The subtitle of The Lost Art of True Beauty is The Set-Apart Girl’s Guide to Feminine Grace, which implies the spiritual aspect of beauty. Ludy strongly urges her readers to find true beauty as they separate themselves from the values of the world and draw closer to Christ. The thoughts I’ve woven together below are taken from the author’s own words.
She rightly points out that we live in a culture that lifts up a standard of beauty impossible to achieve in real life. “We are constantly assaulted by a world that insists we aren’t alluring enough – we need to change our bodies, our clothes, and our personality in order to be more appealing.”(p. 26)
“Love yourself, take care of yourself, transform yourself” are our mantras. But as Ludy points out, these are totally contrary to scripture. Christ said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”(Mark 8:34) The word “deny” here literally translates: to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests… The secret to becoming radiant and beautiful is to forget about self and become completely consumed with only one thing – Jesus Christ…. (p.30)
The first step to discovering true feminine beauty is exchanging all that we are for all the He is. If we rely on something that we possess to make us beautiful, we cannot receive the supernatural, transforming beauty of Christ. True beauty is impossible outside of Him. (p.22)
God’s pattern is the very opposite of the “bad girl” image so applauded in our modern times… Somewhere along the way, as the culture became more cavalier toward sin and selfishness, the idea of being dignified, refined, ladylike, gracious, and socially selfless faded into the background. Now young women seem to get far more respect if they are loud, boisterous, rebellious, obnoxious, and sexually aggressive than if they are sweet, polite, graceful, refined, modest and thoughtful… (p.44)
[But] true beauty, in a nutshell, is found in a soul completely surrendered to Jesus Christ, a heart consumed by Him alone, and a life eagerly poured out for His sake. (p.168)
(I wish someone had given me this book as a teenager.)