“I’m not as good at seeing beauty in the rainstorms of my life as I am from seat 17F.
I typically sit smack underneath them, watching as my clothes are getting soaked and my straightened hair is getting ruined and what I thought was going to happen with my day (my life?) is getting thwarted. And I find no beauty in that. It frustrates me, it angers me, it annoys me. I look skyward and wonder what I have done to deserve this lot in life. And when I see ugly on the outside—whether it is my body or my circumstances or the hurt in the world, the processing in my heart isn’t much better—and the storm from out there usually ends up inside me.
And it is ugly.
I’ve been struggling with this my whole life: Looking for the beautiful amid the rain, confusion, hurt, and ugly.
My story is like many other women I know—the mirror has lied, and the enemy has whispered for years, and now we can’t look at ourselves and find anything lovely, whether it is raining or not. I have looked desperately to no avail. And I’ve given up. Over and over again. My search has often left me teary, angry, and eating something I regret later. (Thank you, 11:00 p.m. trip to the grocery store for M&Ms.)
I need beauty. I need to see the lovely in my every day. I crave it. Maybe because I have felt it missing in me—in my heart—for so long. Whenever something beautiful is in my sight, I want to devour it. I want to breathe it in, hold it, swallow it, keep it.
But what is it? What is beautiful?
We know what we are lacking, like a field in a drought, but do we know what beautiful looks like? Is it a rainstorm or a new dress or a plate of shrimp and grits or Monet’s lily pads?
Yes. It is all of those things. And more. So much more.”
The excerpt above is from Annie… and we couldn’t love it any more than we do! Below are 5 practical ways to look for lovely and see the beautiful in your life:
1. Take a tip from Annie and take some time for yourself, paint your nails. Every time you see the pop of color you’ll be reminded of the lovely and the one who created it also created you. As you are painting, use it as time to pray and ask God what it would look like for you to cultivate a quiet and gentle spirit, to find for yourself what is health for your soul and your body.
2. Incorporate your kids! Tell them to “Look for little lovelies” around the house each day, and you may be surprised what they find. You’ll be amazed at how many lovely things they see that you would never notice or might take for granted.
3. Spend time at a coffee shop or having dinner with your friends. Figure out who is your person? Who is the one that holds your arms up? Find them and hug and thank them. You never know when that might be the little lovely they see in their day!
4. If things are feeling pretty dark to you, wake up early to watch the sunrise, that way you can see how dark it gets before the dawn. If your life feels so dark that sometime you have no idea where the light is going to come from, go there early and watch the sunrise. And afterwards? Read Psalm 19. You’ll thank Annie later 🙂
5.Take a walk today. While you are walking, look around. What do you see? What catches your eye? Pray as you walk, asking God to direct your eyes to the things He doesn’t want you to miss.
Lovely will look different for each of us and that’s OK. If you don’t do sunrises or nail polish, don’t stress. You are allowed to figure out your own lovely, appreciate your own moments, and feel the grace of your Savior that is always there, even if you can’t see it.
And if nothing else resonates, remember this: “…if you want to be full of hope, you have to suffer a bit. You have to find purpose in the suffering so you don’t give up. You have to persevere. And when you persevere, your character, your proven faith and tried integrity, grows. And then hope. Hope arrives.”