Worth the Weight

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As a woman, I love all things that boast of beauty.  It is part of my make-up, in the literal sense.  My soul is drawn toward that which radiates echoes of the divine, which is the very substance of real beauty.

As women, we long to emulate beauty.  We want to wear it. I have teenage daughters and nieces (and was once a teenager myself), and I am amazed at how much time and energy are invested in the pursuit of beauty. I understand, at one level, that we are born this way.  But at another level, I am saddened by the depth of counterfeit we are embracing.

Recently, I attended an event for women and was so blessed by the intimate connection I sensed among the crowd.  Though we were all from different places and walked in different spheres of responsibility, we had in common an identity which was given to us by our Creator.  Though we each came bearing different stories and would leave heading in different directions, we collectively craved something fierce and authentic which we could take home with us.  Something beautiful, derived from the divine.  Though we each prepared ourselves that morning with face creams and makeup brands which promised a measure of perfection, we gathered because, in the depths of our souls, we knew there was a beauty secret we couldn’t find in the products we got from the shelves of the stores we frequent.

We were looking for depth.  We were looking for the stamp of authenticity.  We were looking for that which doesn’t wash off at the end of a day, and won’t rob us of hours and dollars we already can’t afford as we seek to put our best faces forward.  These women gathered with their hearts full of the desire to be real women, to discover what it means to be made in the image of God, and to live as we were created to.

Our culture and its icons promise big things.  With just the right tools and formulas, we can achieve the status of a goddess.  But for what?  I wonder if we ever get that far in our pursuit of this elusive brand of beauty we are spending everything for?  I wonder how many women think through their routines in search of the motivation behind the madness?  Maybe we should…

Please don’t misunderstand.  I am not of the camp that believes makeup is wrong and beauty is a vain pursuit.  Nor am I immune to the cultural messages and the very deceptive temptation to reach for just a little something more in order to achieve “the look” I think I need to.  I am, however, being awakened to a great divide which I believe women need to see.

There are, in all reality, only two brands of beauty.  There is the true, and there is the counterfeit.  And everything you and I pick up and put on in the pursuit of becoming more beautiful is going to lead us to either one side or the other. I wonder how many of us think about that when we pick up a tube of mascara with the name “Falsies,” or “Better than Sex”? Maybe to most it will seem inconsequential, or even silly.  But to the woman whose heart is filled with the Holy Spirit, and whose life has been fashioned by the God Who is true beauty, laughter will come with an ounce of grief that will tear at the fabric of her soul until she is awakened to the call for deeper, truer beauty.

The bottom line I am aiming to land at here is not one of greater divide. Ultimately, what was true in the Garden is still true for today: each of us is given the right to choose for ourselves what is right and what is not.  When it comes to beauty products and all that they promise to create, we have been given a plethora of choices, and a great part of the assault on true beauty is that so many of them don’t seem to be inherently wrong.

So what is a woman to do?  How are we to approach this issue of beauty in a way which leads us to possess a greater weight of authenticity and substance without sacrificing our appreciation for “options” and our “right” to explore those options which may not be considered forbidden fruit?

To answer that, I must return to the intimate connection we share in our origin, and to the cry of our hearts when we gather together in the search for deeper truth.  Because from these places, we encounter the fruit of both trees. There are women who stand up and speak all the right words, but don’t leave a mark on our souls.  They look impressive, and promise much, but their beauty is often only skin deep.  Painted on. Their influence, while appointed, is weightless.  I don’t say this to criticize, because for many years, I was just such a woman.  I didn’t know how to be any other way.  That is why I’m daring to write this today: because women need to know that our beauty is appointed to run deeper, at soul level.  We are meant to leave more than a temporary mark on the eyes of men and women.  We are meant to impact souls.

The good news is that there are also women who stand up and speak, who dare to live authentic lives, whose influence is saturated in a beauty so deep that their words and their actions reverberate in our souls and break through the layers of counterfeit we are wearing until we long for what they have.  Because what they have is deeper than a culture can produce or than money can buy.  They possess a life that has been purified by the blood of the God Who fashioned them to be fiercely beautiful, beyond what any product or label could create, and so have been able to avoid the compromises which would weaken the influence they’ve been appointed to carry and release.

Dear Woman of Breakthrough, God created you and I to not just wear beauty, but to be beauty.

This is just the beginning of a conversation I hope we will continue to have with each other, until we are all burning with a fire that leads us closer and closer to the purity we were always intended to walk in.  When I stand before other women, I don’t want them to walk away thinking I should have spent more time beautifying my soul than I spent beautifying my outer appearance.  Not for my sake, but for theirs, for what I could have deposited in their souls but did not, because I was too busy agreeing with a counterfeit of what I could have been.

What about you?  What does your beauty routine look like?  Do you spend as much or more time in the presence of true beauty, hoping to become more authentic every day, or do you spend the majority of your time in front of a mirror that projects an image which urges you to pick up products boasting lies that will rob you of real glory again today?

It’s a tough subject, but one I believe we need to to begin discussing, one we need to begin reclaiming.  Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, unless we give the beholder such a measure of authority.

Beauty belongs in the eye of its Creator, and you and I have the right and privilege to be fashioned in the image He has destined us to look like.  Why not start now, by asking God what you can do today to break agreement with the counterfeit images of beauty, and how you can step into the real thing? I’m going with you, in the pursuit that’s well worth its weight in gold.  Real gold.

Pray with me for deeper beauty, and let’s encourage each other to take off the false coverings and pursue the weightier measure of womanhood.

{Photo images courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com}


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