Conversations from the kitchen table. My mother had this unique set of sayings, and one of the best was: ‘Pretty is as pretty does’. Basically what that means is no matter what your outside appearance might be, how physically attractive your face, or how well defined your muscles and sinuses- If your behaviour is unbecoming, that behaviour manages to outdo the glistening eyes, the full lips and the flawless skin.
Somehow we have gotten away from that revelation of a simple truth- that real beauty comes from the inside. The Bible tells us this, but somehow we disbelieve these ancient but wise words. That we are made beautiful by our choices to serve and to be available to others. Not by outward adornment- at least that’s what Peter says, not by the braiding of the hair or wearing makeup and jewellery but by an inner quiet spirit. An inner spirit that is like a weaning child at its mother’s breast. Still, and at peace with itself. That peace radiates from the inside out and makes us beautiful.
One’s carriage -The way one literally carries one’s self, and moves in the world changes the very atmosphere around us. That is enthralling, and that is beautiful in and of itself. So much effort is spent on not wanting to get old. Wrinkle creams and botox and plastic surgery, sometimes to the point of actually making one’s self ugly. The first real attack is our own self-hatred, our own self-rejection. We just don’t feel good in our own skin. How can we change this?
We change this by spending time in God’s presence. By looking into His visage, and we see ourselves reflected there because we are merely an extension of Him. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are His workmanship, but the Greek word is actually ‘poema’- we are God’s poem, and a poem can be nothing but beautiful when allowed to shine and resonate in its entirety without being marred by other’s hands and by our own hands. There is so much self-hatred and rejection expressed in suicide, expressed in cutting, expressed in food disorders whether that is anorexia or bulimia or overeating.
What we are saying in our daily choices about what we put in our mouths, What we put in our ears, what we allow to come out of our bodies and be done to them is whether we love ourselves. When I sit down to choose between what I am going to eat and whether I am going to exercise, Whether I am going to tend to my soul, whether I’m going to spend time watching Netflix or spend time playing my clarinet, I am saying how much I love myself. When my sum total of choices reveal how much I hate myself, then Houston, I’ve got a problem.
It’s a problem that is not going to be solved with skincare, or a trip to the beauty shop, or something new from Amazon. It’s only going to be solved by getting quiet, getting still and looking into the visage of my Creator. Remember that pretty is as pretty does. pretty does good to others through service and pretty does good to oneself. Something to chew on.