“The world has been wrong about you. They’ve hated your glory—just as the Evil One hates the glory of God. But we need your gift. Come forth.” –John Eldredge, ‘Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive’
Beauty is powerful, even fearsome.
We may instinctively sense that beauty is connected to something larger than ourselves …
“Every experience of beauty points to [eternity]” (Hans Urs von Balthasar) … “Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the Infinite” (Francis Bacon).
You may desire to see beauty unveiled in your relationships, work and business, or the wellness of your soul and body.
We quest to create a beautiful life because it brings pleasure, meaning and satisfaction. Life experience (and research) shows that key things release beauty into our lives and inspire us.
Quality family life, friendships and good conversation, living with balance, a minimalist lifestyle, investing finances in experiences with people instead of material things (even better, investing finances in helping others), appreciating nature and the arts, personal creativity, and more …
You probably know this: just start leaning into beauty in some area of your life, and you’ll discover the quest for beauty is resisted.
But is it worth it? Abundantly.
There is also a core priority we will want to focus upon. And it’s related to the vantage point of faith.
A CHRIST–AESTHETIC: “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us”
Moses wrote just one of the 150 psalms. In Psalm 90, he prays for the beauty of God to be upon us …
Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:16-17 NKJV).
The Hebrew word for beauty in this verse means favor, delightfulness and pleasantness. It comes from a word meaning agreeable, suitable and splendor.
Beauty is a high value with the Creator. Talk to God, asking Him to download His beauty into our lives.
In an age of increasing baseness and ugliness, our prayer-energized resolve can be to experience authentic beauty throughout our lives–to build a beautiful life.
We can lead our life in a way that is harmonious with design … where the full music of our life is heard.
A beautiful life is built to endure
Moses prayed, “Establish the work of our hands.” It’s a word which means give permanence to.
The Scriptures encourage us to build our lives with gold, silver and precious stones (reference). Paul was dealing with a community-of-faith issue, but the principle equally applies to each of our personal lives.
If we build with wood, hay and straw, there will be no lasting quality to our lives. There will be a day which will test the quality of our lives. We will be rewarded for what remains.
Moses prayed, “Let Your work appear to Your servants.” Our prayer-passion can be “Lord, show me what Your doing, show me Your activity … I want my life to be harmonious with Your activity.”
Towards beautification … becoming intentional
How can we intentionally create a beautiful life? A few thoughts …
- Prioritize and establish your focus. One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple (David in Psalm 27:4). I think this is where it starts … what are we really gazing on in life?
- Lift your prayer-passion before the Lord. Echo the heart-cry of Moses in Psalm 90: “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us.” He will respond to this prayer.
- Appreciate the CHRIST–AESTHETIC. Know that Christ is a supreme, skillful artisan. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). Workmanship in this verse is poiemo in the Greek … a design created by an artisan. We get our English words poem and poetry from this word. Christ is into creativity and beauty. He will make our lives a work of art if we respond to Him.
- Filter sources of ugliness. Let’s now allow the ugliness of a fallen world to inform our lives. We’ll have to learn to say “no” to many things, so that we can really say “yes” to something very beautiful.
- Relax and live from your heart. Allow what’s on the inside–who you naturally are–to flow into your personal world (and the world-at-large). You are unique! We need to see and experience the real you.
Those are a few of my thoughts about how we can build beautiful lives. What do you think? Feel free to share in the comment section below.
“There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect. Men do not quarrel about the meaning of sunsets; they never dispute that the hawthorn says the best and wittiest thing about the spring.” –Chesterton
Related on TrueNorth Quest: