Read His Words Before Ours!
Ugh, another red dot…at my age?
I spent an hour doing my hair today and no one noticed.
My clothes won’t fit; I need to go to the gym.
We’ve all had those times of looking in the mirror and not liking what we see.
It doesn’t take much looking around to discover the world has dragged us into a place where beauty is necessary to survive.
Television commercials, magazines, billboards, and even friends and family sell us on the necessity of beauty. Buy this product, eat this food, go to the gym, wear this outfit; the taglines scream from everywhere.
We must have that make-up, that membership, and those clothes. We buy new clothes and use a new beauty treatment only to watch the trend fade.
The world has tossed women to a pack of wolves by defining what is beautiful by what is fleeting. It feels as if we’re always on the stage of the beauty pageant, waiting to hear where we stand. First, runner up, less than perfect, or worse…last.
Undesirable, unwanted, and unworthy.
Beth Moore, a fellow champion for women to be esteemed with the value God ordains, shares transparently on how tough it is to be a woman. It is tough living in a world where beauty is valued by status. It is tough living in a world where beauty is treated as something you are entitled to or something you earn. It is tough to fight against the need to be beautiful instead of being the woman God wants us to be.
This fight to be beautiful isn’t new.
The need to stand above the rest, be noticed, and valued are battles women have waged for centuries. In this chapter of Esther, we find a king looking to replace his banished queen.
He didn’t walk the city and randomly select a pretty face or a hardworking handmaiden. Neither did he scour the synagogues to find a woman of noble character. This decision was intentional and calculated, hinging on one criteria, his enjoyment of her appearance.
And he wanted the very best.
The king ordered all eligible maidens to the palace to begin eliminating “lesser beauties”. He designed his own beauty pageant where he would win first prize of the prettiest body, while she lost, being valued on gorgeousness alone.
One year of beauty treatments and special dietary regimes were implemented to smooth rough skin, clear imperfections, and fatten scrawny bodies. These ladies’ appearances were the result of real, regular everyday living, just like us. The arid climate and sun exposure led to dry skin and tan lines instead of the preferred pale complexion and supple flesh. Arms strengthened from everyday workloads and thin figures resulting from low food supply weren’t signs of beauty in this culture, but of poverty.
Where real life was evident, ‘beauty’ was applied.
After all these treatments, they chose clothing and jewelry to impress the king. Each woman visited the king for a single night. After their one-night-stand, they were sent away, not just from the king, but from the other women….and men.
Sexually soiled, they were now unclean. Whatever life and family they had known and loved before this night was now forever lost. Most ladies would never return home after this disgrace because they had no chance of marriage. The fate of these women was worse than being last in a beauty pageant.
Their dignity had been stolen as they were tossed out, discarded like trash.
Doesn’t this ancient dichotomy feel well-fitted to today’s message?
Either apply the beauty and win the comparison pageant, or be tossed aside as trash.
For Esther, the Lord used her beauty and her heart to win not only the favor of the King, but of the people around her as well. Esther’s outward beauty was enhanced by her kind and gentle heart; a ‘treatment’ no Persian aesthetician could touch.
Though Esther was chosen as queen, she wasn’t treated much better than the other woman. She had no rights other than the title, “Queen of Persia”. She was also Jewish, a people who had largely forgotten about their God as they blended with culture around them, and who probably also felt cast off from Him in the years since they’d been exiled in Persia.
Maybe you’re in a place of forgotten and unwanted too.
Transparently, I’m single and have never married; I’m tired of counting how many times I’ve been rejected and labeled “not worth it”. Someone here knows the sting of feeling undesirable when a husband walks out to find a younger version of beautiful. Or maybe you’ve worked hard for a promotion, only to be overlooked by someone “better qualified.”
The appearance of ‘beauty’ comes in many shades, and often, if we aren’t cultivating the beauty of our hearts first, we become a casualty of ‘cast off’.
God does not treat us this way!
We are not pushed onto a stage while God inspects every inch of us, exasperated by our imperfection. He will not toss us aside like trash, because we aren’t.
When God looks for beauty, He’s looking on the inside. (I Samuel 16:7)
He takes our brokenness and makes it beautiful. (Isaiah 61:3)
God doesn’t forget those the world has forgotten. (Isaiah 49:15-16)
We hear “not good enough” or “not valuable”, but God says we are more important than sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)
He sent His Son to save us from our sin because He made us for being treasured.
“The LORD has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession…”
When the world judges us for what we are, remember WHOSE we are!
Remember you are a beautiful treasure!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!