My daughters love to play dress up and be princesses. Pink and sequins are the new gold and diamonds as far as they are concerned.
As a father, I must realize that true beauty cannot be gained from playing princess. As innocent as it is to dress up as a princess, nothing is so innocent that our culture cannot use it to harm. My daughters must gain their view of beauty from scripture.
While it feels good to dress up with all the glitter and sparkles, those things can never give an assurance of true beauty. The fantasy of the Disney princesses is that they are all beautiful, always overcome, all live in castles, all marry a prince-charming type, all are rich, and all live happily ever after. What happens when our girls can’t achieve those standards? They must know their beauty lies in the Lord.
Beauty can be reduced to materialism and makeup, which will eventually leave our daughters unfulfilled. I desire to raise my daughters to know that true beauty comes from the Lord. Their image of beauty must be rooted in the beauty of Jesus and how He sees them not in how they see themselves in comparison to a world of Photoshop and starving models.
Our culture defines feminine worth by how women live up to societies’ standards of physical appearance. If men find you attractive then you are beautiful in the world’s eyes. My wife is very careful when it comes to choosing clothing for our girls because most clothing is about showing off their bodies. They are in elementary school! The world has perverted beauty and it devastates girls and women alike into insecurity and sometimes broken relationships.
God is beauty. Scripture tells me that God finds beauty in the heart, not in outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). A memory verse I’ve taught my girls is Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” True beauty is how God sees you. You are more beautiful in His eyes as you fear and praise Him! You look beautiful when you look like God! Beauty begins with purity of heart and growing in Christ-like character. Exploiting women’s bodies for lust is a perversion created after the Fall of man.
Some will read this and think all efforts in dress and appearance are sinful. There is nothing wrong with looking nice and being modest in your dress. There is nothing wrong in enhancing one’s outward appearance – as long as self-worth and the perception of beauty do not come from them. The only thing that corrects skewed beauty is the Gospel.
I must teach them that sexuality is from God and designed to flourish inside of marriage. I must continue to guard my daughter’s environment including what hangs on their walls, what they see me watch on TV, and what we approve for dress. I will take my daughters on dates because they need to see a man of God in action and avoid anything less. I must pray daily for the Lord to save them, guard them, teach them, and open their eyes to Jesus. God, give me the wisdom and grace to lead my girls, Your princesses, in Your ways.
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Stephen Harrison is associate pastor of Family Church at White Hall.
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