Are You Comfortable With Beauty?

Are You Comfortable With Beauty?

And there was beauty, but are you comfortable with beauty in yourself and others? I suppose we are mirrors of beauty to a hungry world.

I love to look at beauty. A sunrise or a sunset. A rose in the garden or a bird singing for joy.

I recognise beauty in a child dancing or making up imaginary stories. I see beauty when someone offers another a glass of water, or to wash someone’s feet.

We see beauty if and when we look for it. Conversely, we see ugly if and when we look for it.

I suppose it’s another example of ‘where you focus is where you will go’.

Focus on a pimple and you’re a wart, and then your entire world becomes full of pimples, warts, and leprosy rejection.

Here’s the big and dangerously good question.

Are you comfortable with your beauty? 

It’s so easy to dismiss one’s own beauty because of comparisonitis. A disease that kills more life than anything else.

I’ve known people that many would categorise as physically beautiful, but out from their mouths pours an ugliness that hurts.

I know there is beauty there; it has to be, but all that is presented from their deepest selves is bile. I weep and yearn for salve for them.

Comfortable with beauty

Physically, I don’t know what these women looked like. We have no pictures of them and I’m glad.

They could have been short, tall, square faced, balloon faced, skinny or overloading the scales. It doesn’t matter.

What we know of is that in the Bible that were some women known for their beauty.

I think of Esther Esther 2:7, Sarai (Sarah) Genesis 12:11 and Abigail 1 Samuel 25:3

Instantly, we might form in our minds what a beautiful woman might look like according to our cultural norms, but it might have been different back then.

I have never met an ugly woman.

I’ve met many women who consider themselves ugly and certainly not beautiful.

But spend a little time with them and there it is – beauty. It may need to be drawn out and endorsed, but it’s always there.

It’s all about Soul talk and discovering what is hidden under the layers. Layers of being shamed by others and themselves. Comparisons being made, and downright abuse.

I like this proverb.

Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water;
But a man of understanding will draw it out. Proverbs 20:5

Heres my version

Beauty in the heart of a woman (or a man) is like water in a deep well;
But men and women of understanding will draw it out for the world to be enriched. P.U.V (Pearman Unauthorized Version)

A compelling vision

What would it be like if everyone you met, particularly the women in this case, knew their deepest beauty and welcomed others into that beauty so that others could experience something of the nature of God.

These women being like a conduit of God’s beauty to the world.

I think that is what Jesus saw.

He had many women following him. He saw in them something beyond first appearances. It was the heart that grabbed his fully human and fully divine attention first.

The story of him meeting a samaritan woman by himself at the well was strictly taboo in those times, yet he didn’t shy away offering his presence.

I wonder how many times Jesus was accused of things simply because he moved into a woman’s world to draw out and affirm the beauty before him.

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Mark 2:16 Matthew 9:10-13

He had a reputation, still does.

I watched a woman the other day protect a mutual friend’s privacy by withholding information about them. She could have told the entire story about this other person, but she held it back.

I think she had tasted the poison effects of gossip herself. My heart leapt at this beauty. I think I will tell her that this was beauty. I wonder how she will respond?

I have a compelling vision. I am compelled to go deep and draw out the beauty. The world needs more beauty.

Could this be mis-interpreted by others? Possibly, but I’m tired of God’s reflected beauty not being endorsed and encouraged.

When you see beauty, can you affirm its presence?

 

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Comments?
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Quotes to consider

  • A framed pencil sketch of Mother Teresa hangs in our hallway. I walk by it every day. More often than not, I pause and look. And when I do, it never fails: every time I feel strangely captured by an awareness of indescribable beauty, a beauty that opens the eyes of my soul to see and appreciate what my natural sight can neither see nor appreciate.
    I look at Mother Teresa, and I want God. Dr. Larry Crabb.
  • There are two things that draw us outside of ourselves: pain on other people’s faces; and the unbelievable beauty that is other human beings at their best. Or in other words: cross and resurrection. Richard Rohr -Job and the Mystery of Suffering
  • The calling of every true artist is to envision true beauty and then creatively represent it. Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. It is objective. It exists in the character and relationships of God. I’m called, and so are you, to get a feel for what that beauty looks like as we hear resurrection and story truth and then follow God’s signposts to reflect His beauty in our character and relationships. Larry Crabb
  • We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. C.S. Lewis.
  • Something in the way she movesAttracts me like no other loverSomething in the way she woos meI don’t want to leave her nowYou know I believe and how. George Harrison

Questions to answer

  1. What is your natural, or first response, when you encounter beauty? (Be ruthlessly honest)
  2. When did having comparisons make its first entry into our human psyche? (think Genesis 3)
  3. Are you comfortable with beauty?

Formation exercise

  • A writing exercise. Either of these suggestions.
    • Begin your journal entry with the words ‘I have beauty because …’ Write at least 100 words about why you have beauty.
    • What holds you back from endorsing the beauty you see in others?

Further reading

Comparisonitis – The Compulsion to Compare Yourself

True Beauty Is Under The Tarnish

When Women with Depression Discover their Beauty

Barry Pearman

Photo by Natalia Blauth on Unsplash

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