There Could Never Be A More Beautiful You?

Early on in our marriage, my husband and I would attend church together, sit side by side, and both listen attentively during the message. Miraculously, our discussion in the car on the way home would often reveal that we had heard two very different sermons. The words that entered our ears were the same, but the process  they went through after that point produced amazingly divergent results.

My husband assumed that the pastor intended to communicate exactly what his words meant. If a point was unbiblical, inconsistent, or otherwise erroneous or damaging, hubby’s analytical mind understood the implications—and he came away disappointed or agitated.

I, on the other hand, assumed that the pastor must have intended the nicest and best meaning that could possibly be pulled out of his words. If he said something questionable, I knew he couldn’t have meant that. Without even realizing it, I would just decide what he must have really been trying to say, insert that thought into the sermon, and leave the service feeling peaceful and positive about the message.

Things have changed. Over the years I’ve become aware that sometimes teachers don’t respect the responsibility of the pulpit like they should. And though I’m not nearly as Biblically literate as I’d like to be, I do have far stronger theological convictions now than I did back then. These days, it isn’t uncommon for me to be all fired up and frustrated about some book or teaching—and for my husband step in to be a mediator of grace and empathy for the person or position in question.

However, old habits die hard. I continue to be naive and passive in regard to the lyrics in contemporary Christian music. When the radio is on in the car, I can happily and mindlessly sing along with the most theologically atrocious or shallow tunes. Even if I do pause to consider the message of a song, and find it to be a little on the blasphemous side, I either assume it’s a case of awkward wording (they really meant something else), or I excuse it (they are musicians, not theologians).

One or both of those cases are quite likely the reality, but that doesn’t make it harmless. Popular Christian music is both a reflection of popular theology and a conduit for its dissemination. Many of those “silly” songs express what is taught, embraced, and lived out in Western Christianity.

As a for instance, I offer Jonny Diaz’s More Beautiful You. 

It starts out describing a young girl who feels insecure that she doesn’t look like a magazine model. The idea is, of course, that she shouldn’t feel that way—that she is amazingly beautiful and valuable just as she is.  I wouldn’t argue with that, and there are many hurting girls and women who need to understand their inherent worth. But then we get to the chorus and the underlying message.

There could never be a more beautiful you…
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you

Is that true? Are we all—in our current state—at the pinnacle of our potential for beauty and value? Can we really do nothing to become more beautiful or valuable in any way that matters? How does that look when it is lived out? Does this message ultimately offer hope and motivation, or discouragement and apathy?

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15 thoughts on “There Could Never Be A More Beautiful You?”

  1. Have you listened to Gungor’s album Ghosts Upon the Earth? I think you’d get a kick out of some of the songs… there’s one called “Brother Moon”. Is it poetic license or are we to truly consider ourselves sibling of the sun and moon?

    1. Wow! I checked out the lyrics for Brother Moon. Some of it’s really solid and some of it’s really new-age. I love these lines:

      In You we live. In You we move. In You we have our being. You’re glorious. You’re holding us together all together.

      But NOT these ones:

      You are everything good, you are everything beautiful. You are everything, you’re everything.

      Pantheism?

  2. I rarely sing in church any more, because it seems that when my mouth moves, my brain disengages. Instead I mediate on the words. I especially appreciate those songs that come straight from Scripture…the ones where you could jot the reference in the margin of the lyrics. And I struggle so much with those that are overly emotional or just plain insipid. The emotional ones, I try to remind myself that some people worship more strongly with their emotions than I do. But the insipid ones? Give me some good solid Wesley brothers hymns instead! Or any song that conveys truth and teaches theology. Let’s worship God with our minds as well as our emotions.

    1. 🙂 I wish I could say I never tune out during worship songs…but I do. Usually I catch myself though, and once I remember why I’m there, it isn’t to hard to get back into offering myself to the one who gave himself for me. Some songs/styles definitely don’t resonate with me as much as others, but unless I really disagree with the words, I can usually use them as a vehicle for worshiping God. Sometimes I don’t sing either. It can be because I am struggling and just need to focus in prayer, or it can be because I am especially moved by a song or a truth…and want to express my heart/thoughts to God in a more personal way.

  3. You should read my blog posting on Music vs. Worship – we actually shouldn’t be singing songs that we won’t be singing in heaven. They are to glorify God and praise God and not ourselves, although God can use a song to speak to us, but the real thing is that are we glorifying God or ourselves with the song. As far as being there could never be a more beautiful you – the song could be taking from the verse that “you are fearfully and wonderfully made” and they just did their own spin on it. I like songs as Come As Close As You Want by Misty Edwards and I’m So Secure, and songs that make me feel like I am not far away from God and that He is holding me and that He is with me.

    1. Read your post. Yes, music is an expression of God’s beauty and creativity, and it is one way we can offer him love and worship. Like anything else good that God created, though, it can be (and often is) warped and used to celebrate and promote wickedness.

      As far as being there could never be a more beautiful you – the song could be taking from the verse that “you are fearfully and wonderfully made” and they just did their own spin on it.

      You sound like me here. 🙂 “This is what they maybe could’ve meant.”

      What we are is beautiful – before ever do anything…but does that mean we can’t grow in beauty as our character becomes more like God’s own?

      1. Meaning we don’t actually contain all the beauty he might intend for us? (I’m not even sure that’s what I mean)

      2. Sort of. We are beautiful and valuable by virtue of what we are, but we can grow more beautiful…and I think even valuable. Just because we are incredibly beautiful and valuable doesn’t mean there’s not room for more. No matter what, we are worth dying for, worth redeeming, worth loving, worth creating. But if I practice ugly thoughts and ugly actions, then over time my character (who I am) grows more ugly and twisted. If I practice thinking good and right things, and practice godly living, then over time my character (who I am) grows to be more like God’s, and hence, more beautiful. It also stands to reason that the more I am like him, and the more I care about and invest in the things he cares about, the more valuable I become as a companion and fellow worker.

        A person can be an incredibly talented athlete by nature, and an amazing asset to their team–but still have plenty of room to develop their talent to an even greater degree. I don’t see any reason that the same principle wouldn’t apply just because we are talking about spiritual things.

  4. One of the things that happens with me and a song is similar to what you said, Crystal, about assuming the pastor meant the best possible thing. Sometimes I think they got the chorus wrong. What I mean is that the song as a whole has a particular theme or message it seems to be sending, and the chorus is hitting a different point. This actually happens in our worship songs, too. A songwriter goes with something catchy and fun to sing, but doesn’t always “hit the message of the song on the head”. Effective communication is important to me, and I tend to want to help people in this regard, (and to think people need my help, maybe a little arrogant on my part) no matter what the format of the communication.

    So putting that point out there, sometimes I think the point of the chorus can be interpreted based on the context of the whole song. Or any line of the song, for that matter. Sounds a little like proper interpretation of scripture, now that I think about it. Funny! That thought just hit me right now as I write it.

    In scripture we can trust every word, and every sentence as “profitable.” While this isn’t true with other texts, the context is still significant. I think the overall message of this song is better caught in the bridge.

    “So turn around you’re not too far
    To back away be who you are
    To change your path go another way
    It’s not too late, you can be saved
    If you feel depressed with past regrets
    The shameful nights hope to forget
    Can disappear, they can all be washed away

    By the one who’s strong, can right your wrongs
    Can rid your fears dry, all your tears
    And change the way you look at this big world
    He will take your dark distorted view
    And with His light, He will show you truth
    And again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl”

    Your questions:
    “Is that true? Are we all—in our current state—at the pinnacle of our potential for beauty and value? Can we really do nothing to become more beautiful or valuable in any way that matters? How does that look when it is lived out? Does this message ultimately offer hope and motivation, or discouragement and apathy?”

    I think this section of the song is the application. He says make changes. You don’t have that far to go. There is hope for you. Jesus can do all these things… “he will show you truth.” And ultimately, I think, we move closer to being the pure person that God made, who is understanding and accepting of who God is and we we are, and whose actions are Christ-like and full of worship; “you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl.”

    One caviat I must make is that I like this song, and the message that God made me perfectly is something I personally need to hear loud and often. I don’t think this message excludes the truth that I am sinful and my heart is full of yuck, and I have much growing that I can do.

    Thanks for this discussion.

    1. Rachel, I don’t think anything about you could strike anyone as arrogant. 🙂

      It’s definitely true what you say about artists sometimes dropping the ball on choruses, sacrificing content for catchy.

      There is a lot of positive in the song. The overall point is good–that girls and women don’t have to chase after the kind of validation and attention that the world says they do…that we’re valuable ’cause we’re valuable to God. Maybe the chorus means what it says, maybe it doesn’t. Still, the catchy chorus is often what people hear, sing along with, and embrace. In this case, I know I don’t agree with it as stated and I catch myself singing along.

      I picked on this song because I happened to be listening to it and talking to someone about it recently, but it isn’t really this song that’s troublesome. Theological fads can often be traced by clusters of Christian songs that come out with the same theme at the same time. One of the themes I have become aware of recently is that “the way you are right now is exactly the way you are supposed to be”. It sounds like only a little twist from God loves, accepts, and values you just the way you are, but I think it says something pretty different.

      1. YOU SAY: One of the themes I have become aware of recently is that “the way you are right now is exactly the way you are supposed to be”.

        TOTALLY agree with you that this point is not good or biblical. I guess that is sort of redundant isn’t it?

        YOU SAY: In this case [regarding chorus’], I know I don’t agree with it as stated and I catch myself singing along.

        Yes! The chorus is designed for us to sing along. And the chorus doesn’t hit the good point that we need to remember. I think this often happens. This bugs me. I want more GREAT stuff out there, with great music, and great lyrics, and great chorus’ that make you sing over and over, AND remind you of great truth. I think it is good for us to notice the thoughts that we are repeating in our minds where ever they are coming. I also think it is good for people who are communicating truth in any format to be careful, respecting the sanctity, as you mentioned earlier.

        But I also have to say from a perspective of critiquing communication and art, that the truth is the intersection of all of the elements coming together well happens more rarely that we would like. C’est la vie of this temporal world. So discussions like this ensue, to remind us of the guard that is necessary for us, the filter that we need to have.

        Love this back and forth with you, by the way!

  5. How did demonic music get into get into Bible believing churches and organizations? Between June 12-17, 1972 more than 75,000 high school and college students met in Dallas, Texas for EXPLO 72. During the day they attended classes on evangelism and Bible study. In the evening they gathered at the Cotton Bowl to hear messages by famous preachers and for “Christian” Rock Concerts. The festival closed on Saturday with an eight-hour Jesus Rock Concert. Explo was the “first major trans-denominational endorsement of the rock beat as an acceptable Christian music form.” 11 That was a tragic sin! They had taken “strange fire” from the pagan altar and offered it to God. “I seriously doubt if EXPLO realizes that they have clothed the demonic spirit of this Satanic force in the holy and Blood-stained garments of the sinless Son of God.” Those young people filled their censers at EXPLO and took the “strange fire” of “Christian” rock music back to their churches, colleges and other Christian organizations. Today, church after church has accepted that strange fire and incorporated it into their worship services and ministries.

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