“…the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (I Peter 3:4)
This is a story that’s hard for me to tell because it comes from deep inside, although it is caused by how I perceived my own outside appearance for many years, my outer beauty. I turned 39 years old a couple months back now and still have acne issues. For many years during my late teens and early to mid-twenties, I had long bouts of severe cystic acne which was impossible to hide with makeup and physically very painful.
At times it would completely consume my thoughts and make me anxious to go out in public (even with layers upon layers of makeup on) because it garnered attention – not always negative attention but obviously I looked different, whether I tried to hide it with blotchy makeup or just let the large red nodules show. Heck, I felt different on the inside too. I anguished over it all through my teens, twenties and into my early thirties when flare-ups would come and go without warning.
Then I had my daughter – my real life’s treasure, and realized how trivial to true beauty my acne issue was. I realized how much of my time it consumed to hide it and how much of my mind it consumed thinking about it. True beauty from the “inner self” is what I want my daughter to understand and, in order for that to happen, that needed to be taught to her by example – consistently, day in and day out, by the most prominent female role model in her life, her mother. A hard reality hit me that my ideals of “beauty” needed to change – where I spent my time and my thoughts.
Do I still have self-confidence issues because of many years of acne and skin problems? Yes, but most days I don’t think twice about walking out my door with no makeup, sometimes frizzy hair or even wrinkled clothes, and no man or woman on earth can make me feel bad about that because my “beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of (my) inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (I Peter 3:3-4)
So if you see me out and about looking a bit worse for wear, know that it is more important to me on those days particularly that my time was spent adorning myself from the inside out. Whether this is through completing tasks around the house, taking time for a chat with a friend, playing a board game at the kitchen table with my kiddo or simply reading God’s word when I have a spare 15 minutes here or there – choosing those actions over spending hours covering up my physical imperfection or fretting relentlessly on the inside about what others might think of those imperfections, and hopefully teaching my daughter to do the same – to care more about her inner self and less about the circumstances of her outer beauty.
It isn’t because I don’t care about myself, but rather because I do. I now understand what it is to care deeply about myself in a way that the Lord would have me to, and it has very little to do with my acne scars, but much more to do with healing my inner scars and purposefully living a life that nurtures my “inner self” which is of “great worth in God’s sight.”
So the next time you are running late and having to pick and choose your tasks for the morning, day or week, put your efforts into true beauty first and consistently and take your cues from God’s word to seek “a gentle and quiet spirit” each day immersed in His word and seeking his instruction for developing your “inner self” over concerning yourself too much with outward adornment.
Until next time,
Managing Editor at Indoor Outdoor Space