Believe it or not I haven’t always been pretty. I know, I know, hard to believe, right? Well, it’s true. (One of my dearest friends has pictures to prove it! *insert shriek*)
I would like to think I swanned into my present-day pretty. I’m kinda glad it happened that way, too. See, growing up, sun-kissed, chocolate girls like myself weren’t always the commercial standard of beauty. When you look different, you get teased and called names. My mom raised me to believe that I was beautiful at any shade, but she couldn’t go to school with me.
Now, I was not relentlessly teased or bullied, but I had my fair share of dark girl nicknames.
Eventually, I got older, my teeth caught up with the rest of my face, my once lanky legs became shapely and I finally figured out what to do with my hair. This didn’t happen until I was around 17. Yep, I’m the classic case of The Late Bloomer.
Don’t cry for me, Argentina. There were
mildly annoying benefits. I was able to focus on classwork instead of boys (most of the time) and I enjoyed high school without the pressure of being one of the popular girls. (I imagine it was tons of work keeping your hair done and making sure you didn’t repeat an outfit too soon.)
So, I blossomed into my young womanness in college but I didn’t become fully pretty until a little later.
When I say pretty I don’t mean the outward me. What I am referring to is that inner beauty, that self-love that no one can take away. That God-given peace of mind that comes with the full understanding that since He loves me I am worthy of love. The gifts, abilities and talents that leave others in awe… The ability to focus on Him and walk in your purpose; that’s real pretty.
I recently taught a lesson on Esther, the unlikely queen who saved a nation. She used her pretty for a purpose. (If you find time, read the story. It’s pretty amazing.)
I got the idea of my lesson from a line a close friend and I used to say to one another a few years back: DON’T WASTE THE PRETTY. (A quote from the classic dating book, He’s Just Not That Into You)
My initial question to the ladies was: “What does it mean to be pretty?”
One of the youngest audience members raised her hand. Once I acknowledged her, she replied,
“Being pretty is not about what’s on the outside. It’s how you treat others. How you present yourself. Being pretty is the inner you that shines forth.”
Esther didn’t waste her pretty on just looking the part. She used her pretty as power, persuasion, persistence. She got the job done.
This lesson got me to thinking about my own pretty. My purpose. My walk. Me.
It made me happy that God allowed me to swan into the woman I am today. As a swan, I’m ever-evolving into His definition of beauty.
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. – 1 Peter 3:3 NIV
While I love to adorn my fro with accessories and have an affinity for vintage dresses, the pretty that I strive to possess is that which is pleasing in God’s sight. My pretty is my purpose. My purpose is His will. It wasn’t an easy process coming to terms with my pretty as I still have unpretty moments. With time, I find that each day is a chance to walk more perfectly and let my pretty shine for the benefit of others. I can’t define my pretty in a sentence but these words that you’re reading are a portion of it. I pray that I am able to unveil more parts of my pretty more frequently for His glory. I give you permission to do the same.
Share your pretty.