Growing old in our culture (the United States that is) can be quite discouraging and challenging. Contributing to this dilemma, is society’s obsession with an outward image. To be beautiful is to be young and agile. Beauty, therefore, is defined by an outward image.
If we buy into this definition, we become targets of the enemy’s fiery darts. Thus, we may find ourselves laboring to maintain an outward youthful image. So where will that leave us when our hair turns gray, our skin has lost its elasticity, or the wrinkles in our face refuse to be concealed?
Recently, I witnessed someone who is a contradiction to society’s definition of what is beautiful. She is an elderly woman, a former high school teacher of mine. I watched her as she slowly and carefully (and I might add gracefully) ascended the steps to her destination. While her hair is gray, and she is obviously not as agile as she once was there is one thing about her that has remained constant–her inner beauty. To me, she is as beautiful now as she was when she was my favorite high school teacher (when society only noticed her outward beauty). However, the nature of her beauty did not grow dim with age.
Of course, it’s not that we shouldn’t strive to look our best. It’s just that we need to understand that our true beauty comes from within. What’s on the outside will fade in time, no matter our efforts.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.
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 3:3-4