let your adornment be what’s inside—the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights.
-1 Peter 3:4
beauty comes from a gentle, gracious, settled, quiet spirit.
being honest (and when am i not brutally so), that was not incredibly appealing at first reading.
but rather, physical beauty is what i thought i longed for, and what i thought others were looking for in me. I want to look in the mirror and be satisfied with what i see. to be confident and settled in what was reflected. not pick myself apart and wish for difference and compare to beauty around me.
but what is confidence if not the root of all this. if others think that i am beautiful, that is the ultimate reflection, right? that will lead me to believe i am beautiful and have more confidence and feel better?
what if confidence is a settled spirit. trusting that settled spirit. a quiet spirit at rest. a satisfied spirit. to let go of other’s opinions, to be free from judging them, in my heart and out loud, and not to constantly be striving to prove.
another version of this verse says that beauty comes from a gentle spirit. well, gentleness is a fruit of THE Spirit… from God, part of my new nature… that means i have gentleness because i already have His Spirit….no longer needing to pray or ask for gentleness…it is freely given. a package deal. but i want it to be fully uncovered… operating from that fullness.
when i picture myself being gentle, it is being a peace maker… slow to speak. not demanding the center of attention or trying to prove anything. but settled. patient and humble, not thinking of myself as less than I am, but to see myself ONLY as God truly sees me. Gentleness, to be kind, to give grace, and to act in goodness.
i see Jesus inviting me to imagine. imagine myself down the road. to picture who i want to become. and i see myself. fully me. but fully more alive. more awakened to his Presence. more my TRUE self, uncovered. i see myself smiling. a lot. laughing. HAPPY and joyful (being settled in all circumstances… no matter what they are). seasoned with life. i think of how i treat other people. i think of how i look. somehow i look the same, but i FEEL like i am more beautiful. i am more pleasant to be around. more who i believe God is inviting me to become.
HEAR ME SAY THIS: I HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT HE LOVES ME NOW, JUST AS MUCH AS HE LOVES THE LATER MORE RENEWED UNCOVERED ME. He loves me on that journey. though that version of me is the REAL AND TRUE me. i am becoming more and more THAT ashley the more i become like Him. because when I reread the definition of beautiful, it is Jesus.
His settled-ness is captivating. And His beauty invites.
we as women (and honestly i would be shocked if men have missed it) all know and have experienced painfully the world’s standard of beauty. it is SO easy to fall into! the enemy constantly pushes me into comparison mode. he wants to steal, kill and destroy me, and if i were my enemy, i would be hell-bent on keeping me from knowing and choosing to believe these truths. it would change everything and dangerous would be an understatement against his dark kingdom if i fully believed all of this. and he is cunning; what better way to keep me from knowing this then to create a standard that is always changing.
pushing away the broken standards of this broken world, i think of some of my friends who are so in love with Jesus, that His Presence walks into the room when they do, they radiate Him and they are full of Captivating Beauty. they are most beautiful when they are not obsessing over their false sense of outward beauty, they are most beautiful when they are at rest with their appearance and the spirit. and in turn, i don’t see them as their outside as much… i get to see what Jesus sees… 1st Samuel says that man judges outside appearance but God looks at the heart. so i am praying for a perspective change, because God tells me that i will love people the way that i love myself. when i am self critical, self judgmental, self aware about all the wrong things, this is the extent i “LOVE” others!! and vice versa. but i choose the perspective of Jesus, to become free from that. i become more gentle and gracious. slow to judge. choosing to see both the beauty in me and the beauty of others.
and a gracious spirit. to give grace, to myself, to others. grace leaves no room for even a single judgment or comparison.
i choose to trust this truth. believe then see. venture outside the shires and risk this to be truth. (Lord of the Rings reference because 1. i love it 2. Arwen is a bad-ass beauty)
i will not spend one more second of my abundant playful celebration, life stuck in false comparison. my eyes are set on things above. my beauty-full windows to my settled shimmering soul eyes. heart eyes. green-blue-grey earthly eyes. waiting and expecting and alive in true settled beauty-fullness.
the more i walk along this journey, hand and hand with beauty Himself, the more I become.
a challenge to my beauty-full sisters: let’s go forth and stop comparing ourselves and others on a standard that doesn’t exist. let’s offer our strength and settled spirit and life giving vital beauty. let’s choose to love ourselves and each other. let’s celebrate every single part of what we have been given. lets drop the yardsticks of ever changing comparison. lets love ourselves! we are worth it! we shimmer and shine when we believe this. that we are beautiful because we are beauty image bearers. its at our core. we are beautiful because we are!
lets believe it and live full of beauty. it is who we are.
to becoming Love,