Life · Travel · Uncategorized

Understanding beauty: a work in progress

Hi Friends! If you remember, I’ve been on a journey to fully grasp, embrace, and live out the phrase ‘simple beauty, amidst chaos.’ You’ve been so kind to come along with me – and I’m so grateful.

In this quest – it’s been on my heart to better understand what God declares as beautiful, and has lead me to emphatically ask God to re-define what my heart and head tell me beauty is.

This summer, we’ve explored some of America’s mountains. After saving our money for months, we excitedly booked flights, rented a car, dealt with (very real) altitude sickness, re-bought items long forgotten in the packing process, and slept in someone else’s bed, all just to get a glimpse of something wild, different, and captivating.

My observations thus far? Even within the intense jaw-dropping views and scenes, nature can be dirty, smelly, and harsh. It has flaws, jagged-edged cliffs, trees that fall, storms that rage, and animals that frighten. This type of beauty is raw, wild, and unfiltered.

As Christians, we know God is the original designer of all things – so He also created what we consider beautiful. It started with Him. God will always be the root of all beautiful things.

The same God that created incredible mountains, tall evergreens, and rapidly flowing rivers, looked at what he had done and said ‘this is good, I am pleased with this work.‘ (Genesis 1:31) He also created us from dust, breathed life into our bodies, and was well pleased with what He had done. (Gen 2:7)

All the while, we forget that we are God’s most intricate design and most tedious piece of work. Do we not also still have jagged edges, flaws, and a raw, natural beauty that is bigger than we can understand?

God is teaching me that beauty is not necessarily meant to be curated, but received, acknowledged, and appreciated.

There’s a thought wondering its way up to the tippy top of my brain and I’m aching to share it with you:

Maybe what God claims beautiful is something far more daring and adventurous than I know.

Maybe it’s less calculated and more interpreted.

Maybe it’s neither cultural nor chic, but both daily and deathless.

When I put pressure on myself to be perceived as beautiful, my focus is not on anything other than ME. Inevitably,  I let myself down every. single. time. Clothes will get stained, skin will break out, and uncomfortable shoes will blister my heels.

So because my focus is not right, I end up becoming flustered, and missing what God might have had for me during a specific event or occasion.

In nature, we just show up. It’s a ‘come as you are’ invitation. God has already done the work. When we immerse ourselves in the culture of God’s creation, beauty just happens: the waves roll in, the leaves whistle in the wind, the mountains stand tall and wide, and flowers bask in the sun, displaying their beauty and color.

When I look at these landscapes, I feel God speaking to my heart: ‘Have a look at what I have done for you. Do you see how I want to show you myself? Look up to the mountains: I am steady and strong, big and mighty, majestic and wild. Come and sit a while with me in this place I have created for you.’

Lord, give me a heart to receive the simplicity of showing up and being grateful. Help me acknowledge beauty instead of trying to manufacture it.

I want to relish the treasure of serving others, the loveliness of a true and honest conversation, the splendor of a bright blue sky, the sentimentality of an exquisite rainbow.

Give me a spirit of peace and allow a misdirected focus of days past to melt away.

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