I wonder what my husband thought as he waited for me at the end of the wedding aisle? Over 25 years ago now... my choice of wedding dress was a bit more puffy and sparkly than what I might choose today. I wore a tiara, for goodness' sake! But boy, did I feel beautiful. He must have thought so too, because he didn't seem disappointed when my father handed me off.

I know this isn't exactly breaking news, but women live under a tremendous pressure to be beautiful. On the outside. The media is constantly using words like refreshed, rested, glowing, and youthful as the ideals of beauty. How many of you frequently feel and look tired or exactly your age? Me too!

The Outside Goes Away

Have you noticed that when you’ve lived with or known someone for years, you forget what they look like? I don’t actually see my husband anymore. Not his physical face, anyway. Not because I don’t pay attention to him, but because I’ve seen his outside so often that I now only see his inside. I don’t notice if he’s shaved, or looks tired, or needs a shower 😂. I only notice his inside- is he anxious, irritated, content? His inside is everything to me.

This is the side effect of having long term relationships- the outside fades and only the inside matters. My husband is more beautiful to me today than the day we first met. I know all his quirks, his fears, his wit, his joys.

Day 1 was all about the outside. Day 9,855 is all about the inside.

Isn’t that lovely? Long-term love makes the outside nothing, and the inside everything. It takes all the pressure off of things we can’t control, like genetic wrinkles and dark circles and fading hormones and hormonal weight gain and aging.  We want to be beautiful to those who love us. And we are.

The Inside Lasts

But- let’s be honest here- we do still judge by the outside, right? I look in the mirror and would greatly prefer the 30 year old me as opposed to the 46 year old me. The mirror provides new and interesting signs of decay on a daily basis. And I'm just getting started. I didn’t know sleeping on my face for 46 years would actually engrave permanent sleep wrinkles!

When I see a person who looks tired, or has aged normally- this is what I think: beautiful. Most times, this is a woman who has not bought $100 creams or gotten laser treatments or scheduled in plenty of self-care (and no condemnation if she has). This is a woman who is giving of herself to others.

She looks tired because she really is tired. She has been busy giving away her love. She has been cleaning and cooking and praying and working and encouraging and using her strengths and weaknesses to benefit others. She is over 30, or 40, or 80, and she’s invested her time and energy into the matters of inner beauty (love), rather than the outer. The same goes for men- working and providing and guarding and praying. Is there anything more beautiful?  

If you are walking around looking your age (or older), looking like you need a nap- I see you. I see the well-loved friends you have, the well-loved spouse, the well-loved children, the well-loved parents. And I think you are stunningly beautiful.

Outer beauty is fleeting. The people who love you with that heavenly type of “agape love” don’t even see the outside. They see your love.

A Full Beauty Replacement

The inside- now THAT will last for eternity. And in case you’ve forgotten, Jesus has made you beautiful. So, if you do use creams and lasers and supplements because you feel a little less than beautiful on the outside- well, He loves you then too. And if you fall short of loving others how you want to (like me)- He loves you then as well. Your true beauty is not measured by how you look, or even how you love. It's measured by how He loves.

Our real beauty, that inner beauty we possess- comes from Jesus. He gave it to us on the cross. A full-on beauty transfer. Like an instant plastic surgery makeover, without the plastic or the surgery. An inner makeover- except it was a complete beauty replacement. A gift to us.

Jesus- God Himself- the epitome of love, perfection, generosity, kindness, and mercy gifted us with His own beauty.

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (and all His beauty). When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:3, NKJV).

You are His beautiful partner in life, waiting at the end of the aisle to spend eternity together. Maybe you are even wearing a sparkly, puffy dress and a tiara. Or not. You take his breath away. Your beauty is a mirror of His own beauty.


Bottom line: it's the inside that matters.
And your inside is the beauty of Jesus.

 

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