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Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.  ~Kahlil Gibran

There are many ideas about what is truly beautiful in our society.  Is it a tall, thin, tan body? Perfectly straight, bright-white teeth? Thick, bouncy hair? Flawless skin? No imperfections? No signs of aging? Sadly, that is what many women are striving for. Teenagers are buying whitening strips for their teeth, every expensive hair product under the sun, as well as using dangerous acne prescriptions in order to have perfect skin. Many are anorexic, and even 9 and 10 year olds are worried about their weight. High school and college kids (as well as other ages) are willing to risk having melanoma in order to get the perfect tan at the local tanning salon, and some are receiving breast implants as graduation gifts.

All ages are having plastic surgery, liposuction, and botox injections. About the only thing real on some people is their eyes, and those probably have artificially colored contacts in them!

How did we come to this? Why are we promoting the idea that all our worth is found in the way we look? How many people (particularly women) go to bed at night crying, because they feel they aren’t attractive. And even the most beautiful people, feel they aren’t beautiful enough.

When someone values us only because of our outward appearance, they will be sorely disappointed as time takes its toll. (And it most surely will.) Our bodies were made to age gradually, and it’s a shame that we can’t accept it. Many stars that I see these days look like they just walked out of the wax museum. It’s really creepy that their faces don’t move when they talk or laugh. After a while, they begin to look like a corpse walking around. (I mean there’s only so much than even plastic surgery can do.)

Aging gracefully is a truly beautiful thing. Being at ease with ourselves, at any stage of life, is so wonderful. I think it is the pressure of society that has thrown us into a frenzy about the way we look. Computers can produce the perfect, customized magazine cover-girl. Air brushing takes care of the rest. The images that we are so often trying to emulate aren’t even real! They are carefully manufactured.

If you have even a pleasant face, be grateful, because you cannot imagine what someone who is considered ugly, flawed, or disfigured goes through in this superficial world. The taunting, teasing, and shunning has no doubt caused many to take their own lives. To be so totally rejected must be the worst kind of pain and misery. And yet there are those who will take time to see beneath the surface of the beautiful, and not so beautiful. I have known many gorgeous women, who were no longer beautiful to me, once I got to know them. (Who they really were spoke so much louder than how they looked.) On the other hand, I have known both men and women who would not be considered attractive in any way, that just glowed with radiance, because they were beautiful on the inside, and their features just didn’t matter.

You want to know someone that I thought was beautiful? Dale Evans. The older she got, the more beautiful she became, because the more of Jesus I saw in her. She always had something good to say about everyone. She loved people, and she let them know it. There was a light that radiated from within. The Bible tells us that man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. How I wish more of us did…

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