Have you ever had one of those bleh sort of days? When the mundane rules and the body moves slow and the cozy sounds delightful?
It’s a bleh sort of day over here. No downer moods. Simply a sense of a low-key day. My body doesn’t feel energized. I’m a bit lethargic. It’s okay – enter hormones, blood sugars, and chores to do.
But mid-morning on this bleh-sort-of-day, God whispered to me of beauty. On my way to the bathroom counter to grab a hair tie and stick this mess of curls up in a bun, He said to me, “Look up.” There, in the mirror, I caught a glimpse of my reflection, in all my free-flying, messy curl, mascara-free, blonde eyelashes, freckles beyond number glory, wearing jeans and a T with a tear near the hem. A bit sloppy. The comfy feeling of being relaxed in my space. But nothing glamorous, to be sure.
“Embrace the messy curls today,” He whispered to me. “See the blue in the iris. Don’t long for the black in the lash. There’s beauty here. Now.”
There’s beauty here. Now.
Usually I hide my curls with the flat iron. Hair is easier to deal with that way. Easier to control. Usually I apply mascara to point out that, yes, I do in fact have eyelashes. I know they’re virtually invisible. I know I look like every European Renaissance portrait ever painted with the people of the invisible lashes. (Yes, those are my people.)
Sometimes the struggle is simple practicality. Sometimes it’s about fitting in. Sometimes it’s about fulfilling a sense of a perceived standard of beauty. But the struggle is there.
What struggle do you face when you face the mirror? It’s so easy to gloss over our feelings there because it seems so vain, surely not nearly as important as the “spiritual” issues of life. But God created us in bodies, which are our vessels for living out these lives of ours.
Not only did He create these bodies, but He created us in His image, after His likeness (Genesis 1:26-27).
And, even more, He is the Author and Creator of this substance called beauty. Beyond all the flowers and trees and clouds and waves He created a beauty that is eternal – humanity. And there is a special sort of beauty in the broken, the raw, the unveiled, the vulnerable, the tender, the wrinkled.
Am I tossing out my flat iron or my mascara? Nope. I enjoy those. Maybe you enjoy your flair for fashion or your tattoo or your lip color. There are all kinds of creative expressions. And I am not here to demonize those. I, too, have fun getting creative with the clothes I have, glancing at my tattooed wrist, or trying on a new color. Yes, enjoy. Yes, create. But, may we not hide. May we not hide the beauty that has always been there.
May we embrace the beauty He has placed within us as well as on us as we live surrendered to Christ, reflecting God’s image to the world.
Here’s to the messy curls, the invisible lashes, the freckles in great supply. Here’s to the real.
In case you need to hear it today – You are beautiful. And you are beauty. All because He is Beauty.
It all began as a pretty typical girls’ night in – snacking, chatting, laughing, and (perhaps) a little dancing in the living room. But somewhere along the line, as we got to know each other a little better, we came across a beautiful discovery: our shared passion for creating.
One girl, new to me, heard I was a writer and started asking me questions about what sort of writing I do. I come to realize she’s a budding photographer. Sitting in our small circle were also musicians, a painter, and a well-established YouTube crafter.
From the outside, to most people, we’d look more like this: a few stay-at-home moms, a couple of nurses, a former cop, a homeschooler, some wives, some single moms, a few foster/adoptive moms, etc. And yet, an invisible thread tied us all together, this connection of passion for the creative. Excitement for something greater bubbled beneath the surface.
On my drive home that night, I thought, “That’s great, God, but why does it matter? God, why did You create us this way? What does being creative really change in the scope of eternity?”
Most of us don’t use our creative outlets for financial support. They’re mostly to refresh us individually – almost an itch that just has to be scratched – that if we don’t create in our own individual ways, we’ll be less than our true selves.
God responded to my questions: “I didn’t make you to just be educated to learn skills to get jobs to pay bills…to raise kids to learn skills to get jobs to pay bills. I made you to know Me and make Me known. That’s what the creative does. I create. Therefore, you create. You emulate Me when you create. You become a window into My character when you create. That’s far more important that just paying the bills. Bills are temporary realities. Your creative capacity is eternal. So, make Me known.”
The creative essence within you is eternal. It emulates the creativity of God Himself. It is eternal. It opens a window of understanding to the character of eternal God.
To you, musician, actor, author – your creativity is deeply valuable.
To you, painter, photographer, tattoo artist – your creativity speaks to the greatest Artist who has ever existed.
To you, crafter, DIY’er, builder, graphic designer – you are a window that others can peek through to see God’s character.
To you, blogger, baker, dancer, and programmer – you have the capacity to make Him known.
Creativity is one avenue towards knowing God better and making Him known. And, more than that, the very capacity to create is a gift straight from the hand of God. What are you creating today? And why?
Brokenness doesn’t diminish your value. Brokenness means you have a story. Scars mean a wound you once had has been healed. Some scars do completely fade. But many remain, becoming a testimony themselves of where both wounding and healing have occurred.
Being healed doesn’t always mean you’ll be flawless. The flaws give a unique and innate beauty to our stories. The flaws let the world know we’ve suffered, we aren’t perfect, we have a story to share. And other imperfect people can enter our world, knowing we’ll understand when they reveal they’ve been wounded too.
The broken beautiful. (Continue Reading)
Come join the discussion about scars, healing, and the beauty of brokenness over at Single Matters!
I grew up in the church. So I thought I knew the formula – I thought I knew what to expect. But I was in for a huge surprise.
Studying abroad for a month sounded like a fabulous way to earn 6 credit hours the summer before my senior year of college. So, leaving Steve, my then-boyfriend, family, and friends behind, I went to London to study English literature. Steve was so sweet and helpful and wanted to be sure that I had a chance to attend church while I was away, so he did some searching and found a little church in Soho he suggested I visit.
I managed to convince two other students to join me for their Sunday evening service and, boy was I glad I didn’t go alone!
We walked through a low doorway, and into a basement-style room…no windows, just the entry door. The craziness of that evening, in all its fullness, still eludes me, but I do remember lots of interesting Jesus-flavor happening: a poem spoken in Korean (may I remind you we were in…London!), lots of drumming, various bizarre testimonies, and – the best part – finishing off the night with a church-wide conga line!
Coming from a traditional Southern Baptist background, my jaw dropped a bit. Granted, at the time, I was attending a mega-church back home that had a rock concert-like feel every weekend, so my tastes had expanded greatly, but this was a bit more than I’d bargained for. It was eye-opening to see the colors everywhere, on the walls and especially represented in the sixty or so people present…all kinds of beautiful colors and cultures! Once the shock abated, I just laughed.
The next day offered me the chance to laugh some more, because on Monday morning, our small class went for a tour of Westminster Abbey. The very height of the arched ceilings seemed to testify to God’s immenseness. After marveling at the exquisite architecture, and the literary heroes buried there, we sat in on a Gregorian-style service. And my musical heart pitter-pattered away listening to those harmonies.
But my mind laughed hysterically at the crazy dichotomy of Sunday evening in Soho versus Monday morning in the Abbey. How amazing God is! How creative and colorful! How expressive and worthy!
I felt His Presence in the warmth and fun and friendship in the basement church in Soho. I experienced His grandeur in the lifted praises echoing against cathedral ceilings in the Abbey. And in each place, He touched my soul so deeply, so profoundly that now, more than ten years later, I remember these moments and I smile. I smile because God is so beyond what my mind can conjure. He is both personal and enormous. He is both present and eternal. And He is most certainly hilarious!