London and Paris are truly amazing cities! I had the most invigorating experiences during my vacation and beheld some breathtaking sites. For example, the world renowned Louvre Museum in Paris is home to the most amazing collection of art in the world, including the most famous painting of all time, Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa". It was there that I saw some of the most beautiful works of art that I have ever beheld!
While waiting to enter the museum I observed an impeccably dressed woman with the poise and grace of a supermodel enter the busy atrium. I, along with many others, couldn't help but stare as she ever so gently stopped in her tracks to look up to the sign that pointed her in the right direction. Ironically this woman and her husband we're headed to the currency exchange station just as I was. I stood behind the couple in line for several minutes and watched in dismay as the beautifully adorned and well poised woman turned into the "Bride of Frankenstein" the moment she opened her mouth! She was down right nasty to the clerk behind the glass who was trying to patiently explain the currency exchange fees. Her tone, pitch, attitude, and smugness toward another human being left me mortified and cringing inside.
I thought to myself, "Wow! She has given so much time, attention, and detail to her outer appearance, but has neglected to give the same amount of effort to her internal appearance." The balloon of beauty that she originally possessed deflated right before my eyes when she spoke! What once was beautiful to behold suddenly became painful to witness. It was like watching someone spray ugly graffiti on the beautiful Mona Lisa.
I don't know what this woman has been through or what hurt, disappointment, anger, or frustration she lives with, but I do know she hasn't dealt with something on the inside. The Bible frequently reminds us that what's in you will eventually come out no matter how you may try to dress it up or hide it! The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart! (Luke 6:45)
The Mona Lisa is famous not just for the skill with which Da Vinci captured her essence, but also for what she truly represents - inner beauty. Mona Lisa was a royal woman with a beautiful heart that was reflected in her pleasant smile. She wasn't wearing fancy clothes in her portrait but her inner beauty was all the adornment she needed to make her a symbol of beauty so powerful that it would last for many centuries after she lived.
Now stop and consider this question: What is keeping YOU from shining from the inside out? This brief interaction at the Louvre reminded me of the reason I began CSE: to create learning experiences for women that would allow their internal and external beauty to collide so that each could shine as the living work of art God intended. Each one of us is a Mona Lisa waiting to be beheld! The only question is whether or not we will do the internal work necessary to unveil ourselves to the world!
Every woman must ask herself, "Will I inspire others with my inner beauty or repulse them with a negative attitude? Will I be unforgettable because of my kind words and deeds or be memorable for all the wrong reasons?" The choice is ours, but what we can learn from Mona Lisa and the woman at the Louvre is that our choice can have a powerful impact on the lives of everyone around us! Choose today to have Mona Lisa's Smile!
Remember, my lovelies, "that the world is your runway and it's time for you to get on it!"
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