I punched the radio off.
“Modest is hottest…” I muttered under my breath, turning on my blinker for the gym. I get the alliteration; it’s really catchy. The mission itself has accomplished much good. But the name is an utter contradiction.
I’m a fit, healthy woman who enjoys looking great both for my soon-to-be-husband and for my own self confidence. But I’m not hot, and I don’t want to be. Here’s why.
1. I believe my body’s value is independent of shifting cultural preferences.
The coffee table art book depicted centuries of masterpieces. I flipped through the pages, intrigued by the changes. The women of these paintings came in every shape, size, and color – but depending on the era, there was a common trend. In the 1500s, they were definitely more robust. In the 1700s they had a distinct hourglass. Into the 1800s their hair changed style every decade. In the 1920s a boyish, flapper frame was desirable, and in the forties the waspish hourglass was back in vogue. And now: skinny. Just plain skinny.
If I measured myself against the desirable woman of today, I would be demoralized by my inadequacy. My skin isn’t clear enough, my chest isn’t big enough, my legs aren’t long enough, and my hair is too frizzy. But I don’t measure myself against what I see on People Magazine or in Pinterest. My body’s value does not have to be dependent on what the world I live in thinks is ‘hot’.
Because frankly, they’re wrong.
Only two centuries ago, the ‘desirable woman’ was a size 16. At my size 6, in their day I would have been the odd woman out! Since culture changes so often in its opinion of ‘gorgeous’, I’ve decided to ignore their opinion completely. While they waffle about their standards of beauty, I’ll decide for myself what beautiful is.
2. I prioritize improving my spirit, mind, and health before improving my physical appearance.
One major reason I’m not a ‘hot girl’ is because ‘hotness’ pertains only to physical appearance. I’ve never met someone with a ‘hot mind’ or a ‘hot heart’. The word ‘hot’ is a sexual term related to how worked up a guy or girl gets by the other person’s sexual appeal. Look it up. It’s slang for sexual excitement.
I haven’t worked this hard to be an intelligent, accomplished, spiritually grounded being to accept being referred to in slang terms. I’m too good for that. And so are you.
I have made and still make every effort to improve my spirit by seeking God. My God-orientation requires me to value myself and others because God values people. He would never want me to be demeaned, and would be grieved if I allowed that myself. Women who are seeking to improve their spirit, mind, and health (not just physically) are not flattered by or attracted to sub-par overtures. They don’t take ‘hot’ as a compliment because hotness ignores all facets of character and intelligence. It is not something to be sought after.
3. I believe my external attractiveness is dependent upon the state of my spirit, mind, and health.
When my spirit is yielded to God, I’m a pretty nice person. When it’s not, I can be a very difficult to live with.
A Christian woman should be growing steadily more attractive with time because she is growing steadily into her relationship with God, the source of all things beautiful. The external beauty of a woman is inseparably linked to the state of her spirit, mind, and health.
I once read that Megan Fox, one of Hollywood’s ‘hottest’ actresses, is a one of the worst actresses to work with on set. She is known to be difficult, petty, and proud. She may have all the looks, but her spirit and mind are never renewed. In a long term relationship, a woman of that caliber quickly grows stale. But a woman whose happiness is sourced in eternal joy and whose mind is spent on meaningful things will always be attractive and interesting.
The more focus we put on becoming women who know God, who know practical, life-applicable skills, and who know how to keep themselves healthy, the more attractive we become on the external level. Being gorgeous starts internally and works its way out. It can never start on the outside and work its way in.
4. I do not need man’s approval, in any form, to be confident of who I am and what I look like.
Today, being hot is the gauge of one’s value to the opposite sex.
But what if we vault the opposite sex and consult with the upline – namely, the Creator of the opposite sex?
Before sin twisted beauty into lust, God designed our bodies to be beautiful as He defines beauty. Man’s opinions are degree upon degree away from this original definition. The further man wanders from God and his original design, the less he will be able to recognize real beauty and the more drawn he will be to the cheap imitations. But we, Christian women – we aren’t imitations, and we certainly aren’t cheap. We’re the real thing.
Women who seek God’s approval for their actions – including how they dress – will behave in a way consistent with true beauty. His approval affects our words, our looks, and our attitudes, as we become more and more unified to the loving Spirit of our God. That spirit has no fellowship with the darkness of perversion and deranged ‘beauty’. Thus the approval of passing men, cultural influence and popular trends roll by God’s woman like tumbleweeds in the wind. Her confidence is unaffected.
After all, God made her beautiful, and no opinion is greater than his.
5. I wanted a good man, and good men seek beauty – not hotness.
In the nearly 18 months I’ve been with Mr. M, I have been told I am beautiful every single day. I am very fortunate to receive such continual validation, including on the days I look or act completely the opposite!
My fiancee has always thought I am pretty, but as mentioned in my post Stars and Butterflies: Why Attraction Isn’t Necessary, I wasn’t a showstopper. It wasn’t until we came to know each others’ hearts that our love blossomed. Mr. M wasn’t looking for a hot wife – he was looking for a godly one. While I have certainly not mastered a Christ-centered life and would never portend to have done so, my values resonated with his own and it was the promise of an eternal beauty that drew us together: the kind of beauty transcending perfect skin and smooth hair. He sought a beauty of spirit. When he found that in me, my external beauty was illuminated further.
Granted, when a couple is married, it is perfectly acceptable for a husband and wife to banter concerning the sexual attractiveness of their partner. I’d even say it is something to look forward to! But outside of marriage, emphasis on sexual appeal has the power to drive women into insecurity and dependence on validation from men.
Even now that I am marrying this wonderful man, if I were dependent upon his validation for my security I would have an emotional breakdown the moment that validation ceased or my body changed. Though I know I will always be beautiful to him, my security comes from knowing my God thinks I am beautiful. When children scar me with stretch marks, when wrinkles crease my forehead even further, and when the spider veins do a number on my legs, Christ looks at my spirit, not my fading body. Without that confidence, my security would wane.
So my encouragement today: be a girl who prioritizes beauty of heart, mind, and spirit, and don’t accept anything less. Your value is determined not by how well you imitate the standards of culture or how close you are to their current ideal. Your value is linked to your status as a divine creation of God, and appearances are just a reflection of the heart within.
You’re not hot – you’re beautiful.
This post was added to Del Signore.
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