Friday, April 24, 2015

Beauty

 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7

Beauty

It for sure isn't everything but it definitely is something. Just ask any girl how she feels about it. She will for sure have some deep thoughts about the matter whether or not she admits it or not. And then ask the guys. Despite what the nice ones care to say "I would rather date an ugly girl with a pretty hard then a pretty girl with an ugly one any day", just look at their faces when they see beauty. There's something beautiful about God, something about beauty that makes us humans long for more, and something beautiful about being a daughter of Christ that we can all learn to embrace.

We often have a hard time grasping the equilibrium on the spectrum- or God's thoughts on the matter. Are we supposed to wear dirty clothes, pony tails, and forget to shower? Or what about spending hours doing our hair and putting on layers of foundation so we can be flawless. Does God care about our looks or does he only look within?

Covered in dirt, grime, and sweat was how I spent every day in Peru, some grosser than others. I woke up, rolled out of bed, put my hair in a high pony tail and served God. By ten o clock I smelled and my face was covered in acne. By evening time, I was a muddy mess of crusted dirt, too many awful smells, and clothes that reiked. We were all total messes.

I remember on the plane ride to Peru sitting by one of my guy friends and he asked me "What are you girls gonna do?" And I was like well what do you mean by that? He specified are you gonna wear makeup, did you bring straightners and curling irons, what about mirrors? I laughed. I didn't bring my straightener I said and we won't wear makeup, secretly thinking to myself, I was glad I brought a little foundation. I glanced over to another girl who was going on the trip, embarking looking like jungle barbie 101. She definitely brought her makeup. How is she going to survive? I wondered.

How was I going to survive? What would people treat me like being raw naked me, nothing to look better?What would it be like? Secretly I feared. What would living in the same house as a bunch of guys be like? Would we really all get along and become friends or would we click up like most other co-gender groups do? What would they think of me without makeup, smelly, and dirty. Would I even have any friends? I was gonna look so ugly... oh my.. I thought-

Yet something amazing happened in Peru called we forgot to bring our mirrors. I praise the Lord for that fact- that it was three months into our journey- before a girl had a small four by six mirror mailed to us all the way in the jungle. When we forgot our mirrors us girls made a silent truce, if we all don't do our hair and makeup- we'll all rock this jungle look together. And rock it we did. Bandanas, crazy clothes that didn't match, crazy braids, high buns, multi colored and snowman scrubs, we wore whatever we wanted too and didn't give a second glance about our appearances. And honestly something amazing started to happen. We remembered to be ourselves and we started to shine from the insides instead of the outside.

Freedom was experienced like never before. Especially for one of my best friends I made in Peru, who had always wore makeup back in the states because she felt pressured too. She loved being herself in Peru and not having to worry about who she had to look like or impress. Honestly, we all did. And we began to see ourselves differently too as well as the people around us. I began to see the hearts of love in the girls that accompanied me to Peru and honestly as I saw Jesus in them their faces and bodies became more and more beautiful to me.

The guys- now your probably wondering what they thought. Especially when some of us girls conveniently "forgot" to shave our legs multiple months at a time- I know I know it's disgusting. But when in Peru do what the jungle girls do. But honestly, the guys were awesome helpers to our insecurities and taught us to be ourselves. They encouraged us that we were beautiful even when we felt like sweaty messes and they challenged us to find our true identity in Christ.

BEAUTIFUL- The word brings many images to my mind. Pictures of girls who are anorexic and bullemic yet always seem to be looking perfect- that perfect I fear I can never achieve. Or images of girls with straightened hair, pink lip gloss, and scarves who never leave home without their bubblegum. Yet it also reminds me of children so precious and innocent- little girls who know their worth is not skin deep and their eyes radiate joy like a wildfire. Beautiful makes me think about salads, working out, running, spending time putting on makeup, straightening or curling my hair. When I say the word beautiful I find my eyes looking around the room to that girl that just seems to have it all together. I wonder how she keeps up that show.

In Peru we went on town trips a couple times a week and once in a while we would stop at a place in town that had really big mirrors. And like conceited missionary Americans we would run to the mirrors like they were lollipops and look ourselves up and down. It never made us feel any better. Instead we groaned and cried.. Oh my skin, oh my stomach, on my hair- why didn't you tell me I looked this terrible?

And I think we all looked at each other with understanding hearts and said "Would it have made a difference?" Our beauty was being real with one another, our beauty came from laughter, and hugging orphans, and giving Bible studies until the sweat was dripping down our faces and our smiles were contagious. The kind of beauty that Christ asks us to manifest first comes from within first and is manifested to the outside.

I think as girls we are faced with many temptations and pressures from the media and society as to how we should look all the time. When we begin to look at our appearances too often, we become self-absorbed. On the other side of the spectrum, God created us all beautiful in different ways and I believe as girls we should try to radiate that beauty from Him. Being beautiful is going to look and feel different for different people but we should pray that our beauty can reflect our King and our heavenly Creator.

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