How Beautiful You Are!

“How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!” – Song of Songs 4:1 NIV


photo art: Raye Wortel

photo art: Raye Wortel

The One who created the heavens and the earth in all their magnificence created you. And if you are His beloved and most prized possession – loved more than any rock, cosmos, or sea, why do you believe you are anything less than beautiful?


The man in front of me in the checkout line took notice of the cashier’s many tattoos. He asked her if they were new.


“No.” she said, “I usually wear a jacket to cover myself up.”


 “Why?” he asked.


“Well, I’ve gained some weight since losing a bunch, and now I’m not happy with the way I look.”


The man knew then he had wandered into dangerous territory. I caught his glassy-eyed stare as he turned inward for a moment trying to recall how he got himself into this situation. If I stood any closer, I might have seen beads of sweat form on his forehead.


Realizing escape was his only viable option, he pushed his growing panic aside, and made a quick “let’s end this conversation” reply:


“Well…don’t worry, summer is coming and everyone loses weight in summer.”


Well done. I’m sure her spirit deflated just a tiny bit.


My husband would call her statements “fishing” and I agree.


I do it. She did it. And I’m guessing you’ve done it too.


Fishing is when we look to other people to validate our worth and beauty. We drop comments like well baited “hooks”, hoping to reel in the perfect catch of affirming words from loved ones, friends, or even strangers.


“You’re valuable.”


“You’re needed.”


“You’re beautiful.”


As the man walked away (no doubt with shaky legs and sweaty palms), I watched the cashier take in his comment, and likely assign it to some “failure file” inside her mind where she can call it forth and mull it over, time and again.


We’re really good at stewing over our perceived imperfections and lost accomplishments.


I rolled my cart forward. Sensing my presence, she turned her attention to the fruits and vegetables I had placed on the counter. And in the midst of asking if I’d prefer paper or plastic, I leaned in, looked her in the eye, and whispered, “You are beautiful.”


Tears welled in her eyes, but I could tell they weren’t of joy in hearing words of approval and acceptance. They were an honest and secret plea:


“When will I ever believe those words?”


Our fixation with outward beauty fascinates and frustrates us to no end, and I mean that literally. There’s no end to our mirror glancing, Spanx buying, and salon going foolishness. It’s a road we keep wandering on in search of what we truly want:


A God-created, spirit-rich, light-producing, soul-shaping, and age-defying kind of  beauty.


The trouble is, we keep layering our outward selves with trinkets and treasures hoping our inward self will feel just as shiny, and pampered, and loved. But God says don’t bother yourself with such things:


“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT)


Of course we should take care of our appearance, after all, a wife of noble character “…dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.” (Proverbs 31:22)


And in her book The Power of a Praying Wife, Stormie Omartain reminds us “Being attractive doesn’t just happen. Even the most gorgeous women in the world do much to maintain their attractiveness. Queen Esther was one of the most beautiful women in her country and she still spent a year beautifying herself before she met the king.”


Our trouble comes when we concern ourselves with outward beauty. A quick look at a Thesaurus shows another word for concern is burden. We burden ourselves worrying about our earthly tent while neglecting our soul.


Time spent in the radiance of God’s Word produces an unfailing beauty within us that shines outward.


Matthew Henry once said:


“How fair and comely are believers, when justified in Christ’s righteousness, and adorned with spiritual graces! When their thoughts, words, and deeds though imperfect, are pure, manifesting a heart nourished by the gospel!”


Look for beauty in the right places, friend. Not on clothing store racks or at the makeup counter, but on the pages of the Bible.


Let Him lean in, see your face, and whisper to you, “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!”

8 Replies

  1. Pam

    A wonderful reminder, Raye, of where our true worth comes from. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and eloquence with us!

    1. Raye Wortel

      Thanks so much Pam, I appreciate your kind words.

  2. Jackie Rhoden

    Great reminders as we all are so hard on ourselves and the image we have of what we would like to be versus what we presently are dealing with is often quite different and discouraging at times. Thanks and bless you lots.

    1. Raye Wortel

      You’re right Jackie, we are so tough on ourselves. I was reminded today of a quote from Philip Yancey’s excellent book What’s So Amazing About Grace?. In it, he said: “How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible’s astounding words about God’s love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?”. Revealing words for sure!

  3. Karen Uribe

    Love, love, love this post!!!! I so needed to hear this as I am having a “very fat” morning! I work on the weight issue daily, I have lost 135 lbs and yay for me but I’m still looking in the mirror wondering when I will have that “perfect” body and struggling every day with the food issues. So thanks again for reminding me that God loves me anyway!!!!

    1. Oh Karen, you are beautiful! I’m glad this message lifted your spirits today.

  4. Devery

    Outstanding, Raye, once again, and I’m so glad to have taken the time to pour over your wisdom.

    1. Thank you Devery, I appreciate your kind words and your time in reading today’s post.

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