July 31, 2018
A Beauty Awakening
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. – Psalm 90:17
Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve got everything figured out and under control, only to find out that you have no idea what you’re doing? The confused, helpless feeling that follows can be enveloping and sometimes embarrassing. I found myself in this place some time ago when I first arrived in my husband’s native country in the South Pacific. Interestingly enough, the subject I was grappling with was “beauty.” I experienced a kind of “beauty awakening,” which brought me a good deal of surprise and a new appreciation for the subject.
When I first arrived, I wanted to make a good impression, so I reluctantly put away the western clothing I had brought and donned the local attire. Immediately I realized that my hair habits also had to change due to the intense heat and humidity and the lack of regular electricity. The hair dryer and curling iron I had brought were completely useless. I found all this to be a bit humbling and felt that what little sense of style I might have had by United States standards had immediately taken a serious nosedive.
While I was struggling to adapt to these changes, I asked my husband just what was considered beautiful in his islands. He thought for moment, grinned, and explained that in order to be beautiful, you needed to have smooth, light brown skin, dark prominent eye brows, and hair that reached past your waist. Having some gold teeth was also helpful, and being overweight was considered healthy and attractive. My beauty confidence plummeted. I had reddish, shorter hair, freckles, almost non-existent eyebrows, no gold teeth, and a thinner build. He definitely did not marry me for my looks!
While pondering my predicament, I decided to look more closely at what was considered attractive. I found that there are some characteristics in both cultures which anyone can possess if they choose. These begin on the inside and radiate outward, resulting in sparkling eyes, a sincere and ready smile, a joyful countenance, and above all, an aura of peace. These attributes collectively create an irresistible attractiveness.
This beauty can be found on the face of a brand-new child of God the moment they join our heavenly family. My feeling of inadequacy helped me to see how much I needed to stay in tune with God in order to obtain His beauty.
No matter how hard I tried, I would never be considered a beauty on the islands, but I could be a positive force in my family, and do my best to influence those around me toward Heaven. I needed to stay focused on Jesus.
One day we were visiting a different village and some kids asked me with sadness and concern, “What happened to your skin?” I was baffled at first and looked at my arms. “Oh.” I said with a smile. “These are freckles, kisses from the sun.” One girl shyly touched my skin and then looked at her hand. I could see by the expression on their faces that I had not convinced them that I was okay. With pity one girl shyly asked, “Will it go away?” “No.” I replied, “It’s okay. That’s the way God made me.” I was able to proceed and tell them about Him. Hopefully, they will always remember the day a lady with strange skin told them about Jesus!
If God shines brightly enough on the inside, our outward imperfections will be of little consequence. I want to be quick to smile and encourage others, pray for God’s guidance at the beginning of each day, and make glorifying God the motive in everything I do. When people see me, I want them to see the beauty of Jesus.