“But let your adoring be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which to God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:4
Society worships at the altar of outward beauty. The term “Instagram or Pinterest Worthy” is a constant in our vocabularies. I go back and forth as to whether I admire or despise those flawlessly executed IG accounts, depicting perfection at every shot, angle, and hue. I love looking at and being in awe of other people’s ability to create and display beauty, but at the same time, when it’s lifestyle and person-centric (versus just scenery and art), it really puts a spotlight on my less than perfect account (ie: LIFE!). Even though I celebrate the success of every person, I can’t help being human, and sometimes feeling like what’s wrong with my life that it’s not that beautiful?
I wonder if we could ever create an app that celebrates and highlights our hidden beauty. That imperishable beauty of grace, forgiveness, kindness, and undeserved love towards one another? Our inner qualities, that which are not able to be viewed on a feed, are what God sees as precious.
This does not mean that we cannot love outward beauty as well or fashion, styling, or making things look lovely. Those things are some of my favorite things. But is our light for Jesus shining through it all?
1 Peter 3:8-9 goes on to say, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brother love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”
These are impossible things for us as broken, sinful human beings. I found out through my many rebellions, that when I walk away from God, my heart is stone cold. I’m terribly self-absorbed. My tender heart is much more like the consistency of a well-done filet mignon. When I do love, I love to be loved. And repaying hurt with blessings? If I’m not reviling for reviling, I’m retreating and shutting out instead.
I’m finding out though that the less I look within and the more I look to him, the more he transforms, restores, and redeems, softening our hardened hearts and filling us with mercy and grace, even for those whom our therapist would deem we walk away from. Maybe God says we need to love them without reciprocation instead.
Today’s solar eclipse should cast a shadow across nearly the entirety of the US, the first time in 99 years. The definition of an eclipse begins with “an obscuring of the light from one celestial body by the passage of another.” I believe just like Bonnie Tyler sings, we need a total eclipse of the heart.
Have we allowed our eclipse of darkness to shadow our light beneath? Might the shadow be our incessant need for outward approval of our external beauty verses that of an imperishable kind? May we use our outward beauty, our talents, and the mark we leave on this world to also reflect and share the glory of God, him who has created and gifted us with all that is pleasing and all that is good.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17