In a strange way, the word “beautiful” actually has a somewhat negative connotation in our society now. Because magazines and tabloids have placed a standard on what it means to have beauty, we now use the term “beautiful” as a high rank on the subjective scale of physical appearance. “Oh, she’s hot, but she’s not beautiful.” “She’s not pretty, she’s beautiful.”
Perhaps it sounds incredibly cliché of me, but I don’t believe in any pre-requisite for qualifying as beautiful, whether male or female. Beauty has been woven into each and every one of us by our Creator. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” “God’s handiwork.” It’s not something that some women have and some women don’t depending on how regal or plain their face might look, it’s a fact, it’s hardwired into each and every one of us. To be beautiful is to be whole, to be complete, to be the amazing person that God created you to be.
But how can that be true when I don’t ever feel beautiful? I do all I can. I work hard, I read a lot, I try and be my best self, but I rarely feel like an extraordinary person who was divinely created. That’s because the process for discovering that beauty is completely counter intuitive.
The Gospel itself is the most counter-intuitive movement to ever take place on earth. What type of movement tells it’s followers to die in order to live, to be last in order to be first, and to love those who don’t love you? And what type of movement has a leader who actually does all that? Jesus’ death was just as counter-intuitive. The cross is, at the same time, the most broken and the most beautiful picture ever painted, because on it, Jesus exchanges our brokenness for His beauty.
So as backwards as it may sound, discovering our God given beauty only comes through confronting our man given brokenness. The symbol of the cross means that there’s a trade on the table, your brokenness for Jesus’ beauty. It’s the most unfair trade in the world, but God is always willing to make it because of His great love for us. It is only through making that trade that we begin to discover the beautiful person we were created to be, in Christ.
Beauty then, is nothing more and nothing less than the light of Christ shining through the heart that has made that trade and discovered the power of beauty through brokenness.