Unfading Beauty

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Flaws or Uniqueness? We have a tendency to think less of ourselves than we should. We focus on the flaws and not on the good. I often say to myself that I have perfect feet, except for the missing arch. As a result, I think my feet look less than perfect in just about every shoe I like. And let’s not talk about my weight.

I came across a couple of posters on the walls at the YMCA. Two in particular caught my eye. The one in the women’s bathroom said: “Don’t look at those stupid magazines with those sticklike models. Eat healthy and exercise.” Another one said: “Don’t try too hard to fit in, you were born to stand out.” I stood and focused on those words. They remind us that the small group of people we see in magazines don’t set the standard. If that was the case, most of us would not meet the mark.

Those words also reminded me that God designed each of us uniquely. Instead of trying to blend in, we each bring something special to the world. We have different strengths and weaknesses. We should stand out in our own distinct way. Don’t be so quick to change your hair style, clothes, or attitude about something just to fit into the crowd. If you do, the world would miss out on the unique gifts and talents God gave to only you.

Social Media and Self-Image I recently overhead a woman talking about how she looks at social media to see how others are doing, partly to build herself up. She said she looks for the flaws of others to make her life not seem so bad. Unfortunately, this woman failed to realize that what people post and reality sometimes look very different. According to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula[1], “social media profiles rarely paint a complete picture — particularly because users rarely post about experiencing ‘distress’ or ‘anxiety.’”

What this young woman didn’t know is that she may have been comparing her real life to someone else’s ideal make-believe life. She is a beautiful woman doing well for herself. But sadly, her focus is only on her flaws and where her comparisons to others are perceived to fall short.

Durvasula says that, “We engage in social comparison, but they’re sort of comparing these ideal selves. It’s a contest to see whose ideal life is better than the other person’s…It’s exhausting. I think young people are actually exhausting themselves in the process of trying to outdo each other in these lives they are living online.”

Conclusion We focus on the outward, what people see, and that is not the only focal point. What women, including myself, seem to miss is that “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). Yes, we can be charming but our “beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4). The lifestyles portrayed in social media profiles should not control our perceived value or the status of our contentment. Instead of focusing on our flaws and comparing ourselves to others, we should pay attention to what’s beautiful to God.

It is time to focus on revealing your unfading beauty.

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/29/social-media-student-athletes_n_7470738.html

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