Beauty is Conditional

Beauty is conditional.

It is conditional upon the color of your hair, your weight, the symmetry of your facial features, the size of your lips and hips, the length of your eyelashes and skirt, your height, your bra size, your jean size, and the flawlessness of your skin.

Beauty is present when (and only when) all of these conditions are “satisfactorily” met.

At least, that’s what our culture tells us.

Sitting at a table during our lunch break, my friends and I commiserated over our flaws. A tall blonde. A petite brunette. A curly redhead. We turned the mirror upon ourselves and critiqued the myriad of conditions we failed to meet. Not enough hair. Too much weight. Just enough unflattering frown lines.

To cheer each other up, we made sure to affirm the conditions we did see in each other: stunning eyes! Full lips! Gorgeous smile! But never once did we mention inner beauty. Never once did we talk about each other’s character, personality, or gifts. Because inner beauty isn’t tied to our worth, only outer beauty is.

At least, that’s what our culture tells us.

“There’s no way he would ever be interested in me. I’m not pretty enough.” “He only befriended me on Instagram just so he could see what I looked like first before our date.” Our self-talk revealed that the few opinions others had of us impacted our self-worth. And since we believed we didn’t mark all the items on the beauty checklist, we were unworthy.

This kind of self-talk is like candy the devil throws out at a parade. One lie I consume leads to another and another—and before I know it I’m sick to my stomach. And the devil likes to buy his candy in bulk.

As Christians, we are taught to fight these lies with God’s truth. To hold up His shield at the devil’s parade to deflect the shower of bite-sized despair. Our worth is not found in the affirmation of a boyfriend or the perfect Instagram shot that shows our best side. Our worth is found in The One who died for us—The One who values our heart not our makeup.

But we don’t want to hear that. We want a man to tell us we are beautiful. We want a man to desire us. We want a man to tell us we meet his conditions.

We don’t want to be just the “girl with the great personality” or “the funny one” or [insert any other characteristic that emphasizes the inside in an attempt to deemphasize the outside].

We want earthly affirmation, not the heavenly kind.

At least, that’s what our human nature tells us.

Never mind that we are, in fact, created in the image of God and of out of the entirety of God’s creation, it wasn’t until he created us that He deemed all his creation very good.

Never mind that God created our inmost being and says we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Never mind that wrinkles are inevitable and “beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Prov 31: 30).

Never mind that God says our “beauty should not come from outward adornment” but instead “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.” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Never mind that the tall blonde is confident, intelligent, strong, and dynamic. Never mind that the petite brunette is compassionate, thoughtful, sweet, and spontaneous. Never mind that the curly redhead is warm, witty, goofy, and energetic. Never mind that we were actually the girls with the great personalities, the funny ones, the [insert any other characteristic that actually emphasizes our true beauty by revealing our true character].

Except that we should mind, because God did. We were of so much worth to Him that He created and executed a grand story of redemption before the beginning of time with us in mind. With you in mind.

We are not mistakes. Our outsides or our insides. Our worth is not found in a checklist of standards our magazines and unrequited crushes tell us we should have. Our real and true beauty is in the makeup of our hearts, of which God himself created and has always desired since the beginning.

Our worth isn’t conditional because we belong to an unconditionally loving Father.

At least, that’s what our God tells us.


Photo by (Flickr CC) coloredgrey