You know the saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?" I've been thinking about some things concerning beauty lately.
Mainly how, as we get older, what we consider most beautiful evolves.
Let me explain.
I've always considered myself one to "look at the heart." (2 Samuel 16:7 "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.") Don't get me wrong, I've done my fair share of looking at outward appearances as well. I have just always known that the heart was more important, always been conscious of this truth even when I was a teenager and it took me an hour and a half to get ready to go out! I've just been looking back and seeing where I knew the truth and lived it...sorta.
I think looking back over my life it is easy to see where I couldn't see the thorn for the rose or even the opposite is true. I couldn't see the rose for the thorns.
As I've gotten older and older I have gotten, I've truly seen beauty fade. (Proverbs 31: 30 "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.") Especially in regards to my own body.
When I was younger it was easy to see that physical beauty faded...in others. I told myself I would defy the odds. I would prove what it meant to age gracefully. Being in my "late thirties" has been humbling at best. I have come to realize I am the same as everyone else...If you quit being a group exercise instructor and workout less, you gain weight. If you spend time in the sun, you wrinkle. If you have babies, you sag. Like I said, humbling.
Not really depressing because I am satisfied in life and see its circle in my children. Just humbling. Okay. Really, really humbling.
I have come to realize that I didn't really see the heart at all. I valued outward appearance much more than I cared to admit. Still do. Only now I am admitting it. Confessing it. Running from it. Trying as hard as I can to really see the heart.
Thankfully my Redeemer has redeemed my heart, changed my heart. Maybe even more drastically than my body has changed, my heart has.
Trust me that's nothing I have done on my own. All I've really done is begged for mercy and run as far away as I could from the things my Lord has been gracious enough to allow me to see with these pathetic eyes.
I think that's why aging isn't more depressing. The older this body gets the more this old heart looks like the One I love.
This is where it hit me, how blind my eyes are. "There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over..." (Isaiah 53:2 The Msg)
You can read this verse in every translation. It is clear. Christ was not beautiful. Not attractive by earthly, physical standards.
His attraction came when he opened his mouth to speak truth, when he compassionately touched and healed the sick, when he took the time to treat the outcasts with respect.
And so, as I reread one of my all-time favorite passages in Isaiah this week I had to ask, "Would I have found him attractive? Would I have been drawn to him, with no earthly majesty?"
I like to think I would've been one of the many ladies who followed Jesus and took care of him. Would I have had too much to give up? Too many babies, too much family, too much desire for comfort, fashion and home?
Would I have taken the time to truly look at him if we had bumped into one another in the market? If he had gazed into my eyes and seen into my heart as he taught?
Even now, can I truly see?
Lord, give me eyes to see beauty as you do, to be attracted to Your beauty only.