Reflections on My Day - Do Looks Truly Matter?

by Grace 9. January 2018 20:41

It happened again.

Somebody told me I look nice today.

For years, just about wherever I've gone I've always been told that I was pretty. I've heard it from old and young, boys, girls, family, and friends - "You're so pretty!" "I love your hair!" "You have such a pretty smile!" "You're so thin!" "Your eyes are so blue - are those contacts???"

It's not necessarily a bad thing. I love hearing my Grandma, my mom, or my dad tell me things like that. And I like hearing my family and friends tell me I did a good job with my hair or things along those lines. But sometimes, I actually rather dislike it.

Some of you may be asking why on earth, but maybe some of you understand. For those of you who don't, let me explain.

I've often wondered when people have told me I'm pretty, "Why does it matter?" I haven't done anything to look the way I do. I've never tried losing weight - I still remember feeling thrilled whenever I gained more weight when I was younger. I didn't do anything to get blue eyes. We're still not even precisely sure where I got them from. I didn't give myself long, dark brown hair that went from waves towards the top and curls at the bottom. It was just there. I haven't done anything to get the face I have - I've never even worn makeup before. It's a gift from God, to be sure, I didn't do anything to get my looks and can't really do a substantial amount to make it any better - so what's the use in complementing my looks because they line up with the world's standards of pretty? I mean, it's not an evil thing, but it can be useless and oftentimes excessive.

And I know that it can be discouraging to me because I daily strive to be more like Jesus and more focused on Him - I try to be a better sister, more humble, more diligent, more patient, more graceful, more enduring, and many other things. And after working so hard, the only encouragement I get is, "Your eyes are so pretty!" Perhaps I was grumpy when my sibling did something annoying, but at least I have pretty eyes, right??? Again, it's not necesarily a bad thing for people to tell me my eyes are pretty, but I tend forget their comment pretty quickly. It doesn't mean much to me anymore.

The things that really stick to me are things like when a lady at the school walked by and said, "doing a good job, as always!" or when she said "as always, wearing a smile!" Or when my sisters say they love having an older sister. Or when my friend and coworker tells me I'm her 'Saving Grace' because I gave her an umbrella and an extra coat while we were working in the cold and rain. Or when somebody at the fair comes by after I've dealt with a tough visitor and tells me that I'm doing a great job and to keep wearing a smile. Or when my parents tell me they're proud of me for paying for college by myself. That's what matters most to me in my life. Our looks don't matter - God looks at and cares about the inside of us, not the outside. And He doesn't flatter us about our blue eyes and big smiles. He's more pleased when He sees a faithful heart, and we should be too.

And you know what? Most people who are praised for their looks probably already know. Before you told them that they had beautiful hair, an slender waistline, or a handsome face, they'd been told a million times - perhaps they begin to act like me sometimes, wearing sunglasses and a hat when I work at the fair so that people take me a little more seriously. Or they feel vain and proud for something that was a gift, not their own doing. There are some people who need to be told that they're beautiful - that God made them the way they are and they're precious to Him.

But the people who are beautiful in the World's standard don't need to hear it.

It'll bounce off of them, or they'll feel vain, or perhaps, like me, they'll simply ponder why it matters. If anything, some of us just need to be reminded that it's the heart that matters and not our appearance.

My looks aren't a talent. They're a gift. And, although I'm not mad when people tell me I'm pretty, I'd rather hear their encouragement or even their criticism - what I could be doing better in my Christian walk.

Next time you think to tell someone that they're pretty or handsome, stop to think if you have some encouragement for them or if there's a way to compliment their behavior.

And next time you're told that you look nice, tell them that it's a gift from God and that they look beautiful too.

 

Now let's hear from you!

Do YOU ever feel this way? Have you ever wondered why it mattered? What are some of your suggestions on things you can encourage friends in instead of telling them that they're pretty?

 

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Comments (11) -

Grace F.
Grace F.
1/10/2018 2:18:25 PM #

WOW, this was amazing!  I don't think I've ever read an article written on this specific topic.  You were so honest and had so many great truths to share that we as girls need to hear.

Although I think compliments such as the ones you get are from people who mean well, one thing I often wonder is, is that REALLY a truly encouraging comment, or might it just be a vanity-boost?  Perhaps one of the WORST things we can do for a Christian girl struggling with finding her worth, is to give them compliments about their looks!  Christian girls must find their worth in Christ.  MUST!  I do believe that there is a small percentage of those compliments that can be good, but it's not the majority.

I think that almost all of your compliments should be based on behavior/character, but if you DO want to give a compliment about outward looks, you should do it very carefully and with thought.  Just the other day, my dad gave me a compliment that meant a lot to me.  He said something to the effect of, "You always are dressed nicely.  Looking nice is important to you, in a good way.  You seek to dress with taste and femininity."  He wasn't saying that anything about my physical features; he was just thanking me for dressing decently, modestly, and tastefully.  This world is filled with far too many ladies who dress in flip flops, ripped skinny jeans, leggings, tank tops, over-sized sweaters and sloppy hairdos!

My orthodontist reminded me yesterday that in a just a few years once I stop growing for sure, I can have surgery to break my jaw because it happens to be abnormally long (although it does not hinder me in any way).  I'm sorry, but I don't have any plans on paying thousands of dollars and undergoing an unimaginably painful recovery just to appeal to my vanity!  It think it is shameful what extremes this world considers normal/necessary/reasonable, just to appeal to vanity!

Okay, so I will stop my little ranting there Smile  I'd love to continue but then I might be here for a while... ;)

Thank you again, Grace, for sharing this!! <3

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Grace H.
Grace H.
1/11/2018 6:21:12 PM #

I'm glad you enjoyed this, Grace! And yes, you made a very important note: finding our identity in Christ is a MUST! It's strange; we always make sure to tell the kids who think they're ugly that it doesn't matter, their hearts and souls are more important, and that they need to find their identity in Christ. But we don't ever mention anything of the sort to the ones who happen to possess good looks or even just girls in general sometimes. Do we need to hear it any less? Is it any less true for us? It may be discouraging to think you're ugly, but it's even worse to think you're useless. We all need to be encouraged in behavior, not in that which we didn't do and what can be taken away in a moment in a car crash or diagnosis of a terrible disease.
Yeah, I wouldn't get my jaw cracked just to make it look better. A lot of things like that might also have side effects that will last the rest of your life.
I'm glad you enjoyed this!

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Grace H.
Grace H.
1/11/2018 6:24:26 PM #

And I have a lot more I could say to reply to your comment, but you know how it is with our emails -- yours is long, mine gets longer, yours gets even longer, mine gets way longer... Haha!

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Olivia Bell
Olivia Bell
1/12/2018 3:13:57 PM #

Thanks for the great post, Grace! I think it's true, what you said, how in-depth compliments like "You're a wonderful older sister" mean a lot more. I totally agree with what Grace F said, she put it perfectly, hehe! Laughing Thank you for the reminder to always purpose to lift someones spirit up! Laughing

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Grace H.
Grace H.
1/12/2018 9:28:24 PM #

I'm glad you liked this post, Olivia! Yes, in depth compliments are much more meaningful and constructive. And critical comments are better than what they're given credit for. We need more constructive criticism in this world and less fluffed up flattery.

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Scott Walker
Scott Walker
1/22/2018 11:05:22 PM #

Hi Grace, I'll just say the old saying of hind sight being 20/20! It's true to me - when I look back at my many struggles as a young man, who went through a series of failed relationships. It was a lack of Christ in my life then,  and I understand that now. I know this because the poor results.

Thankfully, I have a lovely wife whom, over the years, many admired as a beautiful woman. As challenges, storms of life etc. brought us to believe.  Christianity in time it grew and so did our marriage, and we will have our 25th this November. No longer is jealousy such a destructive force in relationships. Without Christ it can surely be a destructive force as it can be for young men with a beautiful woman.

I am okay with the knowledge that my wife loves Christ more than I. The same goes for me.  And, a mutual trust has grown over time.

It is very good that you have that great advantage of knowledge from Christ that will help you prevent becoming involved with the wrong person. It took me a long time to learn that. I am thankful that I finally did.

Scott

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Scott Walker
Scott Walker
1/23/2018 10:39:39 AM #

I read what I wrote and it may not be clear. What I was talking about is Christ.

Let me rephrase that.  I am okay that my wife loves Jesus more than she loves me. And, she is okay also that I love Jesus more than my her. That places Christ in the very center of our lives.

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Grace H.
Grace H.
1/23/2018 12:11:34 PM #

Oh thanks for clearing that up - that was kind of confusing!

Reply

Scott Walker
Scott Walker
1/23/2018 10:46:15 AM #

So Grace if you marry someday, which I surely believe you will, it would be good if this man and you, both of you love Christ more than each other and you both would be comfortable with that.

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Grace H.
Grace H.
1/23/2018 12:19:54 PM #

Yes sir! The two things I'm looking for in a husband is a godly man who has Christ at the center of his life, and who is committed to having as many kids as God so chooses to give us, and then of course, hopefully he loves me. ;) It doesn't matter what he looks like or what his past is. Only that he is a Christ-centered man who loves God more than anything else.

Reply

Scott Walker
Scott Walker
1/23/2018 12:45:59 PM #

Great Grace. how wonderful that would be!  And, it says much about you and your faith.

Reply

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