Here are Pretty Simple Ideas I talk a lot about green beauty and DIYs. It’s fun to make your own face mask, plus better for your overall health to avoid harmful chemicals in a lot of beauty products today, too. Aside from those reasons women like to talk about skincare and makeup because we want to chase after some proverbial Fountain of Youth or be thought of as attractive. While these goals are OK, this week I am moving in a different direction and talking about how to Enhance our Inner Beauty as well.
Qualities of Inner Beauty
This morning I woke up and decided I wanted to look as unattractive as possible for work. I didn’t shower, brush my hair, or put on makeup. I put on wrinkled, baggy clothes and headed out the door, hoping every person I passed would cringe when they saw me…said no girl, ever.
On the contrary, we spend a lot of time and money trying to make ourselves as attractive as possible. I’ve even written an article on 10 ways to clear up your skin.
We get up early to make sure we have enough time to style our hair and fling outfit after outfit around in our closet until we find just the right one.
That’s normal. As women, we want to be thought of as pretty – by men and women. Pretty girls get the guys and special treatment. They get attention and compliments. It’s fine to want to look put-together and attractive, but deep down we know that real beauty comes from the inside. Outward beauty may turn heads, but it’s inward beauty that radiates.
Real beauty comes from your character.
And if you’re a Christian, comes from Jesus’ likeness shining out from us. Every time I read the story of Moses’ face shining after He received the 10 commandments from God I think, “I want that!” I want to walk so closely with Him and imitate Jesus that people can actually see it.
Real beauty is kindness, gentleness, femininity, sweetness, gracefulness, modesty, and generosity. Few of these attributes come naturally to us. Just like we apply makeup to enhance our features, we must “put on” these qualities to enhance our inner beauty.
But just like you wouldn’t put makeup on a dirty face, we must first “clean up” some of our, less attractive qualities. And speaking for myself only, I know there can be a lot of cleaning up to do. This next part might not be fun to read through, but
You’re so vain, you probably think this article is about you. Don’t you? I already hinted at vanity above. It can be a struggle for us, no matter how we look. While companies like Dove might put up a front that they only care about your inner beauty and that every woman is beautiful, at the end of the day they are a company that wants to make money. While every woman is beautiful, companies like Dove (and many of them quite frankly) also know it is a great marketing company.
Vanity is more than just staring into a mirror and asking if you’re the fairest of them all. It’s spending money we don’t have on clothes we don’t need to appear trendy. Vanity is thinking your day is ruined because your hair is sticking up in the back. It’s dressing in such a way that you know you can get guys to look at you, not caring whether it’s appropriate or not. Vanity is actually ugly.
Like bitterness, jealousy is a disease that eats up the one experiencing it from the inside. I may be wrong, but I think women even struggle with jealousy more than men. A guy may be “jealous” of another man’s job or promotion, but usually, it just spurs him to work harder for the same thing. Women use it to tear other women apart. We instantly dislike the new girl because she’s pretty, without getting to actually know her. And the girl that every guy likes? Forget it. We don’t want to be her friend.
While I wish this wasn’t so I know it can be true because I’ve felt that kind of jealousy myself and talked to many friends who have felt the same green monster.
Somehow we think that if another girl is prettier or more successful than us, we can’t be too. But the Bible tells us to rejoice with those who are rejoicing, even if they have something we don’t – like better looks, a more prestigious job, a husband, or even children. Jealousy will only hurt you. Be glad for those that have been given good things, and they will be glad for you.
I’ve found that those that do the most bragging are really just the most insecure. Nobody likes someone that brags. I once knew a girl who went around telling bragging about how many compliments she got that day for being so pretty. While it was annoying, at the end of the day I realized she probably needed the affirmation. But you don’t. Be confident in your worth without fishing for compliments. You are so worthy!
Besides, none of us have anything that wasn’t given to us by God and therefore have nothing to actually brag about. As the Bible reminds us, “Let the one who boasts, boasts in the Lord,” 1 Corinthians 1:31. Everything else we should keep quiet about and remain humble, even if we may have something to brag about. Because quite frankly, who knows when we might lose it?
In Matthew 6, we learn about Pharisees, referred to as hypocrites in the text, who loved to pray loudly on street corners so everyone who passed would think they were holy. But that was their only reward. Similarly, when we go around saying we’re so pretty, smart, successful, popular, what-have-you, our only reward will be a quick “Oh, wow!” from our friends, probably followed by an eye roll as soon as they walk away. Let others do your bragging for you.
It’s so easy to complain, isn’t it? It’s too cold out. I have a zit today. It’s too hot out. My boss has too many expectations. My co-workers are annoying. My boyfriend/husband never buys me flowers. My kids won’t behave. I don’t want to go to work, I’m tired. I’m sure you could fill in a few of your own.
I remember overhearing my dad joke to a family friend once, “Sarah is a nearly perfect daughter. Her only downfall is that she whines a lot.” That really stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t want to be known as a complainer! Granted, I still struggle with complaining, but every now and then put myself through a Complaining Fast where I am not allowed to make one complaint for a week. (For the record, I fail). But it’s still a great exercise and really helps us recognize how many times we complain in a day.
If we want to complain less, we must also practice gratitude. Whenever the urge to complain strike you – quickly – think of something you have to be grateful for! Make a weekly list. Tell your friends (without bragging.) And remember to thank God. For all those gifts came from Him.
While there are many more ugly qualities we can struggle with, I’m sure none is more prevalent than gossiping. We love to gossip. I’ll be the first to admit it! As soon as we hear a juicy story we are already thinking about who we can tell next.
Sometimes I gossip to pat myself on the back. Well, I think, so-and-so lost her job because she kept coming in late. Serves her right. I know my friends and I have also used it to build camaraderie. We bond over other people’s mistakes and failings. Other times I’ve gossiped simply because I lacked anything else to say. I’ve caught myself starting to bring up someone else’s screwed-up life just to fill the silence.
Christian women can sometimes be the worst gossipers of all. You’ve seen it happen before. After a small group or bible study has just learned about being humble and following Christ’s example, prayer requests are taken. “Let’s lift up Mary in prayer today,” it begins. “I heard she’s been staying the night at her boyfriend’s place…” “Oh, you hadn’t heard?” And so it begins.
No one wants to find out others have been talking badly about them behind their back. Let’s do the same for them. If you catch yourself starting to gossip, stop. Change the subject. If a friend of yours is gossiping you don’t have to bluntly call them out for it. Gently change the subject. They’ll get the picture.
If you enjoyed this, make sure to grab my latest ebook, Pursue Simple: a 7-day devotional to live with less and pursue God more.
Clean Up Your Act
This week I encourage you to take one of two of these vices you may struggle with and put a plan in motion to combat them. For me, I’m going to focus on “jealous” and “gossiping.”
Yup, it’s getting real.
This whole month actually I’ve had the plan to combat jealousy, especially in the blogging world. Many times in the past few months I’ve felt envious of how other people’s blogs or articles have taken off and I feel like I’ve hit a plateau. Why did their post go viral? Why did they get their article published and I didn’t? How do they have that many social media followers?
Instead of getting jealous, I am going to focus on rejoicing in their victories and cheering them on. This could be checking my heart when I feel jealous, and putting it into action, praising their efforts or success publicly.
Secondly, I am tackling my gossiping. I’m not sure anyone that knows me would say I’m the biggest gossip but that’s the thing about it – sometimes the worst is slipping it into the conversation here and there. The Lord has put it on my heart to not talk badly about anyone – even if they deserve it. There have been a few times I’ve been so proud of the fact that I stopped myself before I wrecked myself. And other times, I’ve failed. So this month I am tackling it again and praying He brings it to my attention before I say something negative, or at least not helpful, about someone else.
Who’s ready to join me?
And if you’re brave enough to even share which one of these vices you plan on tackling this week/month. If sharing is too much let me know below that you’re committed to tackling one of these this week without naming it. By cleaning up our act we can all enhance our natural beauty.