Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What kind of "beautiful" are you?

This week, through of chain of events that involved a dog dying (not one of mine, thank God), a gym membership, and a food co-op, I ended up meeting a stranger in a public place to collect a box which I was then supposed to deliver to my parents' house. I had never spoken with the woman I was meeting, but my sister said I'd be looking for a white woman with two daughters of a different ethnicity. The three of them would be waiting right inside the doors to the YMCA at a particular time. Should be easy enough.

I parked and trudged through the cold toward the building. I had meant to go to the gym that day, but I resented having to go at a particular time. Especially to collect an order that wasn't mine.

As I neared the door, someone called my name. I turned around and discovered the woman had pulled up her vehicle; she was waiting outside, not in. As I accepted the box, I wondered how my sister had described me to the woman that she was able to pick me out from those who were coming and going.

When I dropped off the box at my parents' house, I mentioned that the woman had found me first and said that the description must've been pretty good. By that point, I was thinking my sister had described my coat.


Here's what she actually told this stranger to look for: "She has brown hair, and she's really pretty."

Okay, that's flattering.

But let me tell you something: I was not pretty at the time.

Both before and right after my sister described me that way to a stranger, I was pretty short with my sister. I made it clear by my tone--if not also by my words--that this was an inconvenience. By the time I got to the Y, I was a little better about it because I was thinking that at least the errand helped me get in a workout. Still, though.

Why did I agree to do it and hold a grudge that I'd been asked? Why not see the bright side? Why not be generous with my time? I was, after all, planning to get to the gym at some point, so it wasn't all that generous, anyway.

I saw something on Pinterest a while ago that I apparently didn't pin. It said something like this: Today's world tries to encourage women by telling them they're all beautiful. Yesterday's world made women stronger by telling them beauty isn't the important thing.  

Let's be real. Beauty is fleeting and fickle. We have it. We don't. We dress it well. We mess it up. We have bad hair days and good. Once in a while we ace the winged eyeliner look or the smoky shadow. Other days, we look like we've given ourselves black eyes or, at least, under-eye shadows. There are people I think are beautiful who don't think that of themselves. Regardless of a given day or opinion or God-given symmetry, we all age and some of the things we (and the world) like best about bodies fade away.

But none of that is the important kind of beauty.

Of course, whatever wisdom I might think I've found on Pinterest, the Bible says it better:
Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. - 1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV

I'd rather be picked out of a crowd for the kind of beauty God's after than the kind that can be seen by the human eye. How about you?


  1. Love this: "Today's world tries to encourage women by telling them they're all beautiful. Yesterday's world made women stronger by telling them beauty isn't the important thing." Well-said.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I wish I could find the original again so I'd know where it came from! Maybe someone will come across this and be able to point me in the right direction :)