To a woman, whether single or married, what matters most is knowing her worth in the eyes of God.
What do you think of yourself? How would you describe yourself to someone if you were being objective? Would you want to get to know you if you met yourself walking down the street? Well, it's time to get under the skin you're in.
I've told the story of the time I was deeply hurt in a relationship—so deeply I had a party with the devil who served me Unbelief Tea and Resignation Pie topped with "Why Me?" sauce. Well, the man got married and divorced. He became a Christian. He came back to me. I was thrilled.
Then we had a major disagreement. He married someone else without telling me. (Can you believe he got married on me twice? What was I thinking?)
Though it took a while, we resolved the past, and today we're friends. One day when we were having a discussion I jokingly said, "Oh, no one wants to marry me."
"Why wouldn't anyone want to marry you?" he asked.
I replied, "I don't know."
He came back with: "Yes, you do. Why wouldn't anybody want to marry you?"
That's when the light came on in my head. I couldn't think of any reason why a man with good sense wouldn't want to marry me!
"Actually," I said, "I think I am absolutely fabulous! I wasn't always fabulous, but I am now, so the reality is that a man would be a fool not to want to marry me because I am a complete package."
My friend replied: "Well, there you have it. I thought you knew that. You would be quite a catch for someone, but if you don't know it, no one else will either. And men will treat you accordingly."
His comments caused me to pause and reflect. I realized that lately I had been attracting a different kind of man. I had broken the cycle of disappointing relationships. I had changed.
That's when it clicked: We attract people who feed off what we think of ourselves. Did you know that?
When I thought I wasn't a great prize, I attracted people who reinforced that idea in my mind. I didn't feel beautiful inside or out, so I allowed them to make me feel unattractive.
I didn't feel as if I had any purpose, so I would lose myself in their pursuits and neglect the call God had placed on my own life.
I gave my heart away to the undeserving because I didn't know how much it was worth. I was empty, spent by my efforts to find fulfillment in external things that would never satisfy.
Scripture says, "He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet" (Prov. 27:7, NIV). I don't think I had any concept of what honey tasted like. It wasn't real to me.
For me the bitter was as good as it got. It was what I was used to; therefore, I decided I should settle for it. After all, some man was better than no man at all, right?
Looking back, I see myself as a woman running around with her heart in her hand offering it to anyone who would have it: "Here, take my heart. Try it, you'll like it!" Well, who would consider a giveaway valuable?
Girl, it's time to come to know your worth and make no apologies for it.
Knowing Your Value
How do we get to the place in which our self-worth is intact? And how do we master confidence with grace?
When I address self-confidence and self-worth, please understand that I'm talking about getting a healthy perspective of your worth as a woman through Christ.
You are a pearl of great price. If Jesus thought you were worth dying for, there is no reason for you to believe others have the right to abuse the life He went through so much to save.
It is important for us to see ourselves as the King sees us. This can be difficult when we are bombarded by so-called perfect images via the media. According to them we should all be a streamlined size 6 or 8. I don't know about you, but I haven't hit those numbers since high school.
In the Song of Songs, the Shulammite woman speaks with confidence to her friends in defense of her looks, but she tends to lose that confidence when addressing the man of her dreams (Song 1:5-7). Nevertheless, King Solomon sings her praises and pays tribute to her beauty (vv. 8-10). Despite what she felt, he saw perfection.
As a result of reading Solomon's dissertation, I have come to believe the media has misled us. It's not about being model-thin with waist-length hair and chiseled cheekbones. It's about being a complete package. This requires giving attention to both the outside and the inside of our beings.
Cultivate External Beauty
The first thing that arrested the king was the Shulammite's eyes (Song 4:1). He said that they were like doves, which signifies that she did not boldly come on to him. She made a louder statement with her silence by displaying modesty and humility.
It has been said the eyes are the windows to the soul. This statement is not from Scripture, but it is true. If you are harboring any pain, any anger, any distrust, it will come to light in your eyes.
It is important to clear your heart's deck with God so these negative things don't become deflectors when you look at others. Your lips may smile, but your eyes will give your bitter heart away every time, and no amount of eye makeup can camouflage a wounded heart.
The king also liked his beloved's hair. Women today have so many options that there is no excuse for not having beautifully groomed hair.
Don't be above doing whatever it takes to get your head together—in more ways than one. Hair occasionally had significance in Scripture. For example, a Nazirite priest's uncut hair was a sign of his commitment to God. What does your hair say about you?
Solomon mentions the Shulammite's teeth, mouth and speech. She spoke things that were inviting, that caused him to want to spend time with her. Though she did not reach out to him, her mannerisms drew him to her.
Acquire Internal Grace
In mentioning the Shulammite's inner qualities, Solomon revealed his heart to her. He called her his sister, his bride. He treasured her completely, granting her the same consideration and protection he would give to a sister.
The Shulammite woman was beautiful to the king because everything about her character was good. The fruits of her life were things that he valued because they mirrored the fruit of the Spirit (vv. 13-16).
You might feel that the Shulammite's standard of beauty is impossible to attain, but it isn't. It's not about being thin or about having perfect teeth or great hair! It's about your being the best woman you can be, inside and out. Work with what you've got.
Dressed for Success
When you've achieved your own personal best, you're going to feel good about yourself. Your different attitude will attract a different type of attention, because when you're comfortable with you, others will be too.
When Queen Esther was being prepared as a candidate for the king's bride, she, along with the other women, went through a beauty treatment that lasted for 12 months. They were entering a different lifestyle. Nothing of their old life was to remain. So they were treated with scents that delighted the king.
The day came when Esther and the others were ready to be presented to the king. On this occasion, the candidate for bride was given her choice of attire.
Esther asked the eunuch, who had been in the king's employ for quite some time, what he thought she should wear. The other girls probably picked what to wear based on what had worked for them in the past. But it didn't work for the king.
Seek wise counsel about what looks good on you—inside and out. Don't get defensive when others offer constructive criticism; use it to your advantage, and get free. Don't be afraid to let go of some old habits and embrace a new line of thought.
Esther listened when the eunuch told her how to dress for the king. More than enhancing your physical appearance, dressing reflects the countenance of your spirit.
All the fruit that Solomon raved about with the Shulammite woman should be evident in your life as the fruit of the Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit what you should wear daily in terms of attitude as well as what you should put on your body.
The bottom line is that we can all stand to improve ourselves. Change should be viewed as a positive adventure.
Pleasing the King
Don't consider losing weight, changing your hair or even finding trendier clothes in order to get a man. Instead, take on each of these challenges as self-improvement steps toward being the best you can be for you and for the one who loves you most: the Lord Himself.
Being in good physical shape pleases God because you are taking care of your temple, His creation. You represent Him every time you walk out your door.
Trust me, God has great taste. So if you aim for catching His eye, the right man will be unable to resist you.
Beauty is hard work because it comes from within. Too many of us paint the outside without dealing with the inside, and it mars the finish every time.
God wants the man He places in your life to love you inside and out. But as long as your focus remains on you and your attributes, you will miss it.
The beauty in all of us is not our own. It is only as we release the beauty of the Lord that we are transformed from ugly ducklings into exquisite creatures who capture the hearts of those looking for a safe haven in which to rest.
"From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth" (Ps. 50:2). God is the finisher of our beauty regimen. Without Him we are mere mannequins standing in the window of life.
No man wants to touch a mannequin, but a godly woman—that's another story. A man knows that this is a woman he can trust with his heart. And a safe haven for all he holds dear will always be the most beautiful sight of all.
Michelle McKinney Hammond, founder of Heartwing Ministries, speaks at churches and conferences across the nation.