How to Teach Our Daughters about Real Beauty

by Erin Weidemann , Christian Examiner Contributor |

Maybe your daughter isn't old enough yet to care if a pair of pants she's wearing are a size too small after she grew two inches this summer. She's not thinking about whether her favorite shirt and coziest pair of pants actually match. She might be too young to worry about people laughing at her hairstyle when she asks for three random ponytails on the top of her head instead of two. Don't you just love the innocence?

It's not that caring about our appearance is all bad, but as you well know, it's easy for that caring to turn into an unhealthy obsession. As women, it can be so easy to allow our own eyes to deceive us. We look in the mirror and wish God had done something different when He designed our physical form. We don't consult God's word for validation or the truth about how He made us. We choose to believe that the world has more to say on the subject of beauty than God does. But we can't live there, because it's up to us to teach our daughters what God says about real beauty because it's His brand of beauty that will last for eternity.

Here are three quick reminders about biblical beauty:

1. God's definition of beauty is the only one that matters.

"But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'" – 1 Samuel 16:7

How often do we set unreasonably high expectations for ourselves? We expect more from ourselves than anyone else ever could. Whether it's our work, raising our kids, or the way we look, we always desire to be greater, to be more. How often do we stop and think about where our worth truly lies or who's definition of success and beauty is the one that matters?

Understanding that our beauty is defined by God alone, not ever-changing cultural trends or our unrealistic expectations, is the first step in releasing our desire to be something we are not. The world does a great job at convincing us that we have to look and carry ourselves a certain way. We've grown so used to it we don't even realize it's happening. Almost unconsciously, we are critiquing every part of our appearance based on an unrealistic and unattainable standard. Allowing God to define our beauty gives us space to live as the women He desires us to be, and the grace to teach our daughters the same thing.

2. Just because you don't feel beautiful doesn't mean you aren't beautiful.

"For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." – 1 Peter 2:9

What we feel often becomes our truth. Whether it's accurate or not, once we get something in our head, we're convinced it's legitimate. It's no different when it comes to feeling beautiful. We may not wake up every day, look in the mirror and think, "I look beautiful today", and that's okay. Looking beautiful is not the same as being valuable. Physical beauty does not change what we are worth to the Lord. He fought for us. He created us to be exactly who He wants us to be. God specifically chose us—and that alone makes us beautiful.

Maybe we need to change our definition of beautiful. The world seems to think beauty means one thing, while the Bible teaches us something different entirely. Believing that His definition of beauty is the one we need to latch onto allows us to live into our full potential as chosen sons and daughters of the Creator. Showing our daughters that we believe this for ourselves will speak volumes into how they see themselves. Let's teach them that their beauty is determined by Him and Him alone.

3. You can be a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time.

"While we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds." - Titus 2:13-14

Believing that God speaks beauty and worth over us is easier said than done. At the end of the day, we are still inundated with messages that attempt to steer us in the opposite direction. Changing our thought processes takes time—and a whole lot of grace. Some days will be easier than others. Some mornings you'll wake up and believe that you are who He created you to be. But there will also be days when we look in the mirror and believe what the world tells us we should believe. And you know what, that's okay. There will be highs and lows, but believing our eternal worth is a process. Showing our daughters that we aren't perfect, that we struggle as much as we succeed allows them to understand grace—grace for ourselves and grace for the process. Be honest, be vulnerable and allow Him to speak beauty over you—all you have to do is stop, breathe and listen.

Let's teach our girls that real beauty has nothing to do with the mirror and everything to do with our Maker. Pray these truths today: first over you and then over that sweet little girl you're raising.

Erin Weidemann, founder and CEO of Bible Belles and award-winning author of The Adventures of Rooney Cruz series, is committed to changing the world's current definition of beauty.

As a certified teacher, coach, and nationally recognized speaker, she offers speaking, workshops, and seminars to equip women of all ages to let go of fear and step into the unique leadership roles for which they were designed. She is also pleased to be a part of the Speakers Bureau for World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization.

A five-time cancer survivor, Erin lives in San Diego, CA and speaks at events, conferences, fundraisers, churches, and schools. Funny and real, Erin is also the host of the Heroes for Her podcast, interviewing celebrities, actors, musicians, and other women who are living out their passions in line with their personal values.