Friday, March 11, 2011

Thar Be Dragons

She dresses up in her fancy princess clothes.
She feels beautiful.
But she still asks her brother for affirmation.
"Pey, do I look beautiful?"
He gives her the painful response of silence.
She looks longingly at him for an answer for a moment.
Then she turns to me & asks the same question.
I tell her something like, "Of course you are.  Jesus made you beautiful."

She leaves the room.
I assume all is fine & forgotten.

A few minutes later, I hear quiet crying in the other room.
I go to her & ask why she is crying.
She says, "Peyton doesn't think I am beautiful!
He keeps saying, 'yucky, yucky, yucky.'!"

Why did that make her so sad?
Is it something in her environment (me?  or something else I let in?) 
telling her she must be beautiful?
Or, is it an internal dragon that she fights?
A combination, perhaps?

God created beauty.  He loves it.
And, we are made in His image.  
I think we long for beauty in our very being 
& that is good & right.
But, whose definition of beauty?
Our culture does influence.  
Sometimes subtly & sometimes overtly,
it is teaching us what to see as beautiful.

I know creation is fallen & there is ugly in the world.  
And there is ugly in each of us.
And part of the ugly in us is the desire to be perfect in ourselves, apart from Christ.

I've seen some ugly in myself.  The ugly of wanting to be the most beautiful.
Wanting to meet the standard of perfection that the world holds.
Not accepting what God made as good for me.
Calling my ideas better than His.

That is ugly.

What is beautiful is knowing who we are in Jesus.
That He loves us & made us in His image.
It is beautiful to be confident in His acceptance of me.

You don't have to believe the things that the beauty magazines say 
about what is ugly & what is beauty.
A good friend of mine said to me years ago that she has no reason to believe that 
Eve in the garden, in all her beauty, had no cellulite.  
Maybe, just maybe cellulite was part of her perfect body.

As cliche or simplistic as it sounds, 
I hope it is the right thing to teach my daughters, 
"You are beautiful, because God made you just the way He wanted to."

p.s.  This cute book by Max Lucado teaches this very lesson.


Brittany Martin said...

Hmmmm...this got me thinking...our boys are going to need some very important lessons on sisters pretty soon!

Stef said...

I think I would be sad too, if someone said I looked "yucky, yucky, yucky." :(

Tell Gillian, Rachel said her dress-up-dress looks like something from a very beautiful movie with dancing :)

Nini said...

Great post Erin! This is such a huge topic...especially for girls. You have probably heard me say this before, but when we talk about beauty in our house, I tell Analise that she is God's beautiful creation and what makes her pretty is her happy heart. There are times when she asks if she looks pretty and I tell her, "You look so pretty when your heart is happy. You can be wearing the most sparkly dress, but a happy heart is what makes it beautiful!" It's a lesson I need to remind myself of quite often!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Especially in that first picture, she sure looks like Krista when she was little! How fun to see family traits in the next generation!

Erin said...

Thanks, Nini! I like that a lot!

Stephanie said...

We're wrestling through these same issues, Erin. How can I teach my daughters about true beauty when the whole world is giving them the wrong definition?

Nicola S. said...

Let Gillian know that I think she looks very beautiful.

Jess and I were talking about this very thing the other day. Resting in Christ and being content with how he made us and being beautiful on the inside and in turn that is the most beautiul thing we can do for ourselves. Not that we just let ourselves go, but not having our outward beauty be the focus.

emilie said...

We have that book! I love it!