You're More Beautiful Than You Think

If you played the Sesame Street game of “One of these things {is not like the other}” you would find the broad shouldered, plump, timid, makeup-less green-eyed girl amongst four tall, blonde beauties as the odd one out. In high school and throughout most of my adult life, I didn’t look like the other. I felt like I didn’t belong. The beauty my friends had, the ones the boys always went for, I didn’t seem to possess. They always chose them over me. My shoulders were broad from competitive swimming, I didn’t wear much make-up because it added an extra 10 to 15 minutes to my morning routine, and I became tongue-tied and insecure when the moment of truth came to conversate with the opposite sex. But I wanted to be beautiful. I wanted to be noticed. I wanted someone to say that I was beautiful.

What God defines as beauty, the natural inner beauty, is not what I understood it to be. Beauty, to me, was the confident woman with long silky hair holding a martini in her left hand and with her right scribbling her number on a big stack of napkins for the gents surrounding her. To achieve this “beauty”, I devoted my time and energy to losing weight, watching multiple hair and make-up tutorials, and studying “How To Impress Guys For Dummies” handbook instead of, what I discovered later, devoting my time to prayer and finding my “beauty” in Christ – natural beauty. I got a few numbers. I went on a few dates. But they didn’t say I was beautiful. Not even close.

The beauty I so admired. The beauty I strived for was completely amiss. What I thought would bring me love, joy, and laughter produced despair, sadness, and a longer list of insecurities.

Then I met my now husband. He said:

“Who told you, you didn’t belong? You’re more beautiful than you think.” 

I thought my toned arms and skinny waist, my fabulous wardrobe, and the way I smelled like vanilla and lavender was what attracted him. No, it was my graceful tone, my carefree attitude, and my serving heart. He would tell me, “Your looks, the outer beauty, is just a cherry on top. Your heart, the natural inner beauty, is what I fell in love with; the most beautiful part about you.”

The reality is that most of us can’t see our beauty like the people around us can. We’re constantly underestimating or degrading ourselves to fit a mold of what we think beauty looks like, of what others might say beauty is. Our perception on beauty impacts the choices that we make, the friends that we have, the jobs we apply for, how we treat each other, and how we treat ourselves; it impacts…everything.

I found my beauty, my natural beauty. I continue to stay fit and healthy and explore the fun new make-up and fashion trends, however I found that those material things don’t have substance when the heart – the inner beauty – is dark and unapproachable. When you discover the natural beauty God so delicately designed, you will begin to see a beauty in yourself, in others, and things that you haven’t before.

I am regularly surprised by the unique and unexpected ways beauty shows up in other people. One minute someone is a completely average person next to me in the Starbucks line, the next minute they purchase coffee for a stranger or pay me a kind compliment, and my opinion of them is completely changed. Through one action, they switch from unremarkable to notably kind. That’s the beauty we need to see more of, true beauty, which comes from kindness, generosity, love, and joy.

Let’s open our eyes, and ask God to show us more of the beauty that’s all around us. We are so quick to compliment our girlfriends on their clothing, their hair, and their bodies. It’s natural, of course, because the outer appearance is the most obvious to the eye and the quickest thing to recognize. It’s bold, and sometimes even uncomfortable to acknowledge the inner beauty we see in others. It requires observation, a relationship, and much more humility on our part to tell another woman that she has radiant inner beauty.

I challenge all of us to withhold our commentary on the externals, and instead look deeper at what really makes us, our girlfriends, our mothers, our pastors, etc. beautiful: kindness, generosity, confidence, joy, love, or compassion. Once we spot it, let’s say something. You are more beautiful than you think, stronger than you know, worthier than you believe, more loved than you can imagine.

After all, inner beauty needs to be told it’s beautiful, too.