As women, we naturally want to be beautiful. We want clear complexions and shiny hair; trim figures and feminine curves. None of that is bad. It’s not bad to want to look nice. But what happens when our desire to look nice turns into a hunger to attract? We want to be beautiful, but what is beauty? Is it found in our power to attract a man and hold him captive through lust? At what point might our thirst for outer beauty interfere with our ability to cultivate inner beauty?
Many of us have heard this saying from the Bible:
Beauty is vain.
Why is that?
Because it doesn’t last.
So, smooth complexions will eventually get wrinkly, shiny hair will turn dull, trim figures will get plump, and feminine curves will become hunched frames supported by canes. It can’t be helped.
If we spend all our energy in trying to be beautiful on the outside, it will be wasted; it will ultimately come to nothing. It’s like trying to invent a perpetual motion machine: there is no such thing. Everything in this universe is subject to deterioration, our faces and figures included.
How about being attractive? So many women want to attract attention. They want attention from males so they will feel wanted, and they want attention from females so they can make them envious and thereby feel superior. Isn’t it all vain and rather heartless? No man, no matter how attracted he is to a woman, will ever love her for what’s on the outside. I’ve never seen it happen . . . have you? A man might lust after a woman’s body, he might admire her beauty, but he will never respect her or truly love her for those things. Love comes from somewhere deep inside, somewhere noble and spiritual, close to the place where duty and honor, conviction and purpose reside in our hearts. A place where we hide and treasure that which we cherish, that which we would die for. Men don’t die for whores; they use them.
If we want men to love us, dressing in skimpy clothes and publishing skanky profile photos isn’t going to do it. Being women of character–women of solid, sterling, inner worth–will. My husband appreciates my face and my figure; he delights in our steamy marriage relationship. Those are important to him, and to me. But he loves me not for those things; he loves me for me. He respects me for the woman I am inside: my opinions, my beliefs, my loyalty, my kindness, my devotion. I think it is worthwhile to care for our appearance, for we (if we are sincere believers in Jesus) are the temple of God. But everything in moderation; we must not neglect our souls.
Hopefully, I do not appear to contradict my convictions through my interest in being a feminine woman: I am growing my hair out long, which at this point, is only to my waist; I am also investigating natural ways to obtain a healthy, glowing complexion; I do sit ups every morning in an attempt to tighten my abs and smooth out my gushy “mommy tummy”; I wear makeup every now and then; I try to dress nicely. But if I focus too much on those things, they could become idols to me, and divert my attention from what matters most. An imbalance will occur if we do not remember God’s words to us:
Not excessive or costly.
When we, as Christian women and followers of the Son of God, get dressed and do our hair and makeup, it should be with those goals in mind. If we are not modest, we dishonor our Lord. If we act or dress like shameless hussies, we dishonor our Lord. If we are not sober-minded–if we act in a senseless, foolish way–we dishonor our Lord. If we are excessive in our attempt to be beautiful through elaborate hair styles or gobs of makeup; or, if we are excessive in the way we dress by being too gaudy or “rich” (our clothing and accessories may not actually be expensive, but they may at least appear so), we dishonor our Lord. When I do my hair, yes, I want it to look nice. But, my aim is to find a practical way to keep it out of my face. So, if I do a braid, it will not be elaborate; it will be functional. When I do my makeup, I will always try to make it look as natural as possible while delineating and shadowing those features that I want to stand out a bit more; I won’t hide behind a mask. And I will build a simple wardrobe without spending a lot of money.
I’m not interested in attracting men other than my husband. I’m not out to prove that I’m more beautiful than other women. I do desire to please God. If I can do that while being beautiful on the outside, great! But what’s most important to me is what’s on the inside. It’s not that being attractive or being beautiful is wrong; it’s that we should be the most beautiful in what truly matters, and attractive only to the one man in the world a woman should be attracting: her own husband. As long as we have those things in place, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks; we can have a big nose (like I do), or a double chin, but stuff like that doesn’t make or break us. Truly beautiful women act and talk beautiful. Truly attractive women attract respect and honor.