Monday, January 10, 2011

Mental Vitamins: Beautiful In His Eyes

I recently began reading Beautiful In God's Eyes by Elizabeth George and so far I am really enjoying it. I plan to do a more in depth review once I finish the book but did want to share a little bit from it today with you.

The book focuses on the Proverbs 31 woman from the Bible. For those who have not read Proverbs 31, it is the story of a mother sharing with her son the qualities he should look for in a wife.

It is important to remember that the Proverbs 31 woman was spoken by a woman. These are not the words of a man expressing some personal, unrealistic fantasy. It is a woman's opinion of what a woman should be. This list of noble qualities is based on what God sees as beautiful, not what the world views as beauty.

God's idea of beauty is much different from what you and I consider beautiful and is certainly far different from the world's view of beauty. God Himself tells us "My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways...My ways [are] higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9) Just as God is in a category of His own, so is His idea of beauty!

Today's society wants us to believe that our outward appearance is what defines beauty. But God says "Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion." (Proverbs 11:22) In other words, a woman can be physically pleasing to the eye, but if she does not exhibit modesty, humility and discretion then her beauty is a shallow exterior that attempts to hide (but ultimately magnifies) her unattractive character. True beauty comes from within. It cannot be bought, it cannot be faked and cannot be seen simply with the eyes. God's beautiful woman is:
  • Pure—She is a woman of virtue (Proverbs 31:10).
  • Honest—Her husband trusts her (verses 11-12).
  • Industrious—She is busy from sunup to sundown managing her interests and expanding her enterprises (verses 13-19, 21-22, 24, 27, 31).
  • Thrifty—Her skill with finances enables her to care for her loved ones and increase her property (verses 14,16)
  • Strong in character—she faces the daily challenges of life (and death) with undaunted courage (verses 25, 29)
  • Kind—Compassion for the unfortunate governs her life and sweet speech flows from her lips (verses 20, 26).
  • Wise—Walking in wisdom is her way of life (verse 26).
  •  Holy—She wholeheartedly loves the Lord (verse 30).

These internal qualities enable God's beautiful woman to manage her life, her time, her money, her mouth, her home, her relationships and her self.

After reading this, I realized that I personally have a lot to work on. For example, I am not busy from sunup to sundown. In fact, mornings and me don't usually greet each other well. In all honesty, I can be a bit lazy. I also would not claim myself to be very wise. I am in constant pursuit of it by reading and researching but can say with certainty that there is so much more I need to learn. And there was a time in my life that I would not have viewed myself as a virtuous woman. But the beautiful part is that we are blessed with second chances and it doesn't matter what we've done or where we've been but what we do and where we go from here. Today marks a new day where we can begin living in a way that emphasizes our value and is also pleasing to God.

A rare, exceptional, extraordinary treasure—such as a woman of strong Godly character, does not happen overnight. It takes time—years of dedication, determination and discipline. The guidelines for becoming one of God's beauties are in front of us. Reading the Bible and understanding our purpose cultivates beauty. We will never have it all together. I will be the first to admit that I don't have it all together. But we don't ever need to feel overwhelmed by God's standard for beauty or that it is an unobtainable goal. The fact that we are making an honest effort to achieve these internal qualities and follow Christ makes us beautiful in His eyes.

I plan to share more on this subject in future posts. But for now, I hope this finds you encouraged and you can be assured of my prayers.

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