It’s a word that carries so much weight in our world isn’t it?
We worship and envy and strive for it. Sometimes it’s all we can think about and sometimes we desperately try to ignore it. Beauty can rule us and inspire us, and do both all at the same time. It’s is complicated. Or at least we make it that way.
Did you know that when you google ‘Beauty’ two definitions pop up?
1. pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically
2. of a very high standard; excellent.
It’s striking to me how contradictory these feel - the first seeming to suggest beauty exists and pleases, and the second that beauty has to be worked for and generated.
Which definition do you give the word most often?
See, I think we know beauty is real and alive and all around us. We see it in sunsets and the first buds of spring, we see it in art and music, and we even see it in each other. But when it comes to ourselves, the idea that we could simply be beautiful - that we were born that way and wake up that way every morning - seems like a complete joke.
When it comes to ourselves, I believe we think of beauty only in terms of the second definition: “of a very high standard; excellent”.
We’ve made a word that exists so naturally into something that has to be struggled and fought for.
When you think about the amount of time we spend on trying to be beautiful doesn’t it overwhelm you? The time we spend hustling at the gym and in front of the mirror and swiping our credit cards all so we can spend even more time worrying about the pimple or cellulite or love handle that could give us away.
Now, there’s a really important point in all this that can’t be overlooked. Working out and eating healthy and playing dress up can be really fun and healthy - the key is the mentality behind each. They only become negative when we believe we are less-than without them. When we believe we won’t be beautiful if we don’t make it to that 6am spin class.
There’s a Bible verse that says, “Consider the wildflowers, they do not labor and spin”. The idea is that these little flowers are fantastically beautiful, dressed in rich colors of the whole rainbow, dancing in the sun, but they don’t force themselves to vibrant shades of blue and pink and purple. They don’t stand there with gripped fists saying, “I must be beautiful!!”, they simply blossom.
What if we lived like this?
What if we believed that as women we were made beautiful, no assembly required?
What if, like the wildflowers, we did not “labor and spin”?
What if we just blossomed?
I believe spending less time striving to be beautiful means giving yourself more time to grow into the woman you were made to be. And the incredible thing about that is the woman you were made to be is “aesthetically pleasing to the mind and senses,” she is beautiful in her very own delicate way. And, just like the wildflowers her beauty has the power to inspire joy and creativity and peace and laughter in a world that needs it so much.
You were made to be beautiful, let it be.