What do YOU define as beauty?
Can you take a moment to answer a question? Please, be honest though.
You ready? Here it is:
What do YOU define as beauty?
Chances are that some of you answered (at least in part) an aspect of physicality. I know I did.
Ever since we are born, we are overwhelmingly bombarded with messages of the world that focus on the physical whether it be appearances, money, occupation, fame, etc. and the reality is that our souls are completely neglected.
A few years ago, I met a religious sister who I can honestly say was THE most beautiful human I have ever met. She captivated me. She wore no make-up, had a habit on so I couldn’t even see her hair, and by the world’s standards wasn’t a model. But she radiated this intense joy, peace, and had a twinkle in her eye that came from her interior. I remember wishing I was like her so much.
Similarly, I had the honour of meeting pro-life activist Mary Wagner last year and felt the same way. She radiates an interior beauty that no physical aspect of beauty could ever compete with.
There is so much pressure, especially on us women, to look a certain way. In fact, that is the only message we hear in media these days. People have fallen so far from God that they forget that this world is fleeting and physical beauty is only temporary. We will all age, which is a grace that we should embrace not run from. I sometimes feel as though aging is God’s reminder for us to focus on the eternal even more; to put the focus much more on our soul.
Of course, our bodies and souls are one and we must care for our bodies. There is an important difference, though, between vanity and caring for ourselves. Growing up, I remember being a teenager who was very self conscious about my appearance. I would watch hours of youtube videos trying to learn how to do my makeup and hair and I would spend hours in the mirror. I have even struggled with an eating disorder which caused me to lose a lot of weight a few years ago. It was so unhealthy.
My mother is a woman of faith and lovingly reminded me throughout my life, that I am more than my physical traits. It took a few years (okay, maybe more than that) for it to really settle in. But now I can see the value of the human soul on a deeper level.
If we invest as much time caring for our souls as the world encourages us to do with our physical appearance… Wow. Focusing on our relationship with Christ and making a home for Him in our hearts is the greatest of transformations. Suddenly, our worries melt away and a total joy takes over. That is the precise moment we can truly be the living Gospel and share the joy and truth of His word with others - simply, by us being.
So today, I wanted to write this just to remind you that even though the world will continually tell you otherwise, you are ENOUGH! God created you as His beautiful creation, inviting us to live our lives nurturing our relationship with Him. Of course, we should tend to our bodies and care for them physically and embrace our femininity (there is nothing wrong with doing our hair and makeup and putting care into how we dress, so long as we do not make that our main focus). We all have insecurities, which I have now started perceiving as pockets of opportunity to get closer to God and seeing our true worth.
So next time you might not be happy with a physical aspect, please pause and remember that the truest of beauties lies within our soul. And it is a beauty that can never be taken away from us.