I have this picture that I love. My youngest sister is looking at the camera and holding a ten dollar bill. Her hair is soaked through and matted all over her head and face. She’s got melted raccoon eyes from the mascara leaking down her cheeks. And she’s positively exuberant as she beams at the camera.
My husband has this tendency to try and talk people into things. That particular day, he wanted my sister to jump in my parent’s pool. Normally, that wouldn’t be a big deal, but that was a cold February day and their pool hadn’t been cleaned for several months. She eventually agreed, as long as she could change clothes first. He shot down that offer but offered to pay her. The negotiations seemed like they would never end when she suddenly let out a loud yell as she took off running and jumped into dirty, frigid pool. We heard another shrill scream as she jumped out and bolted toward the house while the rest of us collapsed in laughter.
When I see that picture I remember the laughter and the triumph in her eyes. She’s insanely beautiful, inside and out, but the beauty in that picture has nothing to do with eyeliner or a curling iron. It has to do with being in the moment. With happiness. With not worrying about the aesthetic side of things but just living.
Do you know what’s fun? Living your life free of wondering if you look good enough. The best times I’ve had in my life haven’t been those where I primped and curled and prettified until I felt acceptable for public eyes. It’s been when I’ve been spontaneous, spent time with those I love in laughter, accomplished something I didn’t think was possible, or seen God’s grace change somebody’s life. The best girls that I know, the ones I really love and really enjoy being with, aren’t afraid of looking ridiculous because they so much more on their mind.
We’ve all heard lessons on beauty: how it’s fleeting and true praise comes is deserved when one fears the Lord (Prov. 31:30), how real beauty is inner and comes from “a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:3-4), and how God looks deeply at our heart (1 Sam. 16:7). These are all true. They’re absolutely true and we should never forget that God cares a whole lot more about what’s inside of us than he cares how we look.
God is infinitely wise. He know us and sometimes what He’s given us in the Bible isn’t just because it’s what he wants. He does want it, but he also knows what we need. He knows how much we worry about our appearance in every little way and He knows how much easier, how much more fun, life can be if we just stop worrying, let go of our insecurities, forget about makeup and the quest for perfection, and just live our lives.
What are you missing out on? Beauty doesn’t last forever and when you reach the end of this life you won’t remember how pristine you stayed nearly as much as the memories you made. Live your life and don’t be afraid to jump in a pool every now and then.