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This evening, as I was sitting with my toddler, he began to play with my stomach “skin” and sing, “bouncy, bouncy, bouncy boo!”…thanks bud.
For years, I yearned to look like the cover of a magazine, have six pack abs, and turn heads with my very presence. (Yes, me. Miss hippy minimalist who now washes her hair with baking soda. Proof, people do change.)
Back in the day, that comment would have sent me on a six mile run followed by a strict diet of celery and carrots. (OK, slight exaggeration.)
Motherhood, fortunately, has changed my perspective a bit.
Lack of time, mixed with lack of sleep, mixed with I just don’t care anymore, has taught me a thing or two.
Here’s my revelation- six pack abs, perfect hair and fashion model clothing are a season. Eventually, our skin will stretch and wrinkle and our hair will grey. Eventually, all of us will breathe our last breaths and see our lasts days.
At your funeral, no one will talk about how great you looked in a bikini. No one will care, or remember for that matter. They will talk about who you were.
I am not saying it is bad to take pride in your appearance or want to look nice. Not at all. It is important to feel good about yourself. However, if you are spending hours chasing after an impossible image you saw on the cover of a magazine in order to impress someone else, you are wasting your time.
I’ll prove it.
Take your time to think of three truly beautiful people. People who are beautiful each and every moment of every day.
Got your list?
Did your choices have anything to do with their hair, make up or clothing?
Here is who I did think of:
Mother Teresa: A woman who dedicated her life to serving others. A woman who was honest about her faults and weakness. She became famous out of her humility. She loved so deeply that it radiated from her being, making her irresistible and impossible to ignore.
My grandmothers: Both of these ladies are beautiful in their own way. Both love their families unconditionally. Both would give up the shirt off her back and her last dime to help someone in need.
The first did not stop at just raising her own children. Instead, she continues to play a large part in raising her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Retirement for her is just a word. She gladly continues working each day, mothering everyone around her.
The second spends her time volunteering in more places during one week than I have in my entire life. Her infectious smile and spry sense of humor can, and does, make anyone’s day. She never misses the opportunity to shower you with love and compliments rich enough to make you blush.
I know, I said to make a list of three, but I’m just getting started. I don’t want you to think that you have to be over 60 to have lasting beauty. For some of us that would be a long wait. No, you can be truly beautiful no matter what stage of life you are in and these next two women prove it.
Katie Davis Majors: The author of Kisses from Katie and founder of Amazima Ministries. This girl, at the young age of 18, gave up everything she had in her “normal” life to move to Uganda. She traded in her material beauty for the beauty of authentic love. Instead of being your average teenager, she became a mom of many, a nurse, and a safe haven for an entire village.
Jennie Allen: Yet another average person who began following her heart and started a movement. Her book Restless came to me at the perfect time. Her story quieted my anxious soul and truly transformed my view of life and vocation. Her journey also led her to create a women’s ministry called IF focused on helping women find and live out their callings. They have a daily bible study IF:EQUIP that you can join from your pjs!
My list could go on for days to include other people who have influenced my life in great ways by allowing their real, raw beauty to shine through. By being honest about their faults, loving without expecting anything in return, and giving their time, energy, and resources to care for those around them.
From young to advanced in years, famous to locally known, beautiful people surround us everywhere we go, but sometimes you have to look beyond the outward appearance.
These beautiful women may not look like the cover of a magazine. Their beauty may not fit the world’s description.
Their beauty cannot be captured in a picture. It is too big for that.
It is in the way they live, how they love, how they serve.
It will outlive them. It will outlive time. It will leave a legacy bigger than what any of us can imagine.
The way I see it, each day, as we get ready in the morning, we have to make a choice. We can choose to spend our time seeking beauty that lasts for a moment or we can seek to be beautiful people.
Today I choose the second. Regardless of what clothing I wear, I can deeply love. Regardless of how my hair looks, I can joyfully give. Regardless of how much my belly “skin” shakes, I can humbly serve.
I can be beautiful each and every day, just by being me.
And so can you.
Let’s find beauty that outlives this moment and becomes who we are.
Who or what embodies true beauty for you? Join the conversation below!
Mom. Writer. Lover of all things DIY. My mission is to empower my fellow creatives to show money who’s boss, ditch debt and follow their dreams. Achieving debt freedom isn’t easy but our dreams are worth it!