Women are relational beings. We were created to be emotional, loving and compassionate. We were made with a desire to be in community and to have relationships with those around us. With this desire to have relationships and be amongst people, comes the desire for acceptance and love. This broken world has caused women, like myself, to seek this acceptance through ways that are unachievable. This broken world has caused women to have a warped perception of what it means to be worthy of love and how we are to gain the love of others. This broken world has caused women to believe that being worthy of love and being beautiful are related. The culture in which we live creates an ideal that women are supposed to fit into that is considered “beautiful”: thin AND curvy, modest AND sexy, flawless AND unrefined. These standards of beauty – set by our culture – often contradict each other and are unrealistic. God tells us, ladies, that we are not supposed to base our worth and beauty on our outward appearances, but on our character, our beauty within and our love for Him. In 1 Peter 3:3-4 it says:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Ryan broke these verses down for us at Awakening this last week, and I want to share that with you. I think that in order to fully understand what God is trying to tell us we need to understand first the meaning behind the words that He uses. First, the word beauty in this passage is assumed. It is a statement that women are naturally beautiful by design and do not need to try and become beautiful. It is a statement of truth and is explaining where our beauty is. The closer you get to God the greater beauty that you have; it does not diminish, it grows and becomes more radiant. The intrinsic value that you were created with is there forever. Lastly, the “beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” refers to meekness, humility, strength under control and having a well ordered life. This does not mean keeping quiet and letting people control your life; this is about knowing who you are and that you are beautifully made in the image of God.

God does not make mistakes. He has designed each and every one of us, ladies, and He made the choices that He did for a reason. You are beautiful! God created you in His image, and He is beautiful, strong, courageous and valuable – He created you the same! You are a reflection of Him, not of the American cultural standard of beauty. He is the ultimate standard of what it means to be beautiful and loving, and He graciously created us to be like Him.

I challenge you this week to meditate on your view of yourself. Ask yourself these questions:

*Do I care more about what others think of me, than what God thinks of me?

*Am I trying to look beautiful or am I trying to be beautiful? (outward appearance vs. inner self worth and character.)

*Am I captivated by God and how He made me or am I obsessed with adhering to the pressure of the American cultural standard of beauty?

*Do I have a proper sense of self-respect? Or do I perceive myself the way pop-culture does?

My last challenge is this: get rid of anything that degrades women! (music, movies, magazines, conversations, etc.) When we talk about and surround ourselves with things of this world that project a false image of what women are and how they should be treated, we set ourselves up for failure. We will begin to believe these false truths and allegations and will strive for things that are impossible to achieve. But if we surround ourselves with love, truth and a proper image of who women are, we will begin to respect and love ourselves for who we are.

Author: Laura Watkins

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