A short skirt catches the eye of the world–but a quiet heart catches the eye of God.

~Joshua Harris in “A Word to Wives: 1 Peter 3:1-6

Photo: OBMonkey

Wholly Beautiful Hands

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…”

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Some of you may have seen this unusual video that Tim Challies linked to on his blog yesterday…

Although we could watch this video and then walk away thinking mainly about how strange Ellen Sirot’s life must be, I think there’s a greater lesson that should draw our attention. As I watched this lady describe all of the things she doesn’t do with her hands in order to maintain their beauty, I couldn’t help but feel a great deal of sadness for her.

“Sad?” you might ask, “Why in the world would you feel sad for a woman who takes home a nice fat paycheck for only pretending to do housework?” And surely with only a surface glance at this story, we could develop the mistaken impression that Ellen Sirot has one of the sweetest gigs out there. I mean, which one of us wouldn’t enjoy having hands with a decent manicure for a day, let alone, for over 15 years?!!

Yet for all of the money that they make, I wonder if this lady’s hands are truly beautiful at all. Of course, there’s no question that Ellen Sirot’s hands are beautiful in the world’s eyes; she has the bank account to prove that, but are they beautiful in the eyes of the only One whose opinion matters? We need only take a look at His description of the beautiful woman of Proverbs 31 to find the answer to that question. How does she make sure her hands stay beautiful?

  • She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. (v. 13)
  • She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. (v.  16)
  • She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. (v. 19)
  • She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. (v. 20)
  • Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates. (v. 31)

While a hand model must spend her life protecting her hands to ensure they stay beautiful, a godly woman will focus her attention on utilizing her hands for the benefit of others. In God’s opinion, busy hands are beautiful hands. Although your hands may never end up on the cover of a magazine, you can be confident that every dish washed, floor scrubbed, and nose wiped for the glory of God has enhanced the beauty of your hands in ways that gloves and moisturizing cream never could.

A woman with hands beautiful enough for modeling may be unusual, but rarer still is the woman whose hands stay busy modeling true beauty. Although her fingers may never grasp a nice fat paycheck, in God’s eyes, a woman with the hands of a servant will forever remain a treasure of priceless worth.
 “Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.”
Photo: foxiq 

Beauty Supplements

Quick quotes on what true beauty is all about… 

God’s definition of beauty stands in stark contrast to the way our culture defines beauty. Our culture defines beauty by how we look on the outside. God defines beauty by what we are like on the inside.

Our culture puts forth a standard of beauty that is unattainable by most. God puts forth a standard of beauty to which we can all attain if we just respond to His work of grace in our lives.

Our culture encourages women to cultivate a beauty that is skin deep. God tells us to pursue an inner beauty of great worth…

Do you see the difference? The beauty our culture esteems may turn some heads, but the beauty God calls us to cultivate will make a lasting impact. When a physically atractive woman walks by, we notice–men particularly! But that’s the end of it. Her beauty makes a fleeting, momentary impression. But a woman who cultivates inner beauty, who fears God and lives to serve others, makes a difference in people’s lives. Her beauty makes a lasting impact on the lives she touches. Godly, inner beauty makes an indelible mark on the lives of others and glorifies God.

~Carolyn Mahaney in Biblical Womanhood in the Home

Photo: Esra Su

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

“As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.”

Psalm 17:15

Several years ago, I heard about a woman who conducted a rather unusual experiment by removing every mirror from her home for a set period of days. She took this radical step in an attempt to free herself from what she believed was an unhealthy fixation on her own reflection. Without a mirror to tell her who she was, this woman felt she could more accurately gauge her value and worth as a woman.

I have to admit; the idea of such an experiment makes me shiver. Life without mirrors? Yikes! Personally, I find that mirrors are very useful tools, especially when I’ve just finished eating a salad. Although I certainly wouldn’t want to go without them, I do recognize the danger of becoming too dependent on them as well. A mirror can tell us many things, but not much of what we see there truly matters.

In this video clip, Jennifer Rothschild emphasizes the importance of gazing into the only mirror that can accurately reflect who we really are.

Photo: Alex Bramwell

Beauty Uncovered

“And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Hebrews 4:13

With each year that passes, I find I take increasing comfort in the masking properties of cosmetics. Although I wish it weren’t so, I must confess that the cultural emphasis on youth and beauty affects me to a shameful degree at times. Looking in the mirror and noticing new spots of discoloration, the formation of tiny creases, and other facial imperfections sends me in search of a cover-up–something, anything, to mask the flaws that loom large in my mind.

The pain of feeling unattractive remains an all too familiar experience for us as women, yet our deceitful hearts tell us we’re entirely isolated in what we face. Many times, we refrain even from admitting such feelings to others; it’s hard to imagine someone else understanding our inner ache. For those of us who struggle with thoughts like this, here’s a reassuring truth: Someone does understand. When we consider those judged on the basis of appearance, our mind instantly turns to women. Yet consider these prophetic words describing our Savior’s earthly experience: 

 “…he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
   and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
   a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
   he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Isaiah 53:2-3

Our Lord understands in ways we can’t imagine what it’s like to be measured according to earthly standards of beauty and found wanting. The great Puritan commentator Matthew Henry expounds on this passage:

It was expected that he should have some uncommon beauty in his face and person, which should charm the eye, attract the heart, and raise the expectations of all that saw him. But there was nothing of this kind in him; not that he was in the least deformed or misshapen, but he had no form nor comeliness, nothing extraordinary, which one might have thought to meet with in the countenance of an incarnate deity. Those who saw him could not see that there was any beauty in him that they should desire himThere was a great deal of true beauty in him, the beauty of holiness and the beauty of goodness, enough to render him the desire of all nations; but the far greater part of those among whom he lived, and conversed, saw none of this beauty…

What a comfort to know that our Savior understands the temptations and pressures we face in a world that idolizes physical perfection. Not only does He understand, but He also offers the power to overcome the dangerous obsession with earthly beauty. Could there be a better Friend with whom to share our deepest concerns? He created us, He knows us inside and out, and He loves us more than we could ever comprehend. In turning to Him we uncover what true beauty is all about. 

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” 

Hebrews 4:14-15  

Related Article: Are You for Real?

Photo: Kay Garston

Video: Clay Productions

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Unfading Beauty

Burn victim Sabira Sultana
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain…
Proverbs 31:30

I just finished reading a heartbreaking story on the Fox News website. It was the kind of story that shook me and at the same time, reminded me of how very much I have for which I should be thankful. The article, entitled “Pakistan Burn Victims Turn to Art of Beauty,” tells the tragic story of several Pakistani women who were severely disfigured when their enraged husbands or lovers either set them on fire or threw acid in their faces. Apparently in their society, it is not uncommon for men to resort to such devilish actions as a means of exacting revenge on women. The article included pictures labeled with a warning for their graphic content, but I couldn’t seem to muster the courage even to glance at the horror with which these women are forced to live every day of their lives. (The photo above is apparently a mild example.)

As my heart broke over these incredible injustices, I also could not escape the convicting truth which these stories of indescribable suffering impressed upon me. In the words of Saira, a 21 year-old woman, “Every person wishes that he or she is beautiful, but in my view, your face is not everything. Real beauty lies inside a person, not outside.” She also shared a story about how before her accident, she became upset to see that the arrival of a pimple had temporarily marred the beauty of her face. Little did she know that just days later, her husband would viciously rob her of her physical beauty forever. Saira has bravely fought to move on with her life, training to become a beautician so she can support herself. She described how she tries not to dwell on the pain of her disfigurement saying, “I don’t want to weaken myself with these thoughts.”

Although we often claim that it’s what’s inside a person that counts, I don’t suppose that any of us have had to test the truth of this statement as women like Saira have. Trying to imagine myself in her situation, I can’t help but wonder, if my outer appearance was destroyed, what beauty would I have left? I know that far too often, I have been guilty of focusing undue attention or worry on my outer appearance to the neglect of the inner qualities that could make me truly beautiful. Nice bodies, clothes, hair, make-up—is that all that we as women are? This is the one-size-fits-all mold that our culture tries to force us into, but God created us to be so much more! “Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” I Peter 3:3-4

I desperately want to develop this kind of beauty which is precious in the sight of God. What an incredible thought! Being beautiful in God’s eyes—what else could we ever desire? Let’s pray and work earnestly to develop this internal beauty that will never fade and can never be taken away.

Also, let’s not forget to pray fervently for the salvation and complete inner healing of Sarai and other victimized women like her around the globe. I am so thankful that our God “does not forget the cry of the afflicted.” Psalm 9:12