Beauty From Within
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him … for the Lord sees not as man sees. Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 )
Yesterday I bought cupcakes. Not just any cupcakes, but fancy and pretty cupcakes from a specialty bake shoppe. I had been seeing pictures of these oh so yummy treats on Facebook for weeks now. I had a coupon for $5 off so I bought nine. (I needed enough to share ). I gave my husband the chocolate one (it had chocolate shavings sprinkled on top). I gave the girls vanilla ones (they had perfectly placed sprinkles). I gave my son the Oreo cheesecake cupcake (it had an Oreo cookie placed perfectly in the icing with bits of the cookie throughout the cupcake). And then I struggled over the one I wanted.
Should I choose carrot (my favourite cake) or caramel cheesecake? Both looked equally yummy. So rather than make a decision for one or the other, I had half of each. First, I tasted the carrot muffin. Although very pretty to look at, the muffin itself was dry and not very carrot-y inside. I was disappointed. But not for long because I still had half of the caramel one.
Visualize this. A cupcake with a caramel centre and cream cheese icing drizzled with caramel. It looked decadent inside and out. Sadly, it was dry too and not very tasty on the inside. How disappointing! These beautiful cupcakes were eaten but not one of us actually enjoyed them because they were all dry and not very yummy on the inside.
Those cupcakes reminded me of real life. How many times have we been fooled by beautiful people or things on the outside, only to find out that their beauty is only on the surface? I’ve had cupcakes that don’t always look pretty but I’ve gone back and eaten two or three … lol … because they are delicious. But in real life, I’ve had friends who are beautiful on the outside, with perfect hair, teeth, makeup, clothes, and coming in at a perfect weight…..and yet, they aren’t very nice on the inside. They make fun of not so perfect people — the girl whose hair never fell the right way, or the boy with an imperfect nose and teeth, or people who were a little over weight. What I learned from this is that these perfect shiny people on the outside were cold and mean on the inside.
I’ve also had not so perfect on the outside friends. These are the remarkable friends whose beauty shines from the inside. The girl who carries those extra pounds? Well, she is behind the scenes making people happy on a daily basis. The boy with the not so perfect nose or teeth? He spends his free time helping the elderly stay as independent as they can, for as long as they can.
Of course, not every beautiful person is mean. Sometimes, their inner beauty is so strong, it carries right through to the outside making that particular person special. That person is the one who probably doesn’t realize they are beautiful. They typically spend more time looking at how they can help others instead of in the mirror. I know people like this. They are everywhere but they don’t live in the spotlight. Instead, they like the shadows where they can just quietly do good stuff without drawing attention to what they are doing.
Let me take this analogy one step further. Have you ever gone into a store and saw that perfect appliance that would look beautiful in your home, or a shiny new car on a car lot and had to have it? Yet, when you get your purchase home, it either doesn’t fit where you envisioned it, or a few days later it’s not so pretty anymore. That new car smell, for example, only lasts a week or so. The same with the shiny dash and windows that only take a day or two to get dusty with fingerprints everywhere.
Sometimes, we are so blinded by all that new shiny on the outside that we forget to look under the hood of the car to make sure it isn’t a lemon. Or once that appliance is nicely fitted in our kitchen, it has fingerprints that won’t come off (I’m talking from experience here ) Or there are other issues that weren’t considered when making the purchase. The fridge, for instance, has an ice maker that is terrible on the light bill but agreeably, it was super pretty in the store. When we get blinded by pretty things, sometimes we forget that the ones we already have are still perfect … just maybe not as pretty.
The same goes for cupcakes. I can bake cupcakes in every flavour that are almost perfect but I was pulled in by those pretty pictures. I got caught up in the pretty trap. So the lesson is this. Don’t always trust something because it’s new or shiny or pretty. Sometimes, the old, dusty and imperfect alternative will taste better, work better and treat people better.
All we need to do is look at the inside or under the hood to find our God given hidden perfection!!!!!!