Carolyn McCulley, on her Radical Womanhood blog, talks about a woman's true beauty and why so many of us, even in the Christian community, struggle with this concept. She tells a young man whose girlfriend has concerns about her body image:
"I wonder if perhaps you could do more than just compliment her on being beautiful. What about complimenting her when she is doing beautiful things? We always hear that inner beauty is supposed to be more important than outer beauty, but it doesn't seem to get praised as often--which tempts women to doubt the veracity of that statement."
Why do we women doubt the appeal of inner beauty? Well, to be candid, it's because we forget that our Creator is the ultimate arbiter of beauty. We are awash in makeover messages and as such His perspective is often silenced. From TV shows to magazines, we are drowning in Before and After images. At any given time during a day, there's a roomful of people on TV gushing and crying over the physical transformation of some reality show participant. Everybody and his neighbor shows up to applaud weight loss, a new hairstyle, or a wardrobe overhaul.
But where is the applause for inner beauty? Where are the TV cameras for the Big Reveal of a renovated character?
Carolyn goes on to talk about the example Jesus gave us, when he told his fellow dinner guests that the beautiful thing Mary had done--breaking a jar of expensive perfume to anoint her Savior--would be remembered forever. This was a good reminder for me today to cultivate that kind of inner beauty and to praise those around me--both women and men--when they display the beauty of a godly character.