What makes you beautiful? No, I'm not talking about the hit song made popular by the British band, "One Direction." Rather, I am attempting to answer a deeper question - one that each of us, regardless of background or personal journey, tries to ask themselves: what makes you - what makes me - beautiful? Is it the clothes we wear? Is it the way we look? Is it the car we drive or where we live? Is it how successful we are in school or a career? Is it how many friends we have or, more than that, how accepted we are among them?
So many of these things play into our impression of what makes "beautiful". We think that the outward, the physical, is what sets us apart. Perhaps also it is a bit of pride that wants to look better than the others. But what is true beauty? Could it be that it is found in the heart, in what is in the soul, more than the external? Could inner grace define someone, rather than the way they look or where they come from?
I have met some truly beautiful people, but it wasn't their outward appearance or their success in the world that attracted me: it was their smile, their big heart, their kind ways, their gentle words. These qualities cannot be measured. They are what make the difference. Some individuals may have the best looks, but their hearts are heavy; they frown in anger at life; darkness settles on their soul. The external is over-shadowed by the inner pain. Equally, another who may have a disfigured face or a body that was born missing parts of itself can transform a room into a scene of life, laughter, and happiness.
Beyond the mere observation of these things comes an even greater truth: every person, regardless of how they look, was created by God for a purpose. To Him, they are beautiful because He gave them life. They have value because of who they were made to be, not for the way they look or what they do.
Each of us tries to see one another and define ourselves, and each other, with human eyes. But what if we tried to view ourselves and each other God's way? What if the external mattered less and the internal mattered more? What if we didn't feel the need to change the outward because the inner beauty spoke louder? What if we could look each other in the eye and say, "You're beautiful - just the way you are!" How this would change the way we treat one another! We would leave off the name-calling, the need to tell each other that we are worthless, that we are ugly, that we don't matter. We would embrace ourselves and others as special people of value. We would recognize that everyone has been put on this earth to fulfill a God-given mission and to change the world, no matter what their personal looks or challenges are.
Outward looks don't mean much, though our society tries to tell us they do. What matters most is the person we become on the inside, for that is what makes us beautiful.