Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Who's the Fairest of Them All?

Last night, Mr. Hippie and I went on a date. We had dinner at PF Chang's, using two gift cards we had been given. We had their amazing crab wontons. Filled with crab meat-not just lots of cream cheese and a little crab. I had the Mongolian beef. Mr. Hippie had the sesame chicken. We shared the "great wall of China." It was all delicious. It tasted good, and healthy. I didn't feel like I was ingesting a ton of grease. It was a nice experience.
Then we decided to watch a movie, and date night went down hill. Mr. Hippie had gotten a good recommendation for Snow White and the Huntsmen from one of his employees. (I'll never go on S's recommendation again.) It was weird. It was disturbing. It was intense. And I was freaked out the entire time. Here's the thing. I don't do fanciful-intense well at all. I can dismiss Harry Potter, or action flicks, because they aren't real. But a lot of sci-fi or fanciful is too real for me. And I have a hard time letting it go. This seemed rather evil. And I was scared. There was magic, and creepiness, and weird fairy things. It was weird. Have I said that yet?
I should point out that Snow White has never been my favorite Disney flick. I like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. We had seen the previews for Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. I remember remarking to Mr. Hippie that I would like to see Mirror, Mirror. I also remember remarking that I didn't think Snow White and the Huntsmen was going to be my thing. I like Julia Roberts. Mirror, Mirror seems like it is lighter and funnier. Snow White and the Huntsman seems like it incorporated a lot of the scarier elements of the Disney movie without the lightness. They made it realistic. I don't know how else to describe it.
Regardless, the point of this post is not to review the movie.
I was hit three different times yesterday with the idea of what true beauty is. Twice it was on blogs, and the final time it was through this movie.
Ravenna was beautiful. (Charlize Theron) Snow White was beautiful. Ravenna was manipulating, powerful, selfish, and scary. Snow White's mom told her that she had been gifted with great beauty, and then she said, "in here"-pointing to Snow White's heart. Ravenna was outwardly beautiful. No one would deny that. But she wanted no one to rival her beauty. She literally sucked the beauty out of any girl who came close to rivaling her. She used her beauty as a weapon, and couldn't allow beauty in others.
Beauty is a topic on all women's hearts. I have blogged about it before in Real Women Have.... We are fed a line that beauty is being a size 0 or 2. No wrinkles. No lumps or bumps. No gray hair. No baby bellies.
I am a firm believer in women's fitness. I don't think we should let ourselves go to pot. I think we should put effort into our appearance for our husbands. But, I know that Mr. Hippie thinks I am beautiful even when I am huge with his babies. He thinks my wrinkly four-baby baby belly is beautiful. He think my curves are beautiful. He thinks I am beautiful even when I don't think I am beautiful. (we actually have a running joke that I sing, "you are beautiful no matter what they say, words can't bring you down. Today!" whenever he says I am beautiful but I am not feeling very beautiful.=)) And I appreciate that he is my cheerleader, and loves me on the good hair days and on the bad. I will also say that I feel more beautiful when I put a bit of effort into my outward appearance. When I run, and eat right, and put on a bit of make up, and do my hair. Not tons of effort. But a bit.

Beauty is fading. Beauty should be more than skin deep. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty can be a snare. Beauty can be a burden. Beauty can be a blessing.

But, the fact of the matter is, while the world looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart.
Charm is deceitful, beauty is vain. But a woman who fears the Lord-she shall be praised. The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is of inestimable value in God's sight. Outward adoring doesn't cut it in book. Several times we are told to worship God in the beauty of holiness.
What is truly beautiful?
God thinks holiness is beautiful. Holiness is being separated from sin and evil. Being pure. There is something fundamentally beautiful about purity. Think of freshly fallen snow. That's beautiful. This reminds me of Philippians 4:8-whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, praise worthy-think about such things.
I love the advertisement in Annie , "you're never fully dressed without a smile." Joy and peace are beautiful. When joy and peace are in your heart, they spill out onto your face. And smiles are beautiful.
Esther was beautiful. You totally get that reading her book. But, what drew people to her? Was it her beauty? I think it was more than that. I think it was her spirit. You get the feeling that she was kind and considerate. That she put others and their welfare before her own. And it was beautiful.
What is the moral of this ramble? I think we need to focus more on our heart, and our character than on outward beauty. We need to instill in our daughters, and in our sons, that outward beauty is not the end all. We want them to focus on having a heart like God, and on valuing that in others.
We can't insulate our kids from the cruelness of our outward beauty obsessed culture. We can teach them to accept everyone, no matter how they look. We can love on our kids, and affirm them. Affirm their character. Affirm their uniqueness.
And we can complain less about our lumps and bumps, and be thankful for what each flaw represents in our lives. We can break the cycle. We can be proactive about loving our bodies how they are. We can be proactive about seeking the Lord, and asking Him to develop His character in our hearts. We can ask God to make us beautiful inside.
Just like Snow White told Ravenna, "you can't have my heart," so we can tell the world that. Our culture isn't going to define me and my beauty. God has my heart, and He has already spoken to it.
embrace the camera linkup

So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty. For He is thy Lord, and worship thou Him. Psalm 45:11
This is true beauty. The fairest of them all...