Monday, November 24, 2008

Sacred Intent

Elusive Allure

According to a recent survey by Dove, only 2% of women think they're beautiful. In this day and age when beauty is at its easiest to posses (through plastic surgery and "special" diets) that women feel the worst about themselves.

"As women, the desire to be beautiful is innate. We long to be seen as attractive, appealing, and desirable. We dream of capturing the heart of a noble prince with out stunning beauty, like the princesses in our childhood fairy tales. But our longing to be loved and wooed by a heroic groom didn't originate with Cinderella - it's actually a Biblical concept...Jesus is the only one who can truly satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts. And yet, most of us turn to everything but Him in a desperate attempt to find the approval we crave. And pop culture preys upon our longing for love like a relentless vulture. They keep dangling the carrot temptingly in front of us, urging us to spend our time, money, and energy pursuing the "next great thing" that will bring us one step closer to the dream."

And too often, we fall for it. I know I have. I've bought the clothes. Read the articles. Seen the billboards. Watched the commercials (and believed that I actually could have that absolutely perfect hair just by washing my hair with the special shampoo). We may not want to admit it, but more often than not, we allow our beauty to be measured by the world.

"We've been looking for beauty in the wrong place. And our incessant search for beauty has stripped us of all that is truly beautiful."

The Guy Problem

We try to accept ourselves for who God made us to be and appreciate our own unique beauty we are, meanwhile, we are completely assaulted by the world with lies that we aren't pretty enough, alluring enough or sexy enough. And the fashion industry isn't the only one to blame. Guys are a huge part of the problem.

"Most of today's guys - even Christian ones - have bought into Hollywood's standards of beauty, drooling over sex queens and scorning all things pure, innocent and uncorrupted. And living among them, we become convinced that we must scrape and claw to be noticed by guys, to cheapen ourselves to become desirable to anything male that moves."

The Secret Source of True Beauty

According to the world, beauty is gained through diets, tanning and lots of makeup. Well-meaning, but somewhat misguided, Christian voices tell us that beauty comes from within, all we need to do is accept ourselves the way we are.

Following the world's version of beauty gives us momentary applause, but as Proverbs 31:30 says, "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting..." worldly beauty only lasts for a time. Then it's gone, leaving us empty and broken, pretty to look at for a time, but hollow and fake on the inside. "Loving ourselves" and "embracing our own beauty" tends to be more of a cover up, for our deep longings, like a band-aid covering a head ache.

"Neither the world's version of beauty nor the modern self-esteem message truly fulfills our longings to shine with enchanting grace and princess-like dignity. And neither avenue meets that deeper inner desire to radiate with feminine beauty that never fades. But there's another kind of womanly beauty - one that we don't hear much about in today's world. It's the dazzling loveliness of set-apart femininity."

Being set apart doesn't automatically enlist you into the ranks of quiet librarians with humungous glasses and a book under their arm. It's not shunning all society. Or hiding from the opposite sex.

"Set-apart femininity blends the classic womanly grace and dignity of an Audrey Hepburn with the sacrificial, poured-out-for-Christ lifestyle of an Amy Carmichael. It's true feminine beauty merged with absolute abandonment to Jesus Christ. It's the sparkling, vibrant, world-altering, Christlike version of femininity that your King created you to exude."

"What is the secret to great living? Entire separation to Christ and devotion to Him. Thus speaks every man and woman whose life has made more than a passing flicker in the spiritual realm. It is the life that has no time for trifling that counts."

- Amy Carmichal -

1 comment:

Mary said...

Elisa, such sweet thoughts, it took a lot of time and thought to put this together, I am real proud of your effort. I just would encourage others to read and heed, to take advantage of your word gathering.
I love you, Dad