True Girl Podcast

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Real Physical Beauty

Claire Black: This is True Girl, a podcast for girls and their moms. Together we’ll explore God’s truth for us, one drive at a time. You’re about to hear some drive time truth nuggets from God’s Word. After today’s episode you’ll want to dig deeper into your own Bible. 

Girls of all ages have been trying to solve a mystery since the beginning of time. They’ve been asking just what is real beauty? Today we might look for answers to that question on YouTube, Netflix, online shopping, or beauty products. But the answers you’ll find at those places won’t make you as happy as you might think. In fact, those things could make your life a lot harder. So, we’re here to figure out if the media’s not the answer, what is? 

We’re about to find out. True Girl is hosted by Dannah Gresh, author of 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters. At the end of today’s episode, Dannah will invite the two of you to plan one of these dates. To get details on how to make the most of that time, get a copy of 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters

Let’s get moving here on season 1, episode 2, “What Is Real Beauty?”

Here’s Dannah.

Dannah Gresh: Well, welcome back friends. Dannah Gresh here with Staci Rudolph. Staci, are you ready for episode number 2?

Staci Rudolph: Oh, you know I am, but let’s recap what we talked about last time. Do you remember that you are a masterpiece created by God? 

Dannah: That’s right. That’s right. That’s what we taught. I wonder how those tea parties went? 

Staci: Hopefully, it reminded the girls that they are beau-tea-ful. You get it? Beau-tea-ful.

Dannah: Ah, that’s a good one, Staci. Well, today we have a mystery to solve. Just what is real beauty?

Staci: Dannah, have you ever noticed how perfectly flawless girls and women look online? I mean it’s like they don’t even have pores.

Dannah: Tell me about it. I used to be confused about beauty until I learned a few secrets of the advertising world. I want to share them with you today. 

The very first secret is this . . . (whispers)

Staci: Come on Dannah. I get that it’s a secret, but we can’t hear you. 

Dannah: Oh, okay, just being cheesy like you. Because it’s a secret, it’s a super-secret. Okay, here we go. Here is a super-secret of the so-called “beauty world.” The editors of online beauty and fashion websites actually hire computer artists to digitally perfect those models—girls and women. 

Staci: You’re saying that computer artists essentially paint over photos to make girls and women to look . . . perfect? So what we see isn’t even real?

Dannah: That’s what I’m saying. In fact, I have a record of what artists did to one photograph of a famous actress. Now, let me say, this actress is a masterpiece created by God, right?

Staci: Yes.

Dannah: Exactly. But this bill is for what the artist did to change the way she looked, to be the world’s standard of beautiful. Staci, can you read what the bill says about what the artist did to that picture?

Staci: Yeah, it says “clean up complexion, soften eye lines, soften smile line, add color to lips, trim chin, remove neck lines, soften line under earlobe, add highlights to earrings, add blush to cheek, clean up neckline, remove stray hair, remove hair strands on the dress, address color, add hair on top of head,” and believe it or not, the list just keeps going on. 

Dannah: And on. The total of the bill was . . . get ready for it . . . $1,525. Cha-ching!

Staci: That’s crazy! I mean, I don’t know about you, but I feel like we would look pretty flawless if someone spent that much money and time on us too. Right?

Dannah: Yeah, exactly. With that kind of money, we better not have a single blemish. Now, let me tell you the second beauty industry secret. Some of those models and actresses are actually uncomfortable with what’s happening. They don’t like that they’re being made to look perfect, to a point that they don’t even look like themselves. 

Staci: Yeah, I have noticed that. A lot of them are speaking up about it. They’re tired of it. The fact that they are being used to portray an image of beauty that is just impossible. Not only for us, but for them. 

Dannah: Yeah. One of the actresses that has spoken out made a public statement. It said, “I do not look like that, and more importantly, I don’t desire to look like that.”

And then Staci, she went on to say this, “They’ve reduced the size of my legs by about 1/3.”

Staci: Yeah, another actress, she was really mad about it. She actually considered a lawsuit against one company, because they took her body from one photo and her head from another and tried to mash them together. She said it made her look ridiculous. I’m sure it did. 

Dannah: You know, even though these actresses are speaking out, I’m not sure that the beauty and fashion industry is going to change. There will always be pictures that are lying to us. 

Staci: Yeah, because you don’t even have to be a professional to fix a picture today. There are tons of apps that people have on their phones to make themselves look, well different from how they actually look. And I know a lot of people who use them to just change their pictures before they post them to social media.

Dannah: Yup. And you know what happens to you and I when you look at pictures of other girls and women when they aren’t truthful? 

Staci: We feel bad, real bad. Because believe it or not we have pores.

Dannah: Yes. 

Staci: And stray hairs.

Dannah: Uh huh.

Staci: And zits. I got one today, not happy about it. 

Dannah: Aren’t we glad this is audio?

Staci: Definitely. But experiments demonstrate that when we expose ourselves to these manipulated pictures, we start to become sad, because we look at them and we think, I can never be that. I can never look like that. I can never be that perfect. My teeth aren’t straight enough. My skin’s not clear enough. My eyes aren’t bright enough. 

Dannah: I know those are some thoughts that I have had Staci. In fact, can I be honest with you? 

Staci: Yeah, definitely.

Dannah: I have to be careful. I was on YouTube the other day, and the person I was watching looked so perfect, but it wasn’t real. Now, they weren’t using digital changes, like they weren’t those artists who were painting and perfecting a picture. But they were using a lot of makeup, and they were using light to control how they looked. 

I found myself thinking I need to get some new makeup and some cool glasses like the ones she was wearing, and…” oh it went on and on. Because here’s the thing, I felt like I needed to look like her. 

Staci: Trust me, I think we can all agree with that. I find myself comparing what I look like to those influencers and just everybody online. When I realize that I’m doing that, I have to take a step back and just remind myself that they aren’t perfect either, and that a lot of time and money has been put into making them look flawless. 

So, I get it. I find myself wanting to look more like that, whatever that is. What is that?

Dannah: Right. Well, let’s open our Bibles, because here’s where we will find some secrets that aren’t lies. We’ll find secrets about beauty, but not fake beauty, true beauty. 

Today, I want tackle this desire we have to be like ___________, the friend you know, the actress who you think is pretty, the influencer you watch on YouTube. Do we really need to be like them?

I’ll start by saying that there’s nowhere in the Bible that says it’s good to just go along with the crowd and be like everyone else. Nope. Actually, you’re going to find quite the opposite in God’s Word. 

Staci: Exactly. Like in Philippians it tells us to be so different that we stand out like a star on a dark night sky. We’re supposed to stick out. We’re supposed to be that different. 

Dannah: Yeah. And in the book of Ephesians it tells us that we should not go along with the crowd. We’re supposed to be like salmon. You know, Staci, that they swim upstream against the current, right?

Staci: Yes. 

Dannah: Not the same direction as all the other fish. As we think about our beauty, we can apply this over all truth. We should want to look different, but we usually don’t want to, do we?

Let me read you a verse from Song of Solomon. Now, this book is a love story between two people, but it also symbolizes God’s love for us. It’s a picture of God’s love for us. And in this story, the king represents God, and we are the princess. 

Staci, why don’t you go ahead and reach chapter 6:8–9? Let’s listen as we hear what God considers beautiful.

Staci: For sure. It says, 

Even among sixty queens and eighty concubines and countless young women, I would still choose my dove, my perfect one. 

And Dannah, in another translation, that final line actually says, “my perfect one is unique.”

Dannah: Yeah. Unique or different, not like all the others. Let me go ahead and put that whole verse into modern language, just in case you’re confused. You might say, “Sixty models and eighty actresses don’t attract me, but you are my perfect beauty because you are unique, you’re different, and that’s perfect.”

Staci: Well, there you have it, beauty as defined by God. He gave you unique qualities, and they’re beautiful. But you know what’s ironic? Sometimes we look at those unique qualities and those are the things that feel . . . well . . . just super different instead of beautiful. Why? Because we’re so obsessed with looking like what? Fake pictures and videos? God says the things that are different about us, those things are our beauty marks, our strengths.

Dannah: So let me ask, do you have an extremely large and beautiful smile? Is your skin sprinkled with freckles? Are your eyebrows full and bushy? Do you have a birthmark on your cheek, like me? What makes you unique? That is your beauty mark. 

You see, a True Girl is okay with being different, because she recognizes that God thinks that is good. 

Staci: Now moms, you’ve probably heard of the famous preacher Billy Graham. Well, when he and his wife were alive, they were often invited to super lavish parties. Once they were invited to a party in London, England, with the Queen. 

Dannah: The Queen?

Staci: The Queen! Mrs. Graham was seated right across the table from the former director of Scotland Yard. Scotland Yard is just kind of like our FBI. 

So imagine the fun she had that night asking him questions and just learning all types of things from him. What she was most fascinated by was his work in arresting people who would sign other people’s names to important documents. 

Dannah: Yikes. Think of it as you go to school one day and you get caught with a note that supposedly your parents signed but you signed it instead. That’s what this guy was investigating right?

Staci: You’d probably end up in a lot of trouble if you did that. 

Dannah: Yes. Don’t do that; it’s not a good idea.

Staci: Exactly. Well, this man was in charge of finding people who did that but on a much bigger scale. Mrs. Graham looked at him and she asked, “You must have spent a lot of time studying counterfeit or fake signatures?” 

And the man responded very firmly. He said, “On the contrary, Mrs. Graham. I spent all of my time studying the real thing. That way when a counterfeit would appear I would recognize it immediately.”

Dannah: Wow. That’s impressive. Well, today true girl, I want you to be like that great detective from Scotland Yard. I want you to study the real thing, real physical beauty, not the fake stuff. We’ve got to stop spending so much time exposing ourselves to beauty lies. And we’ve got to start spending time in God’s Word—accepting what He says about our beauty.

Staci: For sure. Okay true girl, I have a challenge for you. Sometime soon I want you to enjoy what could be your very first facial. Really get in there and look at yourself. Be grateful for the unique qualities that God gave you.

Dannah: Moms, you are not off the hook on this one. You need to do this too. Staci, do you do facials?

Staci: You know, I haven’t really ever done a facial. I was thinking about that.

Dannah: Maybe you need to take the True Girl challenge today.

Staci: I think so. I need to cut up some cucumbers and slap them on my eyes. 

Dannah: Yeah, okay. So the cucumber on the eye thing is a real true secret. Like it makes an amazing . . .

Staci: Does it?

Dannah: Yeah, it does, you should try that. 

Staci: I thought it was just a snack.

Dannah: No, well Staci, don’t eat the cucumbers after you put them on your eyes. 

My favorite facial is, I made this recipe once with peaches. I ground up peaches. I can’t remember what else was in it, but I put it on my face, and I smelled like a peach. 

Staci: As you’re looking in that mirror, remember a true girl who is rooted in truth can understand that real beauty comes from the unique qualities that only you carry. In fact, take some time to tell each other what you think is unique about the other person. Dannah, let me tell you what I think is unique about you. You ready to hear it?

Dannah: Oh, I am. Bring it.

Staci: I love your eyes. 

Dannah: Awe. 

Staci: They feel so intentional when you’re talking to me, I feel like you’re speaking into my soul. So, I like that. 

Dannah: You know, that speaks to me so deeply, because growing up I disliked my eyes more than any part of me. And you know what’s funny? Here you are complimenting them. You know what my husband told me? 

Staci: What?

Dannah: When we were dating, what he loved about me the most?

Staci: What?

Dannah: My eyes.

Staci: Great minds think alike. 

Dannah: So, a lot of times the things that are unique and that we don’t like, one more time, we’re saying that’s often what makes us uniquely you or me, and beautiful. Staci, you know what I love about you?

Staci: What?

Dannah: You have the most gorgeous skin. You never wear makeup. The only time you wear makeup is when you’re on the True Girl stage.

Staci: This is true.

Dannah: Your skin is beautiful and flawless, and yet when you get on that True Girl stage, it just glows. 

Staci: Thank you. 

Dannah: With that big smile of yours. I love it. You’re gorgeous, girl. 

You know, it feels so good, Staci, to take time to just compliment what God created in you, what God created in me. And true girl, mom, we hope that you’ll take some time really soon to do that very same thing. 

Claire: What a great reminder. The things that make me unique and different, those are good. I hope you know that, too. Dannah and Staci just encouraged you to plan a mother-daughter date to get facials. To get more details on how to make that date a meaningful time, get a copy of the book 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters, by Dannah Gresh. 

You’ll even find the recipe for that peach facial Dannah mentioned. Learn more about that book and other resources to bring moms and daughters closer together and closer to Jesus, visit

True Girl is a production of Revive Our Hearts calling women of all ages to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.


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About the Hosts

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

Staci Rudolph

Staci Rudolph

Staci Rudolph is a lead teacher for True Girl. From co-hosting online Bible studies like "Habakkuk: Walking By Faith Through Difficult Days" to facilitating biblical discussion of teen topics on the True You videocast, Staci is passionate about encouraging tweens, teens, and women of all ages to walk in God’s Truth.