Be beautiful, don't be sexy.
Those words still resound in my ears after nearly 22 years.
I heard them as a super hormonal-seeking-the-boys-attention teenager during a talk by a teacher at my high school. She was speaking to all the girls and she brought more light to being a young woman than I had heard before and really have not heard much of since. I am so grateful for those few words. They have helped guide my choices and thoughts.
Our culture certainly throws around the word beauty and beautiful a lot. We also throw around the words hot and sexy. And there are probably more words in that vein that I am not privy to. I think the words have become muddled, interchanged, and communicated so much and to younger ages these days, that a girl grows up with some confusion as to what beauty really is and how she can or should exemplify it What's more, the images out there are numerous and at the forefront of most media.
What's the difference between being beautiful and being hot? Do we even have examples of one or the other so a distinction can be seen?
I would offer that beauty is lasting, it is not fleeting. It's what makes one shine in the world as herself. It is what takes little effort but is greatly appreciated and noticed for its genuine-ness. It is that natural glow and smile that makes one happy and content being around you. It is seeing or catching a glimpse of the awesome creative work of the Father in that person.
Again, it is lasting. It is what endures when the body starts to go.
And I think it is what you would want your spouse in the end to most appreciate. It is what you would want your spouse to appreciate in the beginning.
It is what you might hear a husband say after 50 years of marriage. She is more beautiful now than the day I met her. I believe this is a sentiment that can be realized in a marriage. It goes to the depths of what one sees in the other and how one cherishes and holds the other up as precious, special, and unique.
What would you rather hear your husband say to another person? My wife is hot. Or, my wife is the most beautiful person I have met. I am so grateful to be with her. Look at her.
I cried more than once through a Christmas letter we received this past December. It just held a lot of what I want and long for in family life. Anyway, the husband and father of four wrote the letter and in it he brought out the personalities of his wife and children as he recounted their typical morning. It was really a beautiful letter. What struck me in particular was the way this man honored his wife for her hard work and for her beauty. He is still struck by her beauty even in the early morning as she rushes out the door to spend the entire day at her job. She sort of blows him off, but you can just tell he adores her. Her. For all she is. For who she is. I can't recall his specific words; they just spoke truth about the way he saw her.
She was the model of beauty for him.
So today's prayer for your husband is simple, but it really goes against the grain of what we see on a daily basis in a lot of relationships. Therefore, it takes some courage and boldness and vulnerability to say:
Make my image the model of beauty for him.