This is an image that speaks volumes about beauty and delight.  Most of us have this photo. Somewhere – in an old shoebox or album – is a picture of a charming, little you cheesing away at the camera, with full assurance that you are a child dearly loved.

These pictures are taken long before the first insult on the playground, long before puberty, boy crazy sleepovers, and body image issues. Long before you started wearing mascara and believing (knowing better, but still believing) that your desirability comes from your appearance.

So why this photo?  Because it serves as a reminder of what being attractive really looks like.  You are inevitably adorable when you are utterly adored.  As a little girl I innately knew I was treasured.  I was able to smile for the camera in cute bows and dresses with a wholesome understanding that I was approved and delighted in by my family.

This is still true. We are not beautiful because we cover ourselves with beautiful things, we are beautiful because we are loved by the Beautiful One.  He is beauty, and splendor, and majesty – and when He loves us, we cannot help but be radiant!

According to Psalm 34:5, "those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame."

And in 1 Peter 3:3-5, the word states, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.”

It is our confidence in the Lord that makes us attractive.  Thereafter, yes, we can wear the new heels and try out the latest hairstyles (and how fun!).  But the external is never the source of our loveliness.  G.K. Chesteron in Orthodoxy says, “Attire yourself as a women who is loved – for decoration is not given to hide horrible things: but to decorate things already adorable.”

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:25,30

Aszia Walker is the Discipleship and Outreach Director at pureHope in Dallas, TX.