Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Shulamite Woman: Altogether Beautiful

by Raquel Rodriguez

Don’t stare at me because I am dark—
the sun has darkened my skin.
My brothers were angry with me;
they forced me to care for their vineyards,
So I couldn’t care for myself—my own vineyard.
Song of Solomon 1:6

I don’t know about you but I can certainly identify with the Shulamite woman in Song of Solomon, feeling beautiful at times but not fully accepted. Her dark skin color had nothing to do with her race. Working in the fields, under the sun, had tanned her skin. She lived in a society where the upper class did not tend the fields, therefore, their skin was pale and society praised that. She was self-conscious of what she considered a flaw, but her beloved Solomon thought otherwise.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way. (Song of Solomon 4:7)
Leading up to this verse, he calls her beautiful and lovely over 10 times. He deems her worthy of his love and affection even with her imperfections. He praises and recognizes her beauty and character as altogether beautiful. Just two chapters back he compares her to a lily among thorns. He calls her fairest among the women. To him, she is beautiful beyond words. The Shulamite woman captivated his heart. He invites her to rise up and go away with Him.

Solomon paints for us a picture of how God sees us, His precious girls. God does not consider us any less worthy of His love, His salvation, affection, blessings, and plans because of our so-called imperfections. It may just be that your nose seems to be too long or too wide, your hair too frizzy or too limb. Is it a literal scar or that your legs are long, your hips wide, your hands not feminine enough or your arms not as toned? Are you self-conscience about your weight or similar to the Shulamite woman, the color of your skin? You don’t regard yourself as pretty, well-kept or beautiful. Maybe it’s not the outer that causes you to think less of yourself. Do you feel less worthy because you don’t see yourself as smart? Has someone robbed you of your identity and innocence? Perhaps you feel like damaged goods, unfit of blessings and undeserving of love. To all your insecurities God says: You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way, and there is no spot in you.

Proverbs 31:30 instructs us on the reality of outward beauty:

“Charm is deceitful and beauty does not last, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”
Another great passage is 1 Peter 3:3-5,
“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful.”
Incorruptible beauty...how do we maintain that? We must understand that our value lies in that we are wholly and dearly loved by God. We cannot earn God’s approval, we already have it. In the words of Allie, “No amount of striving, accomplishments, or external beauty can make you more valuable or loved in the eyes of your Lord.”

The Shulamite woman’s insecurities were quieted by Solomon’s love. God has loved you from before you were in your mother’s womb. He loved you as He formed you and knit you together. He loved you when you were born. He knows your coming and going and is intimately acquainted with all your ways. He knows every word you are about to say and every thought that roams your mind. He sees and knows the pain, the hurt and the tears you cry. He knows about the depression. He knows about that hidden sin. He knows that you are not perfect and yet He still loves you. He has loved you and will forever love all of you despite your insecurities.

The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
He calls you altogether beautiful, darling and lovely. He deems you worthy of his love and affection. He compares you to a lily among thorns. He calls you fairest among the women. To Him, you are beautiful beyond words. You have captivated His heart. And He invites you to rise up and go away with Him.

Do you believe that you are altogether beautiful?

15 comments:

  1. I've been struggling with this very thing recently, it's really brought me down, to the point where it takes over my thoughts and my life. I feel like everything you said was just what I needed to hear, I really felt like this is God's way of reaching his hand out to me to comfort me and remind me of how valuable I am to Him and that's all that matters. Thank you so much, God bless you :)

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  2. I think that this is something we all as humans struggle with at some point or another - the thoughts of not being good enough. It's at my hardest times when I think that I'm not worthy of any love - and yet He loves me through it anyway.

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  3. This is beautiful Raquel. We all need to be reminded of this (myself included). Thank you and am honored to be quoted in this post...not my wisdom, but the Lords. Thanks girl! xo

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  4. Wow! I can not believe how this post spoke right to my heart! Today a coworker put me down by saying hateful and unkind things to me. For a moment my heart believed what he was saying. Then the lord stepped in...he held my tears back and reminded me I am wonderfully made!
    Thank you girls for creating this amazing blog! Each and every day your stories inspire me!

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  5. What beautiful insight to the Shulamite woman!! Thank you for sharing so much wisdom regarding "imperfections" and our true beauty!

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  7. "I don’t know about you but I can certainly identify with the Shulamite woman in Song of Solomon, feeling beautiful at times but not fully accepted. Her dark skin color had nothing to do with her race. Working in the fields, under the sun, had tanned her skin. She lived in a society where the upper class did not tend the fields, therefore, their skin was pale and society praised that. She was self-conscious of what she considered a flaw, but her beloved Solomon thought otherwise."
    Why did you feel the need to mention her skin tone, and say she considered it a flaw. In those days people were not as racist or concious about thier skin tone like people are today. In verse 5 she mentions that she is a black girl so I hardly doubt she was pale. You dont go from pale to black by being in the sun. You burn or tan not get darker that only happens to black people.

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  8. Hello
    I too have felt that way until I let God into my heart. It was His undying love that removed all insecurities, doubt and pain from my heart. He made me into a new creature, beautiful in every way, not just on the outside, but on the inside as well. I am a beautiful, dark, intelligent, curvy, hardworking sista! hmmm! Ain't God good!

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  9. Wow...m glad to knw other wmen get such insight 4rm the shulamite wman...cos dts wu we rilli are...beautiful beyond description

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  10. The shulamite woman was self conscious about her dark skin, because she makes mention to her lover not to look upon her or stare at her dark skin, because in those days the jews considered fair skinned women more pleasing and fair. The "dark skin" does in term refer to her labor work as a field worker where he spots her and falls in love w/her. Although "racism" didn't exist in those times, class difference did exist and her dark skin was representative of a field worker which in the eyes of society, not deemed worthy to marry a King like Solomon.

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  11. This is truly a beautiful reflection of Gods Love and a 'know how' to self acceptance. Society and different Cultural teachings can play a role in how we reflect love and acceptance toward ourselves as well as others. I was in study in the book of 'The Songs of Solomon' and was drawn to research the Shulamite Women. I will recommend this blog to others to read. It is beautifully expressed. The point is well taken. Opinions of details will forever be present, but what matters is that the interpretation of Gods Love remains the same. Stay Blessed.

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  12. Thank you! And thanks be to God forever!

    Amen.

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  14. The person in question skin has been darkened by the sun, it was not her natural colour. The person received taunts from others members of her family, ie brothers. I thought the biblical passage was referring to Solomon himself! Regardless, this biblical passage does highlight differences and attitude towards 'dark' skin even though the skin was tanned by the sun. There are still people among the nations, who do not want to go out in the sunshine because they do not want their skin to be darkened. As one comment pointed out, people gave preferential treatment to people with 'untanned skin' - all i know is that as a woman with my altogether beautiful cocoa coloured skin, I too created by the God of my fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be loved first an foremost by the Maker of Heaven and Earth, who is my Husband.

    Thank you for the lovely beautiful written article. Praise God for the beautiful writer or writers who put the article piece together. Amen.

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