I push that away, telling myself that it’s pride and self-absorption to want those things. So, I pray for humility and turn toward Jesus in repentance and in need of help.
But it’s deep within me. It leaks out no matter how many prayer patches I slap on. This desire for beauty refuses to stay in the shadows, and refuses to back down.
I’ve learned, from experience, much about what makes me unattractive: over-extending, pushing, overselling. Too much work, too much rest, too much fun. Too much me.
Beauty is elusive. I can’t deny wanting it, but the way to it is mysterious … and I worry if even going there would be wrong.
Perhaps I should take my cue from the trees in this season of turning. They have so much beauty, and yet it’s because they are, in a way, dying.
They wait for their time of perfect rest, then their inner beauty turns itself out.
They know when enough has been done, and they are effortlessly attractive.
In their least-productive stage of life, they are at their height of glory.
They are still, quiet, and yet boldly colorful.
I notice that their reach is not for grabbing or grasping. They hold their beauty out loosely, letting it go to the wind… trusting that there will be more in the next season; a faithful offering that points away from self.
The tree stands as a quiet reminder of Whose image I bear. The tree subtly points me to the Way…
I long for beauty, because He, who is all beauty, breathed life into me.
I cry out for glory, because the Glorious One knit me together and wove His heart into mine.
These desires are not shameful. They’re from the Tree Maker; the only One who could use a tree to bring life through death.
In trusting stillness, my intended beauty will be revealed.
And when I’m dying to myself and my turn, I’ll experience glory.
The Beautiful Way is not in denying my desires. It’s in the turning toward Him to fulfill them. And like the tree, it was there all along: