Watching children grow up is both sweet and bittersweet. On the first day of junior high, as Edmund and I stood in line to check in, I watched former sixth grade girls—fellow classmates of my son—step into the line.
Many of them wore makeup, covering their natural beauty, their natural features. Brushing color onto their cheeks and nuancing their eyes to look more grown up, to appear more beautiful.
In some ways, it’s a coming-of-age for young teenage girls. The rite-of-passage of learning how to apply mascara, lipstick. Of discovering how to style hair so it frames the face in the most perfect way.
The world tells us we need to make ourselves beautiful. It sends the message that we must look like the celebrities. Dress like them. Style our hair like them.
That’s the skin-deep level.
And for young girls, er ladies, so many look to the world’s definition of beautiful. Too many won’t hear or receive the message from those who love them most—they are already beautiful.
Many are yet unable to grasp the truth—that which is on the inside is what makes them beautiful. The world poo-poo’s this truth.
The world is determined to direct how we identify ourselves.
The thing is? God has gifted every single person with an identity, a heart imprint of Him.
The world wants to claim these girls’—and all people’s—God-given identities.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not shaming teen girls for wearing makeup. Not at all. I loved the first day I could officially brush color across my eyelids. I felt so grown up.
I wanted to finally be noticed, considered pretty. I was so sure makeup and a cute haircut would get me that.
What too often happens is that young women begin to rely on externals to define their version of “beautiful.” They depend on the mask they apply each morning.
To hide behind.
To create a persona.
The world’s fingerprints smudge everything around us.
Much of what the world calls beautiful, God calls shallow.
What the world says defines us—titles, degrees, reputation—these all come to nothing in the light of eternity.
The world’s intent is to woo us into its mindset, to blind us to who Jesus says we are. We’re lured into the “need” to cling to the identity the world wants us to take.
The world demands the best of us. It seeks to suck up the innate identity God has given us—our strengths, abilities, giftings, appearance—and use these to enslave us to its ideologies.
To its way of living life.
God has something so much better. He desires our best. Where the world craves to suck us empty, God yearns to fill us up.
Where the world strives to enslave us—binding us with its chains—God offers freedom.
The hard thing is? We must be willing to forsake one identity and step into the unknown. When we know one way of thinking—one way of identifying ourselves—we are comfortable with that. It feels safe, because it’s a known.
God asks us to step out in faith. He reveals the lies we’ve embraced as truth and urges us to release them.
To trust Him.
To walk into an unknown relationship in order to find freedom.
To discover what it really means to be loved.
It’s only when we accept the truth of who God says we are—blemishes and all—that we discover what true beauty is. That we can learn in Whom our identity is based.
I’m not on an anti-teen-girl-makeup campaign. Rather, I’d love to see teens discover during these hard years that their identity isn’t in who their peers say they are. Or even in what they can achieve academically, athletically, socially, or in any other -ly.
I wear makeup. And I style my hair most days. But, I no longer find my identity in how pretty I look. My identity is defined by the Creator of the Universe.
And He says each of us is cherished, treasured, His beloved. He’s given us gifts to use for His glory and for our good.
Let’s pray for the teen girls—the women—in our lives that each of us will take that step into the unknown and embrace how God defines us. That we strip off the world’s identity for us.
What about you? How did you discover your identity? How do you combat the world’s ways of defining you?
Click to Tweet: Much of what the world calls beautiful God calls shallow
I’m linking up with #RaRaLInkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and Holley Gerth
This song seems to fit the idea of understanding each person’s true beauty. If you have a minute, take a listen: