The way we look at activities, pursuits, and others usually starts with the way we look at self. When you center your life on temporary fleeting activities and pursuits, your priorities will have to change to revolve around activities and pursuits that may not even be a priority to you. You will find that you really aren’t able to consider others’ feelings or needs because yours are taking up too much time. You will become hypercritical of others’ for their outward appearance, and you will rarely notice or focus on the characteristics in the lives of others that transcend the temporal test of beauty to be character qualities that matter for eternity. For example, I used to tell my girls, “You show me a super-buff, dressed to the T, suntanned, perfect-looking guy, and I’ll guarantee that’s one guy that doesn’t have time for many things besides himself, the gym, and the tanning booth.”
I was guilty of this at one time in my life too. I was training for the marathon, and running was a passion for me. I even missed an important baby shower because I was running. I let everything revolve around my running schedule and made no accommodations for any one or any activity that didn’t involve my training. I learned that even when something is a useful, it has to be kept in its proper perspective. 1 Timothy 4:10 (THE MESSAGE), “Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.”
When you live out priorities that really matter in your own life, however, you will naturally appreciate others for things that really matter as well. When you find yourself concentrating on all the wrong activities, start looking first at how you prioritize your own life. Don’t allow yourself to live out of balance; concentrate on how much time you spend on your external beauty and how much time you spend developing and demonstrating character and your inner beauty by spending time in the Word of God, in church, ministry, helping those less fortunate, and other such disciplines.
When you develop inner beauty, character, virtue, and wisdom, you can stop grasping at the unattainable "fountain of youth" and focus on beauty that is incorruptible and unfading (1 Peter 3.3). You can smile at the future (Proverbs 31.25), because you know that, "beauty evaporates, but a woman who has the fear of the Lord should be praised" (Proverbs 31.30, God's Word).
(From my upcoming book, How to Build an Enduring Marriage, to be published September 2014. See www.karenbudzinski.com for information on ordering and pre-ordering the book, companion workbook and teacher's guide!)