Friday, January 18, 2008

Plain Jane, Somber Sally and Superficial Sue

Have you ever attended a funeral for a "Plain Jane" whose features or body shape did nothing to capture the imagination, and yet everyone remembers her as beautiful anyway? It's that perpetual smile that does it. No, not the straight lines of pearly white teeth nor the lush, full, wine colored lips. But the infectious joy that continually starts from deep in her heart, shines through her eyes, and touches you to the core.

For all my efforts to "be beautiful" outwardly, in the end it's what is inside that really does matter. Some of the most beautiful people are ones I would least seek out as friends, for their beauty goes as deep as the skin and no farther. They will forever struggle to hold onto the quickly fading exterior, while character and depth of heart are overlooked. At their funerals, sure their outer glory may be mentioned, but it isn't going to be what endears them to the memories of their mourners. I would much rather be a "Joyful Jane" than a "Superficial Sue"!

So how does Jane stand out as beautiful? I think she knows the secrets of Proverbs 31, that Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. - (vs 30, The Message). Not "fear" as in "run and hide" but as in reverent honor, in knowing He has the ability to snuff out my life in a single breath, yet trusting Him to sustain and guide me as a loving Father, step by step. If I'm living in this kind of relationship with Him, I will be making each choice with a heart for what would bring Him glory rather than how to gain notice for myself.

Does this mean I need to be neglectful in how I present myself to the world? To scorn makeup, tie my hair in a knot and dress in rags like "Somber Sally"? Absolutely not! In fact the same passage that describes a woman of beauty states, She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. - (vs 25, NIV). My character can shine through the way I dress, the outward can be a reflection of the strength He provides in my heart. Unlike Sally, I can delight in the fun of shopping for those perfect pair of shoes (as long as I'm not going into debt to do it) because God is the creator of beauty and He delights when I take joy in the body He has given me.

Somber Sally works so hard at following the "rules" that she has forgotten that her strength and joy come only from the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10). And Superficial Sue, though the eye's delight, is probably even less happy than Sally. While I my only be a Jane, I pray that what is remembered of me is my shining smile, ready laughter, and beauty much more than skin deep.


Olivia said...

What a darling post! Really well done. Love the names!

Heather@Mommymonk said...

I like your characters here: Somber Sally I know well and superficial Sue, but I want to be Joyful Jane!

Miss Sandy said...

Wonderful post on culitvating inner beauty!

Miss Sandy

Audrey said...

What a truly lovely post. A beautiful smile is tough to not respond to. When I see a beautiful smile, it just makes me feel good.

Audrey :)