In April 2015, skincare and beauty line Dove posed a world-wide question to women in which they were asked to walk through one of two doors. One door was labeled “beautiful” and the other door was “average.” A shocking 96 per cent walked through the average door, leaving just four per cent to admit they consider themselves beautiful.
One participant said, “Beautiful, to me, is too far out of reach.” Another woman confessed, “It was confronting to see these signs, and to have to choose, and be self-conscious of how you perceive yourself and if it lines up with how the rest of the world perceives you.”
An American participant added, “Am I choosing because of what is constantly bombarded at me and what I’m being told that I should accept? Or am I choosing because that’s what I really believe?”
How would you describe a beautiful woman? Would it encompass more than just the external appearance? Is beauty more than a physical attribute?
I, too, have wrestled with what it means to be a truly beautiful woman.
I ask myself, Am I enough?
I like what one participant said in the Dove survey. She said, “Knowing that it’s your decision to feel beautiful is so powerful. Once you realize that, no one can make you feel otherwise.”
With so many diverse ideas, many of which contradict each other, I am compelled to turn to God’s Word for His view of women. After all, the Creator of women can best define His intention, a women’s role, and her purpose. When God describes a woman He deliberately chooses every word. He doesn’t waste His words, mix them up, or use them incorrectly.
In Psalm 144:12b God uses these words to describe a woman: “Our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace” (KJV).
Webster’s dictionary defines polished as: “shiny,” as a result of being rubbed; accomplished, skillful, and refined. In the Hebrew, polished means: “To cut with a chisel; to make smooth.”
A sculptor uses a chisel to sculpt an ornament. In the context of our verse, a Polished Woman is likened or compared to the ornamental columns of a palace.
The implication is that woman are:
- As polished women, we are shrouded in strength.
How would you describe a palace column? Would these words fit? Weight bearing, supportive, pristine, unshakable, dependable, strong, powerful.
Columns hold structures up or serve as the foundation on which something else is held.
This same level of strength enables women to resist the temptation to believe they are anything less than worthy. Satan lies about our worth. He uses:
- Social Media
- Bad friends/relationships
Each of these can be a vehicle to directly or indirectly tell women that:
You don’t fit in.
You’re too young or too old.
You’re not good enough.
You’re not smart enough.
You’re not pretty enough.
You’re too fat or too thin.
You’re boring or untalented.
You’re not worthy of respect.
You’re less than.
Satan is on mission to destroy your self-worth, your purpose, and your identity.
Anyone can believe lies. But to disregard the lies of the enemy and choose to believe what God says about her, takes a courageous, strong woman.
- As polished women, we are beautiful.
A plain, wooden column can do its intended job to support. But a sculptor chisels away the rough wood to create something beautiful. The sculptor does this so his columns will stand out. Their beauty reflects the pride and skills of the column maker. Likewise, our beauty reflects the skill of our Creator.
Zechariah 2:8b tells us that those who belong to Christ are the apple of God’s eye. The apple is the pupil of the eye. When we look into another person’s eye, we see our reflection. Similarly, when God looks into our eyes, He sees His reflection. We are made in the image of Christ. And that is the highest compliment.
How beautiful do you feel?
More important than our external appearance is our inner beauty. Our physical appearance will change with age. But inner beauty will last forever.
God designed our brains. We may not be good or smart in everything but we are all accomplished and skillful at something.
What are your strengths? Don’t be embarrassed—your strengths reveal the skill of the Creator!
Hebrews 13:21 tells us that God equips us with the thing you need to accomplish your purpose.
- As polished women, we are wise.
This woman recognizes that her help comes from God and turns to Him to receive it.
Life is just tough sometimes.
People can be mean.
Gossip and slander hurt.
People fail us.
Not getting the job we wanted can disappoint.
Marriage requires work.
Children need guidance.
Dependence on God is called humility. God calls a lack of humility a sin (Proverbs 8:13). It actually creates the domino effect and leads to other sins: arrogance, self-sufficiency, self-reliance (Proverbs 16:18). God never intended us to live separate from Him and on our own.
God does not tire of hearing from us. What do you need His help for today?
- As polished women, we are refined.
Women go through the refining process in much of the same way that a gold and silversmith refine their stones.
After years of being squeezed under the heat and pressure of the earth, the rock is broken and impurities, called dross, come to the surface. The refiner removes the dross, leaving behind gold and silver. The silversmith knows his work with the silver is completed when he can look into his work and see his image.
When life brings the heat and pressure, our impurities surface. And like the dross, God scraps it off. Diamonds have inclusions (a clarity characteristic) and these do not go away. They make the diamond unique. We, too, will emerge as sparkling diamonds, gold, and silver—precious and beautifully unique. And just like the silversmith, God will see His reflection in us. Imagine! God is the original goldsmith.
- As polished women, we are cornerstones.
Jesus is called the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). Are you surprised that women are also called cornerstones?
The cornerstone holds the structure together. As the foundation on which something else is constructed, it is both essential and valuable. What an honor to have this most important position in the eyes of God. Women are the moral glue that bonds families, communities, and nations together.
As cornerstones, women are:
Women are made on purpose and with a purpose. Just look in the Bible for women that God used to change history: Rahab, Esther, Ruth. If you believe anything else about women then you have accepted the lie from Satan. Choose to believe what God says about you and own the beauty that comes with this position.
The refining process- Nathanial from Grace Jewelers. http://www.gracejewelersnc.com/
Barnes Notes on the Bible
Matthew Poole’s commentary
The treasury of David
Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Living Life Together. Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.