Proverbs 31:30 Charm can lie, beauty can vanish, but a woman who fears The Lord should be praised.
What you look like does NOT determine your value.
Have you heard that before? Probably so, and it’s true no doubt, but sometimes it goes in one ear and out the other. Why? Because over time, our society has convinced women that they’re only as valuable as their appearance!
Up until 1900s grandmothers and mothers mentored young women. It was all about character and inward beauty not outward beauty. There was a study done researching the diaries of young women before World War 1, which would be about 1914. In their journaling, girls rarely mentioned their bodies when it came to self-improvement or their personal appearance. When they wrote about themselves, it was always focused on how developing inward character, would reflect in their outward behavior. It wasn’t until around 1890 that middle class homes first began to have bathroom sinks with a mirror hanging over them. Also around the1920’s, home bathroom scales became available. Before that the only place a young girl could weigh herself was at the drugstore or the county fair. That’s when it all began to switch from being beautiful inside to being beautiful outside.
Prior to the roaring twenties, there was no emphasis on makeup or dieting to be skinny.
Don’t get me wrong, I love makeup, I wear it just like everyone else. I watch my weight to stay healthy, but the dieting craze today is over the top. Eating disorders in our culture are at an all time high. Society is pressuring our girls that to be accepted you must look and act a certain way! Girls especially face enormous cultural pressure from schools, magazines, music, television, advertisements, and movies. Not to mention last but certainly not least their peers!
But beware, society and peer pressure can cause you to lose yourself and develop a false self! A lot of girls lose their authenticity and get what we could describe as culturally scripted! They play a part that culture has scripted out for them. They go through life acting like someone they were not created to be or trying to look a way they weren’t created to look.
One of my favorite women to study on the subject of beauty and authenticity is Esther. Our image of her is generally a beautiful woman, lucky enough to be chosen as queen of Persia, who later saves the Jewish Nation. The fact is, much of this picture is inaccurate. The Book of Esther substantiates the fact that from the moment Esther was taken into the palace and for several years prior, her life was terribly difficult. In all honesty this beautiful young Jewish girl’s life was ripped out of her hands.
Did you ever stop to think that up until this point she had her own dreams and plans? Sure she did, but her culture changed her plans, but the culture didn’t change her!!
According to the book of Esther and its commentaries, Ahasuerus, king of Persia, announces his so called “hunt” for a new queen, after getting rid of Queen Vashti. The search which lasted several years, is actually nothing more than a beauty contest open to any girl in the kingdom. Esther does not come forward. She in fact goes into hiding hoping to insure she will not be called to the palace.
Ahasueras sends agents to every corner in the kingdom, to root out the eligible women who have not voluntarily appeared. Esther is discovered and forcibly enlisted as a candidate for queen.
“…Esther was brought (seized) to the palace, under the charge of Hegai, guardian of the women” Esther 2:8.
She is then forced into the king’s harem, receiving a full year of beauty treatments before her appointment to appear in front of Ahasuerus. Most of the women take full advantage of the cosmetic benefits the palace offers, but not Esther. She requests nothing beyond the minimum treatments. In other words, Esther does everything in her power to avoid being selected as queen and forced to live with a king who openly hates the Jewish people.
She had purpose, she was established, she was authentic. The girl had moxie! This is why God could use her! She was able to separate herself from the significance of being chosen as a Queen and remain true to herself and to her God.
Funny isn’t it? That’s what captured a King, it was God’s purpose and favor on her life that made her attractive. She feared God more than man. She refused to accept society’s right to define her, she remained authentic to herself and with it changed the destiny of herself and her people!
Ladies, don’t try to play the part that society has scripted for you. Be who God created you to be. You are HIS workmanship, not the world’s.
– Trudi Blount