1 Peter 3:3-4- Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments and fine clothes. Instead, It should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.
Growing up we shopped for clothes at what my mom called “The Best Kept Secret” which is more commonly known as the Salvation Army or the Rescue Mission. My mom was really good at stretching a dollar. She was given little during and after the divorce and she made the little she had make a huge impact. I never had the cool, stylish clothes that I saw a lot of the other kids having. In grade school, this didn’t matter- everyone was happy and we were all friends. I don’t know what happens scientifically, but once you hit middle school kids are jerks. If you don’t have the trendy clothes you get made fun of. If you are a girl and aren’t wearing make up yet you are a loser. If you are a little overweight you are an outcast.
It’s awful. I knew that I was loved. I knew that I had more than I needed, but it was never enough for a while. I didn’t want to be the nice girl who people liked on the surface but made fun of when her back was turned. When I hit high school, I was lucky to find a good circle of friends, both in school and outside of school and the clothes and the looks didn’t matter as much. The jokes and malicious behavior of the “cool” classmates didn’t sting as much. High school was also a time where I was super close to God and was beyond on fire.
There are times now where I like to get dressed up and look pretty. It’s become a confidence boost. More times than not however, I am usually found with my hair in a messy bun, converse, jeggings and a hoodie- it’s how I feel comfortable. Basically, I am presentable but not flaunting anything.
Now why should beauty consist of what is inside the heart? For one, the heart is the seat of our emotions, but in both the Old and New Testaments the word heart is used to describe the innermost part of the human. In Proverbs 4:23 it calls the heart the center of our being. In many passages the heart is what God calls us to use to show our faith and believe in Him. The heart is where we battle over right and wrong. Scientifically the heart is the center of our physical being, it pumps blood through our entire body and beats to literally keep us alive.
God wants us to hold our beauty close and inside so that we can honor Him. He wants the beauty that is within our hearts to pump outwardly as we act on faith and help others.
I don’t want to just sit still and be pretty to the world. I want my beauty inside shine through and let me be used by God. I also don’t want people in my life who only care about what I look like or what I can do for them. I want to just surround myself with the friends who truly care and know me. I want to surround myself with Jesus. External beauty will eventually wither into distant memories. Wouldn’t you rather have a beauty inside that is timeless and cherished by God?
I love old music, Motown especially when I was a teen. When I felt small and ugly I would blast “Beauty is Only Skin Deep” and belt it out at the top of my lungs. Now that I’m older, I’m still greatly enjoy this song, but I’m starting to feel that beauty is only heart deep. What’s on the outside really doesn’t matter. Beauty is what we hold closest to us in our hearts if we fill our hearts with Jesus and stay true to Him. My value is in Jesus, not in make-up.