Saturday, March 3, 2012

Beauty Within

Do you remember the cartoon, Popeye the Sailor Man? What about his girlfriend, Olive Oyle? Olive Oyle was my dad’s affectionate name for me growing up…I occasionally hear it from him still. With that as a nickname, you can imagine how difficult it would be to believe that I was the slightest bit pretty, and never, ever beautiful.

For most of my life, I’ve not felt beautiful. I’ve been told by people things like, “your nose is too big,” or “you’re not pretty enough,” or “there’s someone else who is more attractive to me than you are.” The list could go on, but you understand.

There’s a group of people in this world who want me to believe these lies. They’re called advertisers. It’s estimated that we see anywhere from 400 to 3,000 advertisements per day (depending on which researcher you choose to believe, researchers can’t seem to agree on this one). But here’s something they can agree upon. 1 out of 11 of those ads we see are created by people who want me to believe that I’m not pretty enough.

Here’s some startling statistics from 2009:

  • 80% of 10 year old girls in America are on a diet
  • 80% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance
  • Frequent dieting increases the chance of being depressed by 70%
  • Liposuction increased 389% over the last decade
  • 1 out of 11 ads/commercials has a direct message about beauty
  • On TV, 1 out of every 3.8 commercials sends a message about attractiveness
  • In America, $20 billion is spent annually on cosmetics; $300 million on cosmetic surgery; $33 billion on dietary products

I’ve given my share to this dollar amount. Here’s what I’ve purchased with the hope that this product would do exactly what I was told it would!

  • Hair color
  • Shampoo
  • Hair product
  • Eye products
  • Foundation
  • Face cream
  • Weight Watchers membership card

And one more section of statistics. A scan of recent research, polls, and surveys suggest that:

  • The average women is 5’4”, 140 to 145 lbs., and wears a size 11-14 dress
  • Store mannequins are 6’ tall and are approximately 34-23-24
  • The average model is 5’11” and 117 lbs.
  • 25 years ago a model would typically weigh 8% less than the public, now it is typical for a model to weigh 23% less than the average woman

Beauty is an obsession in our lives. And I believe God wants us to be beautiful. He believes we are beautiful! But it is difficult to separate our thinking from what God tells us and what the “world” tells us. Remember all those statistics? I believe the only way we can do so is by spending more time with God than with the media. By being influenced more by God than being influenced by our culture. And we know how to do that. Bible study, prayer, worship…these will infuse God’s beauty into our lives.

We may not be spectacular or particularly beautiful on the outside. Perhaps even rough and plain. But there is a treasure of God’s beauty within. As we continue to study God’s Word and spend time with Him, His Spirit is polishing our inner “crystals.” We are becoming more beautiful each day. Our inner beauty will far surpass our outer beauty when we allow this transformation to take place. I pray that you’ll listen to what God is telling you. I have!

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, 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)

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a)

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,


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