Beauty from Ashes

God knew before the dawn of time what each and every one of us would look like; He created us as we are for a reason. I know I have absolutely no right to stare at sickly-thin models, glance at myself, and wish anything to have their body. We are like clay in the Lord’s hands, and He molds us and shapes us as best he sees fit. As the clay, I cannot look at the Potter and insist he make me like all those other movie stars and music artists who may go on crash-diets or become anorexic or bulimic just so they look glamorous for the paparazzi.

The Apostle Peter instructs women in one of his letters to the early Christians not to go to great lengths to make themselves beautiful. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.” In our day and time, this would be translated as: not murdering our hair with the All-New hair products, not covering up our faces in layers of eye shadow and liner, mascara, blush, and lipstick, not stagger into debt because we just have to purchase that killer 300$ pair of  jeans.

The outward adornment is a hard struggle for a lot of girls. Thirteen was the age at which I started wearing “official” make-up: eye shadow and a tad bit of crappy, water-proof mascara. I remember thinking that the older girls just looked so cool in their make-up, so, why couldn’t I? Now, I shake my head at what I must have looked like. I also feel sorry for my mom during all those times I plastered on lip gloss and jammed on headphones to lip-synch to myself in the sun-visor mirror on car rides…

As I’ve grown older, my taste in certain make-up has changed, but the underlying reason for wearing it has not: appearance. It’s all about appearance. That worldly idea stuck so fast in my mind that it got the point to which I found myself carefully applying eye-liner and mascara just for a trip to the grocery store. For serious? Who am I kidding? What’s the point? Who am I trying to impress?

“Always be yourself. The ones who mind don’t matter, and the ones who matter don’t mind.” My true friends will not care if I fail to show up at their house in a stylish pair of boots, nice jeans, dressy blouse, snazzy jacket, perfect hair and airbrushed face. It’s fun to dress nicely sometimes, putting on make-up and doing-up my hair, but I should not be concealing myself behind a false mask. A friend once told me something that struck my fancy, and with little additions of my own it is: “You should only wear what accents the looks God has given you, not to pile it on and hide behind it.” Sometimes we get so caught up in perfecting our looks that we fail to recognize the natural beauty with which God has blessed us, that it doesn’t matter that we look amazing 24/7.

So while I go on jogs, or apply eye-liner, or curl my hair, or eat healthy, I have to keep in mind that I should do all of this for the glory of God and Him alone, not to impress that guy glancing at me from behind those boxes of apples at Wal-Mart, or so that I feel “equal” with all the other girls who seem to be the definition of gorgeous, or for any other ridiculous reason. Though satisfaction about my looks will be a struggle to obtain, I was formed by the hands of Lord God, and I believe He never creates anything without reason or purpose.

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