“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry of 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.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
When the movie Beauty and the Beast came out earlier this year, my daughter and I went to watch it and I wrote about it. I wasn’t sure when I was going to share it with you all, but now seems like the right moment.
As many times as I have watched this movie, this was the first time I truly embraced the message for what it was. I was in a very peaceful place when I left the theatre and my daughter and I bonded because we both left with an awareness that we did not have before. It’s startling how busy and distracted we get in our lives where we often miss what is right in front of us. I mean we can physically see the thing in front of us, but miss the reason that thing is in front of us, or miss the message that that thing reveals to us. Or we can physically miss seeing it altogether because our mind wanders somewhere else. Like when you pass by the same path several times a week and one day notice something that you never noticed before. And you ask yourself, when did that happen? Or when you read a book and by the end of the chapter you have your whole day planned out all the way down to what you are going to wear tomorrow. And if someone asked you what the chapter was about you wouldn’t even remember. No wonder so many of us struggled with comprehension in grade school. We don’t really see what’s in front of us because we are not present most of the time. Therefore, we are not open to receive anything our spiritual being has to offer.
This is a favorite tactic of our enemy — to keep us exceedingly busy and distracted so that we forget or lose track of what we are supposed to be doing.
When you notice you are not present, just stop thinking, be still, listen more, adjust your eyes back and forth until you can see again. Too much intellect and skill (being too rational in our heads) can block us from intimacy with Him.
Okay so now let’s adjust our eyes back to Beauty and the Beast.
The Beast was once a Prince and the Prince was once a Beast. He was pompous and selfish and was full of himself. There came a day when an old lady needed help, and he responded by laughing at her and refusing service. This decision lead him to a place where he physically became a beast, and the only way to break the curse was to find true love.
Imagine if a curse turned you into the Beast you struggle with, what would you look like? What would people think of you? Would it be true? How would you influence others to see you differently?
Now Belle lived in a village nearby and she was ridiculed by the people because they thought she was odd. Odd because she was authentic in her own abilities and she seeked something different than what the world understood.
Belle was beautiful on the outside but she becomes more beautiful as the movie unfolds. She seeks to gain wisdom for herself and she does not conform to the ways of the people around her. She confidently and boldly stands up for herself.
This story reminds me of our everyday life. Our culture and society has taught us that what matters most is our appearance, our title and our means. In other words when people are seeking qualities of a person, they judge first by their looks, next by what they do, and then by what they can offer. If you are not in a position of power, and you have nothing to offer, people usually cut ties and keep it moving. They align their principles by way of magazine ads, commercials, social media, entertainment, television and by their own fashioned closets. We are brainwashed and constantly trying to live up to the Joneses instead of living the life God intended us to live. You may say to yourself, “I am simple and I don’t have a-lot in my closet or my house so I’m good.” But if you are spending most of your days laboring for nothing more than that paycheck, so that you can afford that nice house, those nice cars and private school, then you are living up to the Joneses too. And so am I.
So the bitter Beast meets Belle and holds her captive to selfishly keep her for himself. After all, he has nothing to lose. Nobody cares about him anymore. But Belle’s presence in his castle brings out a different side to the beast and he ends up falling in love. Through his love for her, and through Belle’s nonjudgmental, authentic character, he starts to transform into a good person on the inside. The Beast demon no longer takes him captive.
Belle is pursued by another Prince who is full of himself just as the Beast once was, but she turns away from handsome charming to pursue the Beast who has learned to humble himself, be honest with who he is (temper and all) and whose heart transforms into a loving, kind, and gentle one. When Belle breaks the curse and the Beast turns into the old Prince, my daughter and I turn to each other and say, “we wish he was still a Beast. He was so much more handsome that way. Now he seems so ordinary.” My daughter and I was able to see past the outside appearance and we grew to love the beast. We enjoyed the struggle that took place between the beast and the light.
The Beast is what set him apart from the world and that is what made him who he was. Without the beast (the story), we are just ordinary people.
We may be hard on ourselves for the beast we struggle with inside because the truth is, we may have a handle of it at times, but more often we do not. But that beast is absolutely necessary for us to blossom into the beautiful flower He intends us to be. By way of adversity, He keeps us humble and draws us closer to Him, so that we may be reminded that we are nothing without Him. And in those moments . . . for just that moment, you realize the things in your life you have enslaved yourself to have no value at all.
Is there a beast in you that refuses to surface? Are you living in a state of “I need to fake it to make it?” Do you feel pressured that you have to live up to a certain expectation for your family, your friends or your co-workers? Assess your insides — assess your spirit — identify the idols. Carefully peal back the layers and get rid of each idol one by one so you can truly uncover your treasure. Unveil the true desires of your heart and pursue them intentionally. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Keep on this journey with me and let’s choose to rebuild our lives together. Transformation can only take place when you reveal the beast in the open — let people see it for what it is (confess) — only then can you come to Jesus for healing. You’ll be surprised, people will love and appreciate you more for the TRUTH!