A women’s retreat I recently attended gave me the opportunity to reflect on beauty and how each of us, as women, can offer our unique beauty to the world.
Well, God may have given C.S. Lewis the inspiration for Aslan and the Chronicles of Narnia, and the Kendrick brothers the vision for Fireproof and Courageous, but He gave me nose hair.
This was totally not what I wanted to think about while I contemplated beauty—or ever. But the truth is beauty is a complicated thing.
Or is it?
Noteworthy is the fact that through scripture we know exactly what the Temple looked like. God gave very specific instructions on how it was to be built and how it would look. The same goes for the ark. God can be a detail guy when He so chooses.
But beauty, well there is a lot of it mentioned in the bible but no where does it describe for us exactly what it looks like in regards to outward appearances.
Eve reflected the divine perfection…and yet there is no description. No dimensions given. Was she short or tall? Thick or thin? Blond or brunette? Nothing. How about Esther or Sarah or Abigail? All described as beautiful, but still nothing.
My personal theory is that God doesn’t describe what beauty looks like because He intends for it to be something we feel, more than we see.
As I sat in my quiet time contemplating beauty, my mind went to young girls. From the time we are old enough to consider the question, as the females of our species, we want to know we have a beauty to offer. If we get honest with ourselves and look deeply at our question, we don’t want to know if we ARE beautiful because we recognize—even if only on a subconscious level—the subjective and fleeting nature of the outward appearance. We want to know that we HAVE beauty.
But what do we tell these young girls or women when they come to us for an answer? We tell them they are fearfully and wonderfully made. And that is true. But it lacks the power to satisfy as an answer to the question.
This is where the nose hair comes in. I’m pondering beauty and God whispers in my ear nose hair. Nose hair is, I suppose, fearfully and wonderfully since it is made as a part of us—who are fearfully and wonderfully made. But no one wants to talk about it, see it, or acknowledge they have it. Fearfully and wonderfully made isn’t the same as beautiful to those who haven’t yet discovered their beauty.
To know the answer needed, we must first understand what the question we are asking really is. So what do we want to know? We want to know that we possess something in us that stirs the soul and speaks to the heart the way a sunset captures our attention. The way a puppy melts our heart. The way the smell of rain in the mountains restores us, or the sun on a crisp fall day warms us.
Even if we don’t yet realize it, we want to believe we have a beauty that will be felt even more than seen.
Yes scripture tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made. But when we read that passage in context we continue on to read “Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” (see Psalm 139:3-4)
My soul knows very well.
The soul is where beauty is perceived. It is the soul that responds to that which is truly beautiful.
1 Peter 3:3-4 tells us “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
The beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. There are many things about my appearance I can’t change, but with prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit within me, I can seek to have a gentle and quiet spirit.
But if that still doesn’t help, then you might like knowing one source I read said “fearfully and wonderfully made” could also be rephrased as “I am an awesome wonder.”
You are an awesome wonder… with nose hair.
I'd love to hear from you. What things are beautiful to you? How do you perceive beauty?
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