2.5 months later and we hit chapter 2! Wow, a bit shameful how long this has taken me, but here we are so let's power on.
Chapter 2: True Beauty and Our God
"refuse to accept our society's definition of beauty, or even the definitions that we ourselves may have worked with previously and decide that that which is truly beautiful is the character of God himself." -- Wayne Grudem
Like Wayne Grudem says, our definition of beauty, I think, is based much more often by how we see ourselves standing up next to that which is considered beautiful in our world. We define our beauty by our size, our skin, hair, wardrobe. Instead, our beauty must be defined by the very same thing that every other area of our lives must be defined, our God. "In order to know what true beauty is, we must see God." (pg. 27) Beauty is not an area of life that is completely separate from everything else. The character of God and the calling on our lives to imitate His character is to influence and direct every piece of our lives, including our view and our understanding of beauty.
"Frankly, though, we're not always that interested in God's beauty, are we? It's great quiet time contemplation, but it can feel remote and disconnected from our body issues and our wardrobe fails, our hair troubles and our complexion flaws, our acne and our aging......Once we see God's beauty, we will never see beauty the same way again." (pg. 28)
The wonderful thing that this chapter so consistently reminds us of is that our God loves beauty! He Himself is the ultimate definition of beauty and He created us with a desire for beauty. And through Him we can be free from the constraints of the definition of beauty our world gives and feel such a weight lifted off when we realize we don't have to conform to "our culture's ever-changing and ever-more-tyrannical definition of beauty." (pg.26). We are beautiful because we have been made in the image of the beautiful God. Our issues come in when we allow the sin of the world and the sin of ourselves to redefine our understanding of beauty. We have to fight against this!
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2
We have to be transformed....."let's take deliberate steps to limit worldly influences on our taste for beauty." (pg. 35) Let's pursue the beauty of our God and in that learn to love and treasure beauty like His above all. "When we behold God's beauty, we become like him. The truly beautiful woman is the one who contemplates the beauty of God. As she worships him for his loveliness, power, holiness, and goodness, she is changed. By the power of the Holy Spirit, her life radiates the beauty of the gospel." (pg. 35) When we behold God's beauty, when we pursue God's beauty, our desire for beauty will began to be transformed and as we seek to care for our physical appearance the goal will be His glory in the end and not our own. "And the beautiful woman is deliberate to reflect the beauty of God in every aspect of her life, representing him in her appearance and her character. She consciously seeks to glorify God in her heart attitude, how she cares for her body, what she wears, and how she makes herself beautiful." (pg. 35)
I just treasured the beauty, forgive the pun, of this chapter. It is truly a beautiful chapter about beauty because it is about our God, our Savior, our definition of beauty! Because we have been made in His image we are beautiful and when we can say "I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!" then we will know freedom from the bondage of a self-focused mirror.
"But a vision of God's beauty changes how we dress and exercise and eat. God's beauty reshapes our shopping and showering and showing off. It upends and undoes all our preferences about what is pretty and what is not. A glimpse of God's beauty makes all the difference in what we see when we look in the mirror. Once we see God's beauty, we will never see beauty the same way again..........
True beauty is to behold and reflect the beauty of God." (pg. 28)
I am loving this book, you guys. This chapter just hit my heart exactly as I needed it to. And I'm thankful for it.
What were your favorite portions of this chapter, lovelies? Oh, how I'm praying for each one of us that we will define our beauty through the lens of our Jesus and glorify His beauty just as it ought to be!