Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought who on earth is this looking back at me? I have, just this morning as a matter of fact. Tomorrow morning I will be greeted with this unwelcome reality once again as I apply my facial cream. I am not as youthful as I once was, 40 pounds heavier and many more wrinkles. I am also sure I will never wear sleeveless shirts with confidence again. OH, how beauty is fleeting!
My Professional Observation
Our salon has just returned from a hair show in Orlando where over 10,000 hairdressers flocked. I have been a cosmetologist for thirty years and each year we attend conferences and classes to stay up to date on new hair trends and fashions. As much as I enjoy my job, I am saddened more and more each year as I realize how everything out there says you should look like this, dress like that, wear pink not red, curly hair is in, straight hair is out. It is enough to make you want to pull your hair out! Am I right, ladies?
Don’t get me wrong — I love what I do, I love that the Lord let hair grow out of people’s heads so I would have a job! Really!!! He could have made us all slick egg heads, then what would I do? There is nothing like helping my guest find a new style that makes them feel beautiful. It will never grow old to me! However, Proverbs 31:30 puts it in perspective for us, “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
I remember when I was a very young hairdresser in my early twenties; there was a lady who came in weekly to get her hair done. It was fascinating. She was 104 years old and still wanted to look beautiful. One day while she was under the dryer, I decided I was going to ask her how it felt to be so old (remember I was young and just not that smart). Her answer surprised me.
She said, “Well I was just sitting here thinking I want to go jump that trash can.”
“Really?” I said.
“Yes, I was a hurdle jumper when I was younger…In my mind I can still do it but my old body just won’t let me now.”
I guess we always want to look like we did when we were younger and be able to do the things we used to do. It’s human nature.
I am now amongst the oldest of hairdressers at the shows; I found myself observing all these beautiful young stylists crowded around to see the next product or demonstration of a new haircut. I thought to myself, “do they realize how fleeting it all is (Psalm 39:4)? Do they know where true beauty and joy come from? That it is not bought in a bottle or applied with a brush?”
It has been many years since the conversation with the once hurdle jumper, but I am understanding her more and more these days. Ladies, we can grow older gracefully and keep ourselves beautiful for our husbands and ourselves, but we need to remember this:
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self. The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
True Beauty Comes from the Father
If we are blessed to live a long life, we will see our beauty fade, and as it does we have the opportunity to share with younger women that true beauty is more than outward adornment. It is more than Webster’s definition. True beauty is our relationship with our heavenly Father. It’s letting Him transform us into the gentle and quiet spirit He desires.
What a great calling to speak truth into the lives of young women in today’s culture. Everything before them is in direct contradiction to what the Scripture says a woman of great worth is. We need to take seriously our responsibility to help guide them to be women of noble character. Many older Christian women have spoken into my life; they have challenged me in how to love my husband, raise my children, and love my parents. Sometimes I would get a little ruffled around the collar at their corrections, but I am forever grateful for their Godly advice.
Who might you come along side and show what true beauty is? Is there someone that you see getting lost in the sea of self-improvement? Is there someone who has helped you to grow in your relationship with the Lord? Let them know how much it has meant in your life. Leave the name of someone who has been an encourager in the Lord for you in the comments.