By LESLIE LUDY
From eating disorders, to self-obsession, to provocative clothing, to unhealthy romantic flings, to pop-culture preoccupation, today’s young women are desperately searching for feminine fulfillment – but looking in all the wrong places. Chasing after sensual allure, short-term romance, worldly applause, and temporary pleasure leads to the counterfeit feminine beauty we see all around us today. Those of us who know Jesus Christ should be the ones showcasing the pattern for true femininity, but instead, all too many of us are only showcasing the empty pattern of this world.
When God first began to rebuild my understanding of feminine beauty, my entire outlook and value system had to change. For years, I had allowed pop-culture to define my understanding of feminine beauty, and I had inundated my mind with modern magazines, movies, TV, and the fashion industry – a world that values the “Victoria’s Secret model” appearance and attitude. Surrounded by peers who applauded self-obsessed, arrogant, sensual, and aggressive young women, I tried to venture as close to those standards as possible, while still somehow maintaining my Christianity.
Gently and quietly, God began to whisper to my heart. “I have a completely different pattern for your feminine beauty, Leslie,” He seemed to say, “one that reflects My glory and not the empty charm of this world.”
I have learned that it is only when we are unashamed to be different from the world around us that we can radiate with Christ-built beauty. And it is only when Jesus Christ becomes the central focus of our existence that our lives can truly change this world for eternity. When Jesus Christ takes His rightful position in our lives, we will radiate with His life, joy, and peace, and we will never regret for a moment the steps of obedience that lead us closer to Him.
The first step to discovering true feminine beauty is exchanging all that we are for all that He is. If we rely on something that we possess to make us beautiful, we cannot receive the supernatural, transforming beauty of Jesus Christ. True beauty is impossible outside of Him. If we obtain a worldly outer beauty, even if we become the most gorgeous, desirable, sought-after model in the world, we only have a propped up, hollow, fleeting appeal that quickly fades with time and age. Proverbs 1:30 says, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing.” Have you ever seen a glamorous movie star on the cover of a tabloid once she has become old and lost her beauty? All the appeal and allure she once possessed has faded into oblivion, and the only thing left is what she has on the inside – which, sadly, is not very attractive in most cases.
If we muster all the human heroism and try to become a “good person”, we only have a self-made, faltering form of goodness that can never stand against the stunning righteousness of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 64:6 says it perfectly: “…we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Any human beauty, any human value that we might find within ourselves is just a filthy rag compared to the limitless beauty and glory of Jesus Christ. Christ’s beauty is perfect. And, in spite of what we deserve, He desires to adorn us with His spectacular glory. It is not our unique beauty that must shine for this world to see. It is not our own beauty that we must discover and embrace – it is His.
If a soul has any beauty, it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us.
True feminine beauty is not a complicated formula involving hundreds of rules to remember. It’s not something that requires spending two years at finishing school or being groomed as a beauty pageant queen. It is the natural byproduct of a young woman who has emptied herself, given up her own life, and allowed God’s Spirit complete access to every dimension of her inner and outer life.
Remember, His Word promises that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. (See James 4:8.) You don’t have to strive or plead in order to gain His attention and help; rather, He is eagerly waiting for you to come running into His ready arms of love! He is ready and willing to shape you into His set-apart princess for His glory.