God Defines Beauty, Not Me
BY: PEYTON JADE GOTTSCHALK
Before I fell in love with Jesus and took the time to learn the truth about who He made me to be, I was always desperately searching for ways to become beautiful. I thought beauty was something to gain outwardly. Every morning I would wake up, watch YouTube tutorials on how to beautify my face (since I had no idea how to do makeup without assistance) and put on an outfit I had spent hours planning out over the weekend.
If you are wondering, yes I did plan out all of my outfits for the school week far in advance. In middle school, I even went to the lengths of painting my nails every night to match my outfit.
I defined my own beauty by my appearance.
However, the Bible defines beauty in an entirely different way. The Word actually tells me my beauty comes from within, not outwardly as I had allowed myself to believe for a majority of my life.
1 Peter 3 says:
“Your 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 your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves...”
When I read this for the first time, I could not wrap my head around the idea of my outward appearance having nothing to do with what makes me beautiful. The magazines I had looked to for truth and advice and tips specifically told me what products I needed to buy and what clothes I needed to wear to "look like a star." Now, Jesus is telling me my main source of information has been wrong all this time? There is no way Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Seventeen were in the wrong as compared to one man who lived too many years ago to count.
It wasn’t until I stepped back to ask myself who I was living my life for that I let this concept seep in a little deeper. I no longer live my life in accordance to my appearance, which is constantly changing and aging. Instead, I am living out life in accordance to what Jesus says about me. The tabloids are no longer my source of information, but the Word of God is.
And if the Word says God most adores my inward makeup, my spirit — then I better believe it. Easy enough, right?
Wrong. There are still more days where I wake up feeling insecure about the amount of under the surface, pain-in-the-butt-to-hide pimples I have on my face than days where I wake up feeling like a rockstar. There is not a single day that goes by where I don't care about what outfit I put on. I rarely post pictures of myself because I overanalyze every photo I am in. The list goes on.
I so easily forget what it is that makes me beautiful in God’s eyes — BUT my boyfriend doesn’t. If there’s one phrase I would choose to describe Roy it is this: an outpouring vessel of God’s truth and love.
On the days I wake up telling myself my pimples dominate my face, the first thing Roy tells me is just how beautiful I am. When I get hung up on what outfit to wear, Roy is usually off somewhere writing a letter to me, telling me how radiant my personality is. When I get anxious about what to post on social media, you better bet Roy is sitting by my side pouring out truths about who I am and who I am becoming through Jesus.
One of the first things Roy ever complimented me on and continues to praise constantly is my heart for the Lord. He sees what I am made of, what my spirit is like, and reminds me of how beautiful I am in the way the Lord defines beauty.
Roy wrote me a letter once, titled "I love you because…."
He started with “I love you because… what a loaded question. There are so many reasons!" He could have continued on by listing details of my appearance or other fleeting traits of mine, but he didn’t. He told me he loved me for my heart for the Lord, for my constant pursuit of Jesus, for who I am and who I am becoming. He took the time to praise me for being me — for the way I live my life.
Roy is my living, breathing reminder of what makes me beautiful. Before I can fall back into defining myself in ways I was never meant to, he is there to draw my attention back to what 1 Peter talks about. He is there to point me back to the Father.
And you know what? That is exactly what the Lord intended relationships to do — to point us toward Him and His truth. There is so much intentionality behind the people He places in our lives, whether it be a mom to tell you that you’re worth any and every sacrifice or a Roy to tell you that your spirit makes you beautiful. The people who surround us in our daily lives are meant to declare the work that God is doing within us when we can’t see it ourselves.
Surround yourselves with people who sing the anthem of 1 Peter over your life.
Peyton is a freelance journalist who strides through every day with a little coffee and a lot of Jesus. If she’s not scribbling away in a journal at a corner café she is probably watercolor painting, baking pastries or exploring new hobbies.