Beauty is only skin deep.
Pretty is as pretty does.
True beauty lies on the inside.
We have heard all of the sayings. We try to convince ourselves that our looks are good enough for God, good enough for the world, and good enough for ourselves. However, do our looks really matter? Did they matter to the Proverbs 31 woman?
Looks probably mattered quite a bit to her, but maybe not the way our society promotes beauty. She would never grace the cover of a magazine in a bikini or revealing dress. Modesty would have been a huge priority. However, we know that she worked hard to prepare clothing for her family. She tried her best to make them all look good. She wanted to present her family to the world as a well clothed group.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes. (Proverbs 31:13, 22-24)
The chapter goes on to say in verse 30 that “beauty is fleeting.” So should we value beauty or not??
Here is my opinion. As always, my opinion evolves as I age and grow. At this point in my life, my goal is to make sure my family dresses well. I want everyone to have clothing that is clean, fits well, looks attractive, and is modest in nature. My husband and I must look professional for our careers, so we pay attention to our closets. We don’t spend a lot of money on clothing, but stores like TJ Maxx and Target keep us clothed.
We all know that when we see people whose clothing doesn’t fit, who appear dirty, and those who look disheveled, we form an opinion about them. The Proverbs 31 woman tried to promote her husband’s social status by ensuring that her family was clothed well. To me, that doesn’t mean expensive, designer clothing, but it does mean clean and neat.
What about the hair, make-up, nails, and jewelry? As with anything else, an obsession with it would detract from our relationship with God. We cannot spend our lives worrying about looking perfect. It won’t happen. We are created to look different, individualized. We should embrace our differences and our features.
Having said that, there are times when I go to the expense of nice jewelry, professional hair coloring (shh…) and cut, and get my nails done. My husband works in a world where looks do matter to many of his clients. To some of his clients, appearances show a social status. In order to make my husband look good, I need to look good. ( I know, rough life when my husband is forced to pay for a manicure for me!)
I remember hearing stories as a child of churches who wouldn’t allow women to wear jewelry. I know there are sects of Christians who still believe and practice this. They do not allow make-up or professional hair and nail services. I disagree with them. I do not believe that God considers valuing the way we look as a sin. Only when we put beauty ahead of Him or treat others poorly based upon their appearances will God become angry with us.
I know this is a touchy subject. I could go on to discuss weight and our family’s journey to fitness, but I will save that for another post!