Her passion for challenging her audience’s faith and walk with God has quickly made her website a popular place for people from over 20 countries around the globe. Patricia is also a guest columnist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the largest newspaper in the South. She is also a guest writer for Christian magazines. Patricia is originally from Brazil and has lived in the United States since 1999. She is a national speaker at women’s retreats and conferences. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Kennesaw, GA .
When my oldest daughter was only eight years old, I caught her looking at herself in the mirror and sucking her tummy in. When I asked her what she was doing, she said: ”My tummy is big, mommy!” My heart sank. Who on earth said something like that to my baby? Actually, no one did. Truth being told, she merely observed mommy close enough to repeat a bad pattern. “Oh, my, I need to exercise!” and “I need to lose these five pounds.” And so, in longing to be like mommy, she soaks up the good and the bad. Even though I carefully filter what my children watch on television, the examples of how the “popular girls” are supposed to look have started to influence the minds and behavior of even elementary students.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking to look our best. We should all strive to take good care of the bodies God gave us by eating healthy, exercising and not allowing self-indulgence to take over our minds and our health. However, I believe the obsessive pursuit of beauty can easily become sinful. When we cannot accept ourselves as God made us and our minds are so engaged in looks that we cease to cultivate internal beauty, we allow our looks to become an idol. And as it does, it slowly corrupts our understanding of true beauty: That it should always shine from within.
There are women whose beauty does not change with time. It makes me think of a lady from my church, who is almost 80 years old and is so very beautiful. I watch her from across the room, her countenance beaming with love and peace. Don’t get me wrong - she has many wrinkles -- visual witnesses of her many years of victories and trials. But the sweetness in her spirit radiates her face. She is more beautiful than many gorgeous young women will ever be.
When those external traits that make us “physically appealing” fade away, what will there be? Will we be able to cultivate internal beauty in a way that it will shine on our faces, regardless of how old we are? Are we keeping ourselves as busy feeding our minds and spirits with Jesus’ presence as we are covering our blemishes with makeup and sweating on the treadmill? I believe if we focus our minds on Him; if we direct our thoughts to Him in times of anxiety; if we try not to hide our anguish behind a new dress or a piece of cake, but, instead, open His Word and seek His peace, we shall become indeed beautiful as God designed us to be -- inside and out.
This should become our ultimate desire: to be able to stride across the room, confident, head up high, a smile on our face, not because we know we are the girl with the prettiest face and perfect body, but because we are daughters of the Most High and have His peace and joy in our lives. It is then that our light will so shine, that people cannot help but notice us, whether we are 20, 30, or 70 years old!