Monday, March 14, 2011
THE PERFECTION OF BEAUTY
Beauty -- It is the intangible desire of every man and woman.
Like every other little girl growing up in this world, I wanted to be beautiful. I would see a pretty flower, or a butterfly, or the sun’s rays as they danced upon the water’s surface, and something inside of me said that this is how things should be. In Sunday school, I learned how God created everything in the world perfect and beautiful. I would hear stories about the Garden of Eden, and how beautiful and glorious everything was. I imagined what the trees and flowers and animals must have looked like in the garden, how blue the sky must have been, and how happy Adam and Eve must have been in that place. I knew that a God who would create such a beautiful paradise, must be beautiful, as well.
As a young girl, I would observe my mother as she fixed her hair and carefully applied her make-up. In my mind, she always looked so perfect, and I wanted to be just like her. I would play with Barbie dolls, and see what a pretty girl is supposed to look like. I would watch the older girls at school, and how boys would respond to them. Of course, the pretty ones got most of the attention, which didn’t really surprise me. After all, it was natural to favour beautiful things. A flower has much more worth than a weed. I figured that by attaining beauty, I could also attain worth, but as I grew older, I discovered that these perfect standards of beauty were much higher than I was able to attain. I knew I wanted beauty, but for whatever reason I could not grasp it.
That is because I never realized what true beauty was. I had some idyllic standards, but the more I laboured to reach them, the farther from my reach they became. For me, beauty was unattainable. Quite simply, I could never be “pretty enough.”
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but truly, we all know a thing of beauty when we see it. Beauty can take so many forms. It can whisper to you in a peaceful sunrise, or shout at you in a powerful sunset. It can be as distant as the stars in the heavens, yet as tangible as a rose that you can see, smell, and touch. It can gently serenade you in the morning song of a robin, or boldly overpower you in the crescendo of a Handel overture. We can see, smell, and hear beauty through our senses, but it’s harder to touch it on a spiritual level….to really feel it, experience it, connect with it.
When we see something beautiful, we naturally desire it. As a woman, when I see something beautiful, like a pretty rose, my first instinct is to want to “be beautiful, like that pretty rose.” Quite simply, I want to identify with that thing of beauty that holds so much to be desired. Every woman wants to, not only feel beautiful, but be beautiful….to identify with beauty and find it within herself.
I wanted beauty, too, so when I found none inside, I looked outside of myself. When I thought I had found it, it was only temporary, and I could never truly identify with it, because I felt so ugly inside…..but I knew that I wanted it, and I didn’t want to lose it.
I very much loved beautiful things, saw worth in them, and figured that if I were beautiful, that I would be worth loving, too. No woman ever stops wanting to be beautiful, because no woman ever stops wanting to be loved. The very truth of the matter is, though, is that a woman can never feel truly beautiful unless she feels truly loved.
Like so many other girls, I grew up feeling unloved, unlovable, and ugly. Even so, as a little girl, pretty things reminded me that God must love me. Why else would He have created such a beautiful world for me to live in?! I saw His love and tender care in the garden that my mother planted, and in the hummingbirds that she used to feed. I would see a beautiful rainbow, and feel God’s love all around me, like I was a part of something transcendent.
In the beginning, God created everything “very, very good.” He planted a magnificent garden called Eden, and placed Adam in the midst of it, to work it, oversee it, and to be a part of it. Adam was a part of God’s beautiful creation, but that creation was marred by sin. How easy it is for us to dwell on this, and forget the fact that God has not stopped working, but is continually working in us to make us beautiful once again.
God is the perfection of beauty. His is a beauty so pure and so dazzling that it defies comprehension. He is holy, righteous, and full of love and grace. Every rainbow, every sunset, every star in heaven is an expression of His perfect beauty. It is all around us…but God loves us more. We are the pinnacle of His creation, and when He looks at us, He sees Jesus in us.
We typically experience beauty through observation, and it is always a deeply satisfying experience – but how much more when God’s beauty transcends our senses and fills our minds and hearts? God’s perfect love is an expression of His perfect beauty, and how deeply satisfying when that love fills your soul, and you connect with the living God. It’s a beauty so pure, so full of light, and we not only sense it, but it becomes a part of us. He manifests His perfect beauty in my heart, and places His spirit there. His love makes me beautiful, because He is beautiful. I do not always have to feel beautiful, either. I know who I am in Him.
His is a beauty that is seen through His creation, but moves and breathes in the very heart of His children. His beauty is alive, and makes me alive. I have always admired beautiful things, but until I truly met God, I never experienced beauty personified, or communed with it in any deep or meaningful way. Many people say that beauty can be a “spiritual experience,” but it is still only based on observation, and not communion.
When I look at all the beauty in the world, and reflect on the One who created it, I realize that knowing true beauty lies in knowing the source. My God is the source of all beauty and light, and He will shine that same beauty into my soul if I will only receive it. To connect with Him is to connect with perfect beauty.