Friday, March 29, 2013

embracing beauty

Another wonderful article for us ladies, I know the guys will appreciate it too. Most of the time an article I find on the web better expresses what I am trying to say, because writing is not my thing :) Whenever the topic of beauty in a young lady comes up, it sort of gets distorted & then everyone gets all hot & fiery because too much is emphasized on outer beauty. Ok, lets face it, a pretty face turns heads & it seems like "she gets all the guys" ~ Its a rare thing to find a girl who possess both;  pretty on the outside & beautiful on the inside, that is a packed combo! ~ however, beauty comes from within & that's what makes a lady drop-dead-gorgeous  :) It goes hand-n-hand. Again I've said this before, but its worth repeating, you can be beautiful on the outside & be extremely ugly on the inside, so take your pick. This is in line with one of my previous blog posts: 

The Debate about Female Beauty

Tim Challies, a popular Christian blogger, published his thoughts on women letting themselves go.” While he was careful to stress that “the beauty the Bible commends is the beauty of character more than a beauty of appearance,” he suggested that inner and outer beauty are actually inexorably connected, and concluded that women need to make the effort to remain beautiful to their husbands.
Another blogger, was disappointed by Challies’ refrain that “outer beauty reflects inner beauty” and that “a good wife will keep up appearances for her husband choosing an attractive sweater instead of the stained Mickey Mouse t-shirt.” She argued that
The Bible never demands that women be beautiful nor does it justify a man’s infidelity because his wife “let herself go.” If anything, it presents a fairly consistent picture of beauty as a passing pleasure. Challies and company are free to teach that women should stay beautiful for their husbands, but I wish they would stop referring to this teaching as “biblical” when it is not.
The discussion surrounding this issue was intense. Challies’ and Evans’ posts attracted several hundred comments. When Mark Driscoll mentioned my “What Not to Wear” post on twitter, Girls Gone Wise got flooded with so many visits that it temporarily downed the site. Incidentally, Driscoll took a whole lot of flak a few years ago, when he offered to take one for the guys, by decrying pastor’s wives for “letting themselves go.”

A Sensitive Issue for both Sexes

Woman’s appearance is a sensitive issue, because from a man’s perspective, a wife’s effort to be beautiful for her husband speaks of her care and respect for him, and communicates her desire to be sexually attractive and available for him. Making a reasonable effort to care for and beautify herself is a demonstration of her devotion. In his view, a lack of effort in this regard demonstrates a lack of concern for him. Bottom line – whether we like it our not, it’s important to our guys. Challies points out:
In all of these things, a woman ought to understand (and believe) that what a man finds (or ought to find) beautiful in his wife is more about care and respect and effort and availability than it is about figure and proportion. In too many cases a woman who lets herself go is simply symbolizing that she has let her marriage go. Conversely, care for herself shows her care for her husband, respect for him, love for him.
It’s even a touchier subject for women, because as Evans points out, “many are so burdened by the impossible standards imposed by our culture that they feel as though their efforts will never be enough.” Like Evans, I have never in my life met a woman who did not want to be beautiful for her husband.
When it comes to beauty, women react against the burden of expectation, the fear that they will fall short of the desired standard, the inevitability of decay, and the resentment that the script is different for men than women. A woman wants to be loved and accepted as she is. From a wife’s perspective, a husband’s attraction to/desire for beauty can magnify her feelings of personal inadequacy and insecurity, and she may fear that his love/acceptance depends on her ability to measure up.

Approaching the Discussion from a Different Angle

So who is right—Challies or Evans? Was Driscoll entirely off base in suggesting that it might negatively affect a pastor if his wife lets herself go? Or were his critics misguided in insisting that a woman’s lack of attention to her appearance should in no way impact her husband’s propensity to stray?
The stalemate in the discussion often boils down to the fact that women resent the fact that men are so attracted to beauty, while men resent the fact that women don’t make the effort to properly attend to it. So how do we resolve the impasse? In my opinion, we can’t hope to make sense of the question until we view woman’s beauty and beautification through the lens of the biblical typology of gender, and the eternal, cosmic meaning of sexuality.

Beauty has a Cosmic Meaning

Psalm 45 is a song celebrating the marriage of a Hebrew king to a foreign princess. But it’s also a messianic prophecy pointing to the relationship between Christ the King and His Church-Bride. The Psalmist notes that the king “desires her beauty”, and that the princess, in turn, makes herself beautiful—“all-glorious”— for him.
Scripture uses this imagery to illustrate how we are to make ourselves beautiful for our King. The Lord wants us to clothe ourselves in fine, spotless garments of righteousness—in holy character and holy deeds. (Rev. 19:7—8) He wants us to be beautiful, and through Jesus, we are!  The great story of the gospel is that God gives us the opportunity to clothe ourselves in the beauty of Christ. He provides the beauty- and we don’t need to work or strive to measure up, nor do we need fear that we will fail to meet the standard.
So what does all this have to do with our discussion about female appearance? It has a great deal to do with it. We live—as C.S. Lewis coined it—in the “shadow lands.” The earthly, physical realities of our lives are but shadows—copies—of true and heavenly realities (e.g. Heb. 8:5; 9:24-25). The physical and temporal exist to point us to the spiritual and eternal. And nowhere is this more the case than in the relationship between male and female.
Human sexuality is a parable —a testimony to the character of God and to His spectacular plan of redemption through Jesus. This spiritual truth is so magnificent that God chose to put it on display permanently. Everywhere. Men were created to reflect the strength, love and self-sacrifice of Christ. Women were created to reflect the grace and beauty of the Bride He redeemed.
I believe that men are “wired” to be attracted to beauty in women because our Heavenly Bridegroom desires the beauty of His Bride. And I believe that deep down, every woman wants to feel beautiful and desired. This is the way that God has created us as male and female—and the illustration points to something far bigger than ourselves.

Beauty is More Than a Passing Pleasure

Many scorn beauty as “a passing pleasure.” They think that the illusive, fragile, fading, temporary, and wrinkle-and-stretch-mark-prone nature of female beauty indicates that men (and women) should just “get over it” and focus on more important things.
Beauty is indeed a passing pleasure. But I think there’s a deeper meaning here that we dare not trivialize. The symbolic importance of beauty/beautification is not unlike the symbolic importance of marriage. Woman’s beauty, and all the broken, distorted ideas about it, will not so much pass, as give way—in the end—to that to which beauty points. There will be no marriage in heaven because the shadow will give way to the reality. Likewise, the illusive, fading, temporary beauty of women will one day give way to the breathtaking, spectacular, eternal beauty of the Bride of Christ.
The gospel doesn’t negate man’s desire to enjoy beauty and woman’s desire to be beautiful, but it does shift the focus of our attention beyond the symbol to that to which it points. When we consider the jaw-dropping picture painted by Scripture, it would seem that our Lord finds our desire for beauty not too strong, but too weak. We get all wrapped up with the earthly and the superficial and temporal, while the supernatural and eternal is offered us. Like an ignorant tourist who spreads out his towel under the picture of the umbrella on the sign, because he does not know that the sign points to the beach. We are far too easily pleased. (Again, a favorite C. S. Lewis thought)

Embracing Beauty

Followers of Christ know that the symbol is not even fractionally as important as the reality. But they understand that it is not totally unimportant either.
So girls, let’s give the guys a break. Let’s stop condemning them for feeling attracted to beauty and wanting us to make a reasonable and sustained effort in that department. And guys… give us a break. Please understand how very personal and painful this issue can be for women. It’s very difficult to stay engaged in fighting a battle we know we are destined to lose. The beauty of our youth will inevitably fade. And most of us don’t have a hope of even remotely resembling the airbrushed model on the cover of the magazine.
And let’s always remember that the whole issue of female beauty is merely a signpost. It’s reminder to all of us—male and female—that the King desires our beauty, and that we ought to carefully attend to our character, and to making ourselves spiritually beautiful for that great destination wedding on the other shore.
In my opinion, the answer to the conundrum surrounding the discussion about female beauty is not to diminish or deny its importance, but to exalt and embrace the all-surpassing beauty to which it points.



    This is a huuuuuge issue for me. Women NEED to make an effort to look good for their husbands. I agree 100% with Challies. It is truly disheartening to see women who were always put together turn into slobs after marriage. The clincher for me years ago was a conversation with other teen girls who were talking about a young mother we had known since before college who had succumbed to the "tired mom" look. One of the girls was like, why in the world would I want to get married and have kids for that? It just stuck out at me what a negative impact this can have on single girls. Now as an adult, I have more compassion on these young mothers, but it really doesn't take that much to get ready every mom always does and it just makes you feel better (have to say I'm horrible at it, so not judging anyone, LOL...habit I'm trying to cultivate here (getting ready, I mean...ha)).

    So yeah. It *does* matter to husbands. On the other side of the subject, I think too much emphasis is put on "inner beauty, who cares what you look like", which often results in Gnostic-like sloppiness. We also have our testimonies to think about, which like it or not, is judged by how we look. It's just the way it is in our culture. I also feel that "beauty is wrong/sinful/worldly" (yes, I've heard this personally before) can be an excuse for women/girls who aren't as pretty as others to feel justified that they're more spiritual than the pretty ones. There's SO much cattiness within conservative Christian women!!! I know I even struggled when I was younger, looking at gorgeous girls I knew and feeling jealous and then stuffing it up to, "Well, *I* would never wear that thing she's wearing...I thank thee O Lord that I'm not as 'worldly' as she is!!!" Siiiiigh. :)

    So anyway, good post. :)

    1. Well, you have left me with nothing else to say :) haha... youve said it all & I agree! Preach it sista! :)

  2. I had no idea that this even mattered in this way to men until I read a bit of "For Women Only" (can't remember who wrote it at the moment...). I had always thought that men wanted a girl with a figure like a model, etc., but never really realized that it makes them so happy to have someone who *tries* to take care of themselves and remain beautiful for them. I can only imagine how a man must feel knowing that his wife cares enough to take care of herself :) That knowledge would make me feel so loved (though I imagine the man would feel more respected :) ).

    1. Good points, Hannah, so true. Yes, it does matter, doesnt it? We get all fancied up to be noticed, then we get the guy & just dont take the time to care anymore. This goes for the men too!

      blessings ~

    2. I must add, your photo is truly lovely btw :)

  3. Thank you for this post. I was just feeling bad about some of my clothing choices as they were very cute and beautiful- while still being so modest (wahoo for finding clothes like that!)- and starting to think that I was spending too much time and money on clothes when I shouldn't have been. It was just Satan trying to tear me down again and I needed to hear this. That it is OK to dress with clothes that are pretty and feminine. I am all for saving money and being careful with spending (sales anyone?) but am realizing that the wardrobe can easily be added to and have items that will last for years and you will love that entire time.

    God has also shown me how we as Christian ladies by not dressing nicely (modest too) can drive our guys away to the world if we aren't careful. I am all for being different from the world and setting ourselves apart, but I don't think we have to do it in flour sacks with holes cut out for arms and heads!!
    This article did a nice job of explaining and differentiating the difference. :)

    Long ramble, but again. Thank you. I appreciated this post!