In the closing pages of HEAL, Lesson 6, we are challenged to get our eyes off of outward aspects of “beauty,” and to allow God to change us inwardly, to cultivate inner beauty. We are encouraged that it isn’t that God is against ways of being beautiful outwardly necessarily. Hair styles, makeup, clothing can be acceptable means of working with the outward expressions of who we are, but they are not to be our focus.
Instead, we are to pursue having that gentle and quiet spirit that is mentioned in 1 Peter 3. The authors encourage us regarding pursuing this:
Such a woman is at peace with her God. She trusts him completely as the number one relationship in her life. She understands where her true value and worth lies–that it’s not in the clothes she wears, the guy she dates, or her socioeconomic background. She’s fully aware of her identity as a beloved daughter of God. Her spirit is at rest–gentle and quiet because she knows that no matter what trouble comes her way, her future in Christ is secure. No amount of striving, accomplishments, or external beauty can make her more valuable or loved in the eyes of her Lord. (Smith and Halliday, HEAL, page 113)
Every rare once in a while, I get a glimpse of what this might look like practically–at least in part. Earlier this week, I had one of those rare moments. I was truly physically hungry and had been for a while. As I sat down at the dining table, I was filled with gratitude to God for the beauty outside my kitchen window, for the family present under the safety of the roof God has given, for a husband that works diligently to provide for us and the wonderful job that he has. I was moved to praise God for the flavors and textures of what I was sitting down to eat as fuel for my body.
When, after just moments and only a few bites I sensed a nudging in my spirit that this was all the food I needed, I didn’t question or argue or fuss, I just gave the rest to my dogs :-), thanked God that my body needs so little food and was done with the meal. I didn’t argue, justify, rationalize. (How strange!)
It wasn’t an experience filled with anxiety, striving, stressing…how many calories, points, or pats on the back for how “good” I was being. It was just a moment that I (super)naturally heard the Lord and responded…that was all. Peace, confidence, rest. Hmmm….
On I went with my day.
When I surrender to His authority in my life, there is no striving over how much I can eat or how frustrated I am at not being hungry sooner (or at all). There is delight in His presence. I can’t say that I am in this place terribly often, but when I am it is worlds apart from the tenor of my “typical” life!
There is peace and beauty and rest…and I know that the way I feel inwardly likely radiates outwardly, too!