Beauty and the Beast is a timeless classic that has been remade and is hitting theaters this week. Many focus on the love story, because it wouldn’t be a Disney Princess movie without one. If we dig deeper, we discover that there are supporting themes of entitled love and inner beauty.
Gaston, the town big-shot, feels that he is the best looking in town and that Belle ought to be with him. He is good looking and muscular and never misses a shot. The ladies love him because they think he has it all---wow are they deceived. His love for Belle is superficial and lustful. However, Belle, the intelligent bookworm has only two loves--her father and books. She barely notices Gaston. He has to keep telling her how great he is and how lucky she would be to be with a guy like him. This is what I'm referring to as entitled love. Gaston thinks that because he is something great that he doesn't have to earn Belle’s respect or even get to really know her. He might be a hunter, but he is missing the target on this aspect known as inner beauty.
When we purchased our home eight years ago, we entered into homeownership with both cluelessness and enthusiasm. Our home was “flipped” and many interior aspects of it were updated. There was new paint and flooring. The inside of the house seemed bright and welcomed us to make it our home. However, the outside of our property needed some attention. Let’s just say that we bought the house because of its “potential.” Between the rose bushes and lilac trees (I call them trees because the one reached to the telephone wires!), a lot of work was in our near future. I began to compile an arsenal of backyard powertools that would make Tim the Toolman Taylor proud. I purchased a pruning chainsaw, pruning clippers, and the essential--firepit.
My assistants, a.k.a. my wife, friends and even my dad, aided in my beautification project. We started by trimming back the rose bushes just a little bit due to it already being springtime. Then, we began to work on the lilac bushes. The lilac bush at the back out of our property was trimmed back in a few hours by hand. Our next mission was to trim the lilac bush near our driveway. This was much more difficult due to the bush hanging over the road and being near the telephone lines. Utilizing a ladder and the pruning chainsaw, we took turns cutting branches and hauling the brush to its resting place. During our first year of homeownership, we cut back roughly ten truckloads of brush!
What does pruning and landscaping have to do with beauty? Alot. We had to search for the inner beauty that was only possible by looking past the overgrown ugliness of intertwined, unkempt bushes. If we had chosen to be disgusted by the exterior when we purchased the house, then we never would have seen the possibility of what could be. We had to do some work to see the landscape for its potential. Peter expressed this same idea
1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
Of course, people will focus on verses 1-2 of this chapter and say that it is outdated and untrue. The word “submit” throws readers off every time. To understand this Scripture, let’s take a closer look at it. It iis not saying that women cannot have nice clothes or take good care of their outward appearance. The Epistle of Peter is stating that women will find their true beauty when their souls connect with God. A woman’s focus shouldn’t be on whether or not they have the newest make-up craze or the best and most expensive jewelry. These are earthly things that don’t determine true beauty.
Next time you ponder the question, “Am I beautiful?”, remember this, inner beauty is unfading. It can be impacted by the opinions of others, but when a woman’s focus is on God, it cannot fade away. Ladies, no man will complete you and until you discover who you are in God's eyes. Don’t search for people who validate you. You are already “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14, NIV).
Finding beauty is a daily challenge for anyone. Here are a few tips in finding beauty amidst the chaos of life:
Spend 5 minutes outside, alongside God’s beauty. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? The God of all Creation created all of this beauty---just like he created you.
Go ahead and look in the mirror, but look past the makeup and the external beauty. What do you see? Who are you to God?
Stop comparing yourself to ______________ (fill in the blank). We all look like we have it together on Facebook. Think of it like this: Facebook = a book of faces. It is just a view of the external. You have to open a book to know the whole story. Get to know your “friends” and find their real beauty.
Post some reminders around the house about your inner beauty. The cute little signs you buy at Target don’t count. Handwritten reminders written by you, for you are best.
Get a life. This sounds harsh and admittedly, it is. If you are a career woman, get a life outside of the work day. If you are a stay-at-home mom, you work, too! Find a life outside of the home. Love your family and love your spouse, but don’t be afraid to have some fun.