Last week one of our local papers, the Orange County Register, published an article I’d written entitled “Angelina Jolie and Me”. The article was an edited version of my blog post by the same name from May 15. Evidently, the editor thought it was news-worthy because of all the media coverage of Jolie’s double mastectomy which she chose to have to stave off life-threatening cancer. The article along with a large photograph of Angelina Jolie and one of her children was about a 3/4 page spread.
I wasn’t unhappy about the coverage because the main point of the article was “what is true beauty?” In it I wrote, “In a report on Angelina Jolie, one PR agent is quoted as saying that in her choice for a preventive double mastectomy, ‘She’s redefined beauty.’ I want to say to him and others, ‘Sorry, Friend, Angelina Jolie didn’t redefine beauty. Real beauty has been there all along – it’s just that you and others didn’t have eyes to see it!’”
What is true beauty? The culture says it’s a trim, perfectly shaped body with bountiful breasts, hair comprised of cascading locks, and a face without blemish or wrinkle. Is that real beauty? Well, certainly that image can be beautiful! I mean, let’s be honest, if that describes you, get on your knees and praise the Lord! But Scripture tells us — God tells us, that beauty is much, much more.
This morning in my prayer chair, I spent some time repenting to the Lord for thoughts and words said in crankiness and anger over the last several days. Now, because I’m a pastor, I work really hard to make sure my flock is NOT the recipient of my crankiness and anger! But we all still struggle with our sometimes carnal side, so my dear hubby Prince Philip knew I was cranky and he heard me say some angry words. He can attest to the fact that I am still SO human!
So in prayer as I was receiving the Lord’s forgiveness for my sinful self, I heard Him say, “Anger doesn’t look good on you. Crankiness doesn’t become you.” And I knew exactly what He was saying. You see, in God’s eyes, beauty is an expression of our inner being. In 1 Samuel 16:7, God says so succinctly, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” And as God looked at my heart, it wasn’t all that attractive — anger and crankiness don’t look good on me!
Yes, Lord, I agree — crankiness and anger are highly unattractive. So Lord, what DOES become me? What looks good on me? What is true beauty?
- Well, PRAISE MAKES US BEAUTIFUL! Psalm 33:1 says, Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous ones; praise from the upright is beautiful. Said more succinctly, PRAISE LOOKS GOOD ON YOU! When I stop complaining, griping and criticizing and instead, turn my heart to praise and worship God, true beauty blossoms for all to see! Praise looks good on me!
- A GENTLE AND PEACEFUL SPIRIT IS TRULY BEAUTIFUL. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says that true beauty doesn’t come from outward adornment, but from a gentle and peaceful spirit. That’s why I need daily to reject harshness or bitterness and to put on gentleness instead. That’s why I need to move out and away from chaos and to move into a place of quietness and peace with the Lord. I am beautiful when my spirit is gentle and at peace with God and man. Gentleness and peace look good on me!
- BEING IN AWE OF GOD IS TRUE BEAUTY. It’s the Proverbs 31 woman who teaches us this one. In Proverbs 31:30 we read that “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” How often a woman’s charm can be deceptive — come on girls, admit it! And outward beauty according to the world’s standards will pass away — just ask any Hollywood actress over the age of 50! But true beauty can be found in the life of any woman or man who stands in awe of Yahweh. When I fear God instead of fearing man and when I try to impress God instead of trying to impress others around me — I am beautiful. Godly awe looks good on me!
When my niece Maleea was little and I was visiting, she would ask me as I began to get ready in the morning, “Putting on your bootiful face, Auntie Cackie?” For her, when I put on my makeup, I was putting on my “bootiful face”!
So today the answer is yes, Maleea! Today, I am leaving crankiness and anger behind. Today I am putting on my “bootiful face”. Today, as I put on my mascara and lipstick, I will also put on praise, gentleness, peace and godly awe. And THAT IS my truly “bootiful face”!
After more than 25 years in parish ministry, Rev. Cathie retired in early 2018 to pursue a quieter life with her husband Philip in the mountains of Central Oregon. Although no longer a leader in congregational life, she continues to follow her calling and passion to minister to those who suffer, especially those with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.