After scanning a fashion magazine for a mere three minutes, 80 percent of women immediately experience a smothering attack of insecurity; after three images, their perception of self-worth is distorted by only a few images.
I read this statistic in a book store just last week, and have not been able to get it out of my mind. I suppose it's because I, too, have felt the discouragement of self-comparison and scrutiny. Realistically speaking, I suspect it is a struggle for every woman. In a world driven by lust and vanity, it is too easy to forget that external perfection does not guarantee love---we need look no further than Hollywood's tragedic relationships to understand that! Not to mention the heart's natural inclinations. I can think of no little girl whose first wish isn't to be a beautiful princess; that desire resonates throughout her life unto the end. Although it sounds terribly cliché, however, external beauty fades, with only the internal beauty (or lack of) remaining. The commonality of such a phrase and the apparent negligence to be transformed by it reveals the dullness of our hearts and minds in grasping Truth. Myself included. Yet, I am reminded of the story of the young David from the first book of Samuel, chapter 16 .
The prophet Samuel looked to God's guidance in appointing a new king over Israel. Out of all of Jesse's sons of Bethlehem, little David was chosen, though Scripture clearly references that he owned neither the stature nor the prominence of his older brothers. The Lord explained His decision: "Look not unto his countenance, or on the height of his stature, for the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (v.7)."
Society sadly misses the beauty of godly character; however, we, as Christians, should not. Though our culture demandingly screams that we adopt the world's values, Scripture warns that death is the end-result of sin. We need consistent reminding that it is Christ who gives us a crown of beauty---and it is God's love which gives us any worth (Ephesians 2:4).
As a fellow woman, I wrote this with women of all ages in mind. I honestly and adamantly believe that this topic relates to every stage of life as it is a very natural thing to gravitate towards beauty. In many ways, this is actually a divine desire. After all, He makes everything beautiful in its own time. Beauty, though, is not in the eye of any beholder---someone is only beautiful if the Beholder declares her so!
A few suggestions for remembering our biblical value:
1. Stay in God's Word. Engross yourself! Trust in His perception in all things, and not on your own (Proverbs 3:5-6).
2. Stay away from fashion magazines! The models presented are not in the practice of supporting modesty, and would directly counter your biblical convictions. To godly men, modest is hottest.
3. Set before yourself only media choices which are pure and good (Philippians 4:8). Characters in movies and books have great influence on our thinking, and inevitably provide spiritual impact. Consider truly beautiful, literary figures such as Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, and the biblical sisters in the faith Esther, Ruth, and Rahab!
4. One last note. The person that you admire tells a lot about your heart. Who do you research most through search engines, etc.? Would they "pass" God's test concerning pure hearts?