Last night, Annalyn told me my sock was pretty. More specifically, she said, “Sock,” petted my brown nylon covered foot, and said, “Pretty.”

She also says “pretty” when I wear my blue t-shirt, when I brush her hair and when we put a bow in her hair.

And when her daddy tells her that she looks pretty? Well, that’s enough to make a girl giggle and squeal!

So when I heard about Miley Cyrus’s performance on the Teen Choice Awards, I couldn’t help but wonder if she actually believes pole dancing and hot pants are pretty.

Because not so long ago, shiny purple and fluffy pink and glittery silver were undoubtedly more her taste than black leather. And based on my vast personal knowledge of her as a person (please, please hear my self-inflicted sarcasm here), I feel confident that not so long ago, she only wanted to hear her daddy call her pretty.

I’m not writing about this to judge Miley Cyrus or any other celebrity for clothing choices and public behaviors. Because, honestly, I can’t possibly imagine what their lives are truly like or why they make the decisions they do.

But it’s not like I have to turn on the television to see girls working hard to feel pretty – and missing the mark by a mile.

I only have to look as far as my bathroom mirror – at the girl who gets up early enough to put on mascara, but not early enough to spend time in prayer; the girl who picks out the baggiest pants in her closet instead of going for a walk; the girl who cracks jokes and puts on a smart face instead of daring to admit she’s hurt or confused or (gasp!) human.

And when I think about all this – my pretty sock and my sweet daughter and young celebrities and my bathroom mirror – I wonder if it’s inevitable, the tendency to act ugly in our pursuit of beauty. Or maybe, just maybe, there’s a way to stop myself – or, not too far from now, Annalyn – from acting ugly to feel pretty.

My friend, Becky Jo, said something awesome about this issue during our Bible study. I wish I could remember exactly how she put it. What I do remember (because I took notes!) is that she referenced Psalm 45:11, which says, “The King is enthralled by your beauty.”

What do you think? Are there times when you act ugly and think it will make you feel pretty? Or, looking at the lighter side of this topic, is there anything ugly you do that really does make you feel pretty (see facial mask above as Example A)?

And Becky Jo, are you there? Can you remind me what you said about how our beauty comes from God . . . ??

* And for you movie buffs, yes, today’s title is from Dirty Dancing.

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