Beauty Treatments For His Purpose was originally written by Martina Bailey of Queens On Purpose. Martina recently collaborated with Kelsey-Marie of TrinidadianLove for Beauty Treatments For His Purpose II. Together, they discuss how us ladies can live a purpose-driven life by beautifying ourselves both inside and out.
The Bible gives us what seems like two very different messages about which part of our being we need to spend time developing: the spirit or the body. In fact, our holistic development should encompass both--a focus on developing our inner man, and our physical bodies. Focusing on one more than the other, or not understanding our purpose for self-development in either aspect can have a range of ramifications--namely a disruption or lack of peace and harmony in our lives.
When most of us think about developing from a Biblical standpoint, we think about our inner selves. Indeed God does value who we are on the inside over how fit we are or how well we take care of our bodies. “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” Proverbs 27:19. Recently I was thinking about how relevant and important the message about valuing inner beauty is right now. Trends are changing and evolving overnight and there is so much pressure on women to conform. Let’s face it, many of us are constantly reinventing ourselves to keep up and stay current. But God made no mistake with His initial “invention”, so instead of reinventing ourselves let’s spend time developing ourselves on the inside. In Beauty Treatments for His Purpose I explored Esther’s preparation to become Queen of Persia--a role that positioned her for a greater purpose. Although the preparation included extensive beauty treatments--it was Esther’s humble and winsome spirit that proved to be most valuable.
“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”
1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT
I like to refer to spiritual development as inner beauty treatments. Just like physical beauty, inner beauty treatments require us to be intentional about making time and spending ample time caring for ourselves.
Reflection is a necessary part of self-regulation and self-correction. It’s a powerful strategy for managing our emotions and taking ownership of our actions and shortcomings. When we take time to reflect, it also helps to receive correction from others with grace--not be on the defensive when others point out our flaws and mistakes. You can take just a few moments throughout your day when you have some alone time to ask yourself a few simple but powerful questions.
How am I feeling right now?
-Be honest with yourself. This is for you--not anyone else.
Why do I feel the way I do?
-Again, tell yourself the truth. What happened to trigger the emotions?
How will I respond?
-Being honest about how you feel and why you feel that way is bound to cause you to respond. Responses will range from gratitude to frustration and grief. Allow the natural response to happen for a while--but don’t dwell--especially if your response is negative. Then determine at least one takeaway from your reflection time. It could be the realization of a strength or a weakness, or it could be your next steps in a situation.
Talking to God regularly in prayer is imperative for spiritual development. It’s not enough to recite prayers we’ve memorized since childhood. We must be intentional about communicating with God on a regular basis. Prayer allows us to repent of our sins as often as we need to (Christ died to gift us this privilege). It allows us to hear from God, worship HIm, and give Him thanks--all of which He deserves all of the time! And while God deserves to hear from us, we also benefit from prayer. Prayer changes things in our lives and changes us on the inside. The humility and discipline it requires us to exercise creates in us a more meek and compassionate spirit. We can tap into its power, and the power of our tongues when we seek God regularly in prayer. He desires intimacy with us, and prayer is the best way to stay connected to Him. Read As Long As I Have Breath for a simple but effective prayer plan.
Read the Bible
A lot of times my reflections leave me with questions instead of a takeaway. Sometimes I take those questions to God in prayer--a privilege I need to exercise more--but oftentime my prayers can be answered by going to the Bible. God sounds exactly like his Word. Going to the Bible is not only a sure way to get answers to life’s questions and problems, but it also helps us distinguish between all the voices in our lives. Not everyone has our best interest at heart, and we can't trust our own hearts as humans living in a fallen world, so we must put all the messages, advice, and ideas we encounter in our daily lives through the filter of God’s Word.
I love the Bible app from YouVersion because it allows me to read God’s Word from anywhere at any time. I can also find devotionals and reading plans for my current season or situation. The other feature I also really love is the ability to connect to my friends and even complete Bible reading plans together.
These steps may seem obvious or basic to some, but as much as I have heard them all before I could always use a reminder! I’m also someone who requires a plan for most things in life. I feel better equipped to be successful at anything I endeavor when I have a plan or steps I can follow. Moreover, it’s easy to just focus on the things we can see--like our outer appearance--but having a plan to develop the part of ourselves can’t see helps us to be intentional and consistent about our growth.
As humans, we generally take our bodies for granted. While on earth, we only have one body but we choose to live sedentary lifestyles, eat foods with minimal nutrition and drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
It’s so important to practice self-care for our bodies because it’s the only body that we have. We wait until there is an illness or pain before taking care of our body, but isn’t prevention better than cure? Let’s start now!
In 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27, it says “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.” Practicing self-care for your body is training your body to do what it should. Your body should be strong and healthy to get you through the tasks and hurdles of everyday life.
The older I get, the more I am realizing the importance of self-care. So many people go through life ignoring self-care- instead they constantly pour into others (which isn’t a bad thing but it can leave you drained if you don’t pour into yourself as well).
It is important to remember that pouring into yourself by practicing self-care is just as important as pouring into others.
I know that we all lead busy lifestyles but there are practical ways to practice self-care.
Here are some that I follow:
- No time to hit the gym? Get your steps up! Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. If you live in NYC, get off the train a few steps ahead and walk to your destination. If you live in a rural area, try parking far away from your destination and walk! It’s a great way to get your blood flowing and to not live a sedentary lifestyle.
ACV heals everything! Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Bragg’s -- which can be found at Whole Foods) is the best! I take a shot of it every morning and every night and it really helps me when i’m feeling low on energy or starting to feel sick.
Hydration is key! Coffee is amazing but it shouldn’t be a drink we rely on for energy. Water is so important and a key to my self-care journey. I’ve always loved drinking water but living in NYC makes it hard (when you’re out in public and there are a lack of public bathrooms, it can really make you not want to drink anything)! Not only does water make your skin glow; it also flushes out toxins in your body and helps with shedding those extra unwanted pounds.
Get those ZzZz’s! I personally need about 7.5 - 8 hours of sleep per night. When I get enough sleep, I am more sharp mentally and an overall happier person. Sleeping is such an important part of self-care for me and I take it very seriously. If you’re having trouble finding time to get more sleep, you can start by cutting down the hours you’re on Social Media, Netflix and on the phone in general. You’ll be surprised at how much time you can add to your sleep schedule!
In addition to these practical things I do as self-care, I have been protecting my peace. This means that I’ve been only interacting and having relationships with people who are on the same wavelength that I am on at this time in my life. I don’t let negative or pessimistic people into my personal space because I don’t want their energy to disrupt my peace.
I truly believe that Physical Development goes hand-in-hand with Spiritual Development in order to live your best life. Praying, eating well, sleeping and staying hydrated are all things that we may do in our everyday lives but when we intentionally start doing these things; we start seeing the positive changes in our lives.