After looking through the Sunday advertisements, I felt a slight skip in my heart. Sales—make-up sales, to be specific.
Hmmm, did I need anything?
I considered my slim stock of facial enhancements and realised grimly that I didn’t honestly “need” a single item. Still, I was drawn to the glamour and allure promised by the manufacturers of these accoutrements. Yet again, I paused and thought hard, trying to remember if I had all my facial bases covered. A tad disappointed, I had to admit for the second time in less than two minutes I did not require one solitary addition to my beauty supply store.
I finished perusing the remainder of the newspaper and was in the midst of carefully stacking it to fit onto my used paper shelf when I spied the same colourful ad, enticing me to reconsider my decision. This is ridiculous, I thought to myself. I’m not 13 years old nor am I a 40-something prima donna wanna-be.
Puzzled, I continued to muse the rest of the afternoon about why I was so drawn to that which enhances beauty or creates an illusion of its existence.
Strange, given my personality. I rarely spend more than 30 minutes from the moment I step into the shower to when I walk out the door in my daily ministrations.
Yet, like most women I know, I find lotions, perfumes, facial make-up and hair accessories mesmerising at times.
Likewise, I can hardly resist lighting a fragrant candle or rearranging a vase full of fresh flowers to their best advantage.
I spy a silk blouse that would look perfect on a friend and have difficulty walking away. In my heart of hearts, I long to surround myself and those I love with expressions of beauty from every angle.
Unable to decide if my bent toward outward enhancements was a blessing or a curse, I determined to see what the Bible had to say on the subject.
Expecting a slap on the wrist for giving in to the world’s idea of airbrushed perfection, I came away surprised and relieved.
For every woman who secretly harbours some shame at being drawn to the high-gloss marketing pledges for makeovers or slimming plans, take heart. The Bible not only alleviates the guilt, its principles supply the whys and wherefores of the female’s timeless quest for beauty.
First though, let us not neglect the fact that the astute writer of Proverbs does, indeed, repeatedly warn women who become obsessed with enhancing their outer self to the detriment of their inner-spiritual (and let’s not forget) eternal loveliness. Women of all ages do need to be forearmed and forewarned, because any preoccupation with external beauty can render us fruitless, effectively sidetracking our thoughts and emotions by interjecting false and destructive goals.
Women need to understand it is more valuable to measure our loving service to people and not get sucked in to a preoccupied plan of self-improvement.
Still, as individuals endowed with inventive natures, women echo creative expressiveness as we attempt to introduce beauty, not only into our surroundings but on and in our very person.
The truth is, women are wired for beauty and, used rightly and responsibly, this asset can become a mighty force for good.
Even the most sceptical observer need only take a fleeting glance toward the great masterpiece of divine artwork to realise how highly valued beauty is in all its diversity. Colours that put a rainbow to shame—a myriad of shapes, sizes, and smells in flora and fauna— assail any person who takes a moment to pause and truly see what has been masterminded in the natural world.
As women learn to embrace these lovely gifts of beauty, we can better appreciate why we yearn for such reminders of holy and untainted purity all around us. In a word, women can cease kicking themselves for wanting to recreate all that is beautiful, and stop repressing the urge to extend time and energy playing copycat at creating splendour.
Our community waits for us to use our intuitiveness, our sensitive natures, to deliver an elevated standard of exquisiteness to our surroundings, and how better to accomplish this lofty goal than by offering our best in bringing small touches of beauty to a flawed world.
Women can rejoice that the Bible affirms and understands how spiritually rejuvenating creature comforts can be: “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart” (Proverbs 27: 9). So once again women may breath deeply, casting off the false guilt of suppressed desire for a new tube of lipstick, a pumpkin-spice candle or a long-ago set aside wish for kitchen wallpaper that mimics a country garden.
So what’s the next step? Create! Emote! Fabricate! Imagine! Every wise woman should understand their recipients applaud our creative efforts. As the original designer, God underscores our efforts to usher in beauty within our worlds. With balance and care, even our bodies can attest to and reference our commitment to blessing those around us if we make certain that we mirror love toward others.
Should we spend hours a day wasting away in front a mirror or languishing over what we cannot purchase to complete our “dream” home? Obviously not. While women can use their bent toward beauty to bring light to their world, we should not get stuck in the process. Rather, it is more beneficial for us to see the value of beauty and recognise its place and position in our lives.
Whether we are women in the home, at school or in the workplace, we all have daily opportunities to serve those around us with caresses of beauty. Be it by taking a few extra moments to cut some fresh flowers to grace a sterile office, setting out a fragrant bowl of potpourri to revive the spirit, or settling down with a luxurious hand lotion for some needed therapeutic remedy, women instinctively know how to bring a healing balm to their surroundings and themselves.
With hearts overfull of beauty and hands ready to serve, what bounty women can convey to the unseeing world! Don’t fight against God-given internal mechanisms; rather, learn to work with them, collaborating in the destitute fields overflowing with readiness and hungry for a woman’s tender touch of beauty.