We spend a lot of time looking at ourselves in the mirror. Sometimes we like what we see and other times we walk away with a list of a million things we'd like to change. And it’s exactly those days that we keep returning to that self-absorbing mirror. Do we ever stop finding things wrong? No. Because we aren't perfect. No one is.  

Studies completed in the past few years by various groups have shown that women will spend an average of five days a year in front of the mirror. The average life expectancy for women in the United States is 81 years old. Lord willing you live to be 81, you will have spent 405 days of your life in front of a mirror. That’s over a year of your life.

Our standard of beauty is fixed on temporal things: Images we see from fashion magazines, actresses we see on TV, or the woman sitting next to you at church. We fall into a cycle of comparing our beauty with other peoples, forgetting that we each reflect God’s beauty. In Genesis 1:27 we learn that God created both men and women in his image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” You are just as much an image- bearer of God as the woman on the cover of that magazine. Though you may look nothing like her, you both reflect the image of your creator.

It is not a sin to be beautiful. Living in a country where physical beauty is celebrated from beauty pageants to magazine covers to career promotions for the more attractive - we get a distorted view of how we should celebrate beauty. Young ladies are shaped to crave to be sought out for their outward beauty. Our culture celebrates the physically beautiful yet disregards those they deem less so. Christians perceive beauty as something bad because of how the world perceives it. To be beautiful isn’t wrong, but our lenses for seeing and celebrating beauty shouldn’t be the same as the worlds.

The lenses we use to see beauty is God’s word. If a person were to spend 15 minutes a day studying the Bible for 81 years than we would only spend 308 days of our life in God’s word. This means that most people will spend more time in front of their mirror focusing on their outward beauty than spending time reading/studying their bible.  We know from Proverbs 31:30 that “beauty is fleeting”.  You won’t physically be beautiful forever no matter the amount of anti-aging cream you use or the surgeries you choose to have. You are going to get older. It’s a fact. Why fight it?

We fight it because we put our value in our outward beauty and not our inward beauty. In the same verse that we learn that beauty is fleeting we also learn that it’s the woman “who fears the Lord” who is to be praised. We learn how to fear the Lord not by changing ourselves physically to match the beauty of our neighbor but by spending time listening to God speak to you through his word.

We are surrounded by beauty. We see beauty in creation. We see beauty in a great meal, a sweet dessert, and in people. Beauty isn’t limited to a person’s physical appearance. Each of us with our own standard of beauty need to be reminded that all things beautiful and ugly point back to God’s fame and eternity. Stop comparing and competing to be beautiful and know God and let your relationship with him be the most beautiful thing about you. 

Amanda Edmondson is on staff at Sojourn Community Church is Louisville, Kentucky. You can follow her @amandaedmondson.

*This post was previously posted on the blog Miss America Reject