One of the most powerful things I've heard, that has stuck with me for a while now, is something I heard in a chapel this past year. The speaker reminded us to "pursue the beauty of holiness rather than the holiness of beauty." I ended up having a class with him this summer and I told him how that phrase resonated with me; He said he had heard that somewhere previously, but I am thankful that he repeated these words to a room full of college students, many of whom I know needed to hear it.
Pursuing beauty has become such a part of us that sometimes we don't even see how fake and how hurtful it can be. We mold ourselves daily to try to fit into an impossible standard. Our first thought is of how we can look just right, how we can be—appear—good enough. The pressure we put on ourselves and others in this way is extreme.
But when do we ever think to be good? To act in a way that benefits someone else and has a positive influence on this world? When do we think of pursuing Christ-likeness? Do we pursue His image more than we do the "perfect" image that we see on social media?
1 Peter 3:3-4 says, "Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."
The beauty that we chase after is so much less than the beauty that Christ longs to see in us.
I long to worry less about worldly, fleeting beauty and more about the beauty of a selfless life, a gentle soul and a compassionate heart. Although I know that, on my own, I can do no good and be no good, Christ can shine through me and that alone is what is beautiful.
Leviticus 20:26 says, "You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine."
Pursue the beauty of holiness. Not the "holiness" that we so often place on earthly beauty.