Beauty Is As Beauty Does

There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are. ~Brennan Manning

When I was in first grade, I was playing at my friend Tara’s house. Her big sister, Patti, came downstairs carrying her yearbook. Patti was a sophomore. She was very smart and very popular.

Patti called us over to the sofa and opened the yearbook to the Senior Class pictures. She said: Who do you think is the prettiest girl in the class, Tara? It took Tara only a moment to point to the soon to be prom queen. Patti nodded and smiled and then passed the book to me. Debbie, who do you think is the prettiest girl in the class?

I liked Patti and I wanted her approval so I took the assignment very seriously. It was a small school. I don’t know exactly how many were in the senior class but I considered each picture carefully until I was confident that I’d chosen well.

Even though this was decades ago and I couldn’t tell you the name of another person in the entire high school, I remember my answer that day: Dorcas Miller. I can still picture Patti folding in with laughter. Dorcas Miller! Why in the world would you pick Dorcas Miller? She’s fat and her hair looks like her Dad cuts it. I asked you to pick out the prettiest girl in the class, not the ugliest one, Debbie!

I’m sure I remember this because it was the first and only time Patti ever talked to me and I was embarrassed. But I defended my choice: I like her face. She looks like the nicest girl in the class and that makes her the prettiest.

When I was 7, beauty was a simple concept. Nice people (or in the case of Dorcas Miller, people I thought looked like they were nice) were beautiful. Not nice people weren’t. There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are.

My thinking about most of life has changed over the years but my definition of beauty is pretty much the same. Beauty is as beauty does.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

21 thoughts on “Beauty Is As Beauty Does”

  1. this reminds me of friends telling me about the really STUPID answers of some of the miss USA finalists? how embarrassing that they would represent their country with their skin deep beauty, yet lacking in emotional and intelligent beauty…

    so you 7 year old response still stands.
    beauty runs far more than just looks…

    1. Hello Darrel –
      I didn’t watch the pageant but with Miss America and all the awards shows beginning, there’s quite a lot of talk about physical beauty as defined by the media. Do you suppose it’s any worse here than there? I wonder?
      You’re so right – real beauty has depth of emotion and intellect – traits we too often fail to value, I’m afraid.

    1. Hello dear Judi –
      I don’t have your lovely artist’s eye. I’m more like a bat (isn’t that a pleasant picture?) flying blind, depending on radar.
      I have to keep track of where my signals are coming from! πŸ˜‰

  2. God bless you, Dear Debbie πŸ™‚

    May your heart always continue to see beauty the way He defines it. We are trained at an early age to see lines and definitions as others see it…Good on you for seeing from your heart!

    Hugs much!!!


    1. Dear sweet Ann –
      You’ve added a perfect reminder . Yes, it’s a heart condition.
      Only when our hearts are fixed on Him will we be able to see real beauty.
      Thank you!

  3. I agree with you and wish more people could grasp this concept. Beauty is only skin deep and will fade, however, the inside beauty will move outward and reflect that beauty within which you saw at an early age….really a neat post!

  4. You must have been some 7 year old! It’s taken me years to get to that point and some days it’s still a struggle. I don’t have to have seen you in person to know your beauty is more than skin deep. Beautiful πŸ˜‰ post! thank you xo

    1. Dear Debby –
      I was precocious – and not always in the best way! πŸ˜‰
      β€œLearn the sweet magic of a cheerful face.”
      ~Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
      I read that magic in your face, in your words and as beauty does, in your deeds! πŸ˜€

    1. Susie –
      You are such a dear heart.
      Thank you for always being a wonderful source of encouragement.
      You’re in my prayers as we ‘wander in the desert’ together in spirit!

  5. I agree that nice is beautiful! My closest friends are not glamorous on the outside, but their smiles and kind eyes rival those of a beauty queen! Their laughter is music to my ears. “Beautiful” post!

    Blessings Debbie ~ Wendy

    1. Hello dear Wendy!
      Sometimes people’s lovely exterior matches an equally lovely interior.
      And sometimes not.
      I’m not at all surprised that you have “beautiful friends”.
      Beauty is as beauty does – AND beauty attracts beauty. πŸ˜€

  6. This blog writing truly shows your love and kindness. If we had more people like you in this world, most of the problems would be solved.

    1. Jill –
      You are so dear!
      I’m afraid if there were more people like me there’d be quite a mess but thank you for your kind words. πŸ˜‰
      You’re continually showing me what beauty looks like.

  7. Gracious friend! You knew at that young age . .and were able to voice it. I’m wowed and blessed! Thank you for being beautiful in all ways! love you and God bless you!

    1. Dear Debbie –
      Rereading this I think I made it more about me than about the concept of beauty…
      What I meant to emphasize was that I realized that day that there was a prescription for beauty and then there was beauty. Two things so different from each other that they’re unrecognizable.
      You add beauty here with every visit. Thank you.

  8. There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are. ~Brennan Manning.

    I think we all try to look our best to some degree, but what i am reacting to is the prospect of being ourselves at all times: Not changing to please others. Not engaging in mean behavior because someone has been mean to me.

    Being pushed around and pushing back, doesn’t make me happy. There is a fine line between being true to your nature and making sure you’re not being run over by a truck.

    I have to believe t is not a weakness to be kind. I have to believe that.

    1. Hello dear Mel –
      Our society, as a whole and the Christan community is not exempt, places a lot of emphasis on protecting and standing up for our rights. It seems to me that Jesus was more about laying down His rights.
      Kindness isn’t always returned in kind, but it’s always a virtue dear friend.
      Only the strongest people are truly kind.

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