What Makes Life Beautiful?

Because of social media, people can now show off their lives for all the world to see and admire. But a life that is seen through the screen is just a small facet of the whole. The life lived behind it, hidden from the world’s hungry eyes, is what essentially matters. If we live our moments just so we can brag them to the world is not really living. The thing that I’m learning now is to live for my sake and the ones I love, and not for the sake of the world. That is not selfish at all if you will allow me to elucidate. Because of the pull of social media, we have learned to make little decisions that are based not on our own needs and their importance in our lives, but because we think that they will impress the world. 

beautiful life

We can easily see that when, instead of letting the hungry husband dive into the sumptuous dinner before us, for example, he’ll still have to wait because we are going to take pictures first (for IG perhaps!) before the nice arrangement is messed up. Instead of sitting quietly down to dinner, thank the Lord for the good food and ask Him to bless it, then share it with the ones we love gathered around, our thoughts and actions are centered on sharing it first to the world. We make these little decisions for the sake of the world and not for us.

Now, if we fail to show our moments to the world before they come to pass, we feel like there’s something lacking in our lives. But, this shouldn’t be the case. Our lives should be lived to satisfy us and not the world through its “likes and comments”.

Is life beautiful because a photo shared is scooping up “likes” by the hundreds or even thousands? Is that the gauge?

I’m learning, dear readers, I’m learning!

What makes life beautiful? Is it what people see on the outside? Or is it essentially the life on the inside, the one that cannot be seen? The one that is sturdily connected to its Creator and Sustainer and Savior? The one that is whole and full and complete enough in its God it doesn’t need glorying in “likes”? The one that doesn’t need to show off because it is happy and contented in itself?

I am learning hard, yes, on how to live this one life in contentment in God and not in the world. Sometimes, we think that striving to make our lives beautiful for others to admire and emulate is the way to happiness, but I believe that we need to create first a place in our inmost being that is authentically contented, happy, and grateful before it can even be called beautiful. Our lives should deeply satisfy us first before it can attempt to satisfy others. They should be loved, cherished, and made happy first before they can even be useful to others.

I used to think that adorning and surrounding my life with beautiful things – scented candles, pretty English teacups, flowers arranged in a crystal vase, lovely and comfortable bedroom with walls and covers in perfect harmony (you get the picture) – will somehow cover the want in other areas, such as the lack of health and the absence of travel because of it. These things could temporarily bring comfort and joy and even peace, but in no way can they reach that place in the heart and soul where true and enduring happiness and contentment reside, if in the very first place they aren’t there. The true state of the heart, mind, and soul will determine whether the life that they support is beautiful or wanting.

I have to ask this because it is my life right now: Is there beauty at all in suffering? All kinds of suffering for that matter? I believe there is if it brings us to a closer, more intimate walk with our Savior. If it drives us to pursue holiness that is not superficial. Suffering, if seen in the right perspective, is sanctifying. If our suffering ends in our sanctification, then suffering has served its purpose. Now, don’t go gawking at that word: holiness. The truth is, we are called to it. We are called to be saints (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2). We are called to pursue holiness.

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. (Heb. 12:14)

A holy life is one that worships God in spirit and in truth, both in the most private place of our lives and in the congregation with other believers.

Shouldn’t a life be established in peace and joy and confidence first in the Lord Jesus Christ before it could even be called beautiful? Shouldn’t a beautiful life begin with a happy and satisfied heart in God first and a spirit that praises and thanks God with its all before it can even be seen and admired by others?

For what is a life if it wallows in its inability to be happy and content in its God who makes all things possible for it? What is a life if it endlessly whines for the lack and cannot see the blessings all around it and rejoice in them and thank God for every single one? What is a life if it cannot see the good?

First, a life must see God, both in the tangible and intangible. Both in the fruit (that we see) and in faith. In the gifts and rewards and in hopes and dreams. A life that sees God in suffering and in victory. In woe and in awe. In fear and in peace. In joy and sadness. A beautiful life is able to balance these and still flourish. And rejoices in the Lord.

A life is beautiful from the inside out when it is drenched in love on both sides: the Lord Jesus’ unfailing, faithful love and our steadfast, growing one. I believe the secret is being truly loving from the depths of our souls. Such love should be reflected in our relationships.

What makes a life beautiful even with all its trials and struggles and suffering? It is that radiance that’s a reflection of God’s glory. It is never easy, I know. For often our lives reflect the suffering or the want. But we need to ask this: Is it about us? Isn’t it about Him working in and through us for His joy, renown, honor and glory? For His kingdom? And yet, it’s also about us as far as He is concerned: the ones He’s known and loved and chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (see Eph. 1:4), the blessed recipients of His mercy and grace. For didn’t He give His life to give us ours?

And the life that He gave – it is beautiful.

If you have been blessed by your visit here, I’d love for you to like Our Healing Moments on Facebook and connect with me there. To not miss any posts, I also invite you to subscribe below. Thank you!

Linking up with Tell His StoryWise WomenCoffee for Your HeartFaith Filled Friday.

Beauty Outside the Bushel

I have a recurrent, deep-seated desire to undo the past – the times I had spoken, acted, and made decisions foolishly, heaping up shame upon myself. I could go as far back to the years of my youth and would find many a reason to regret. I believe you know what I’m talking about here :). You know those years in high school and college that you had been unintelligent (stupid is more like it) on many issues on the personal and social levels? I had just celebrated my 47th birthday (Oct. 2), so that makes college life eons ago, but I still get a feeling that maybe I had made the wrong decisions that brought me to my present life, that I could have done better with my choices. That perhaps life would have been more beautiful had I been smarter earlier in life.

People who know me would wonder because I had actually been successful in my career. I got good grades all throughout college that I was on the Dean’s List every semester. But I’m not talking about academic performance. I’m talking about relationships, friendships, and beautiful possibilities presented us in the past that we had bungled. It is this: no matter how successful I had become in life, now that I know God’s words, the mistakes of the distant past seem to look much uglier. Now that I know His precious teachings, the more I desire to have been a better young woman, one who was both beautiful inside and out.

But in the midst of these feelings of regret, the Lord spoke to me. But before that, He showed me a vision in my mind of a lamp sitting beside a basket. He said I am that lamp. That He has let my light shine outside of the basket and why don’t I see that? The Lord knows what’s hidden in the deep recesses of our hearts; nothing is hid from Him. He knows exactly what I might be regretting or mooning about that I cannot express in words. He said to me:

Your life now is beautiful because I am in it. Because I make it so. Why do you refuse to see that? You can’t keep on reaching back to the past and wish you had done differently. Because there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, you can do about it but that – wish. I want you to look at your life now because the present is all that you can live in. A loving, faithful husband and lovely children that cherish you. I gave you a gift to write to share my words and love and they read you. What’s not beautiful in that? What’s not to love and thank and celebrate in your life when all the while I am with You? I am working in and through you and that’s what the world sees, not your regrets or how you wish things were different.

Writing these words now makes my blindness clearer. I am feeling what the disciples had probably felt when Jesus rebuked them of their slowness of comprehension regarding the miracle of the bread and fish – mortified. He then reminded me of Ecclesiastes 3:

He has made everything beautiful in its time… (Ecc. 3:11)

Okay. So if before there was ugliness and shame, now, there’s only His grace and beauty and light. Be a lamp that’s outside the bushel. Don’t hide your light under feelings of regrets and unworthiness. The Lord wants our lights to shine for all the world to see. He is that light.

Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. (Mat. 5:15)

 If you have been blessed by your visit here, please like Our Healing Moments on Facebook and connect with me there. Thank you!

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs and Still Saturday and Coffee for Your Heart.

Journey with Jesus,

Fruits or Briers?

Lately, I’ve been plagued by a desire to undo the ugliness of the past by wishing it had been different. It came to a point where I talked to my husband about it in all seriousness and sincerity. He said solemnly that, if he had been a true Christian then, the choices would have been different. He, too, would have wanted a pure relationship. If only he had known the Lord Jesus Christ then. But I need to start from where it all began.

When I entered college many years ago, I was like a breath of fresh air, idealistic and innocent. Just like the pure, fresh scent of the evergreens surrounding the ladies dorm and university, my life blossomed. I honestly believed it would stay that way through career, courting, and marriage. But during the career and courting stage where I was exposed to the world and its temptations, everything changed. My pure plans were ruined and my ideals came crashing down with them. Me and my ideals were a lot weaker against the works of the enemy.

I don’t know why, but lately as I have been reading stories about Christian courtships and marriages, how beautiful and wonderful they are in their pureness in Christ – I have been desiring to redo my past and make the memories beautiful and something to be proud of. But how can you undo the past? It’s over and done with and that’s that. So, I wrestled. I wanted to remake the memories so I could look back with fondness. But that can never happen.

We all have different pasts. Some regret, but still others reminisce with fondness. The choices we made in the past were the ones which created those memories. We cannot redo them; we can only begin making beautiful ones today. We can again uphold those ideals we embraced growing up because we follow the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I believe that by living a new life in Him and nurturing our relationships in the beauty of His love and teachings – whether in courtship, marriage, or family – the ugly memories of the past will be covered by the beauty of the present moments. That can happen because — the truth has been written ages ago:

He has made everything beautiful in its time… (Ecc. 3:11)

There was a time in our lives (our past) that we were lost and didn’t know how to live righteously, in holiness, and in all the Lord’s beauty. But now is the call to make our lives beautiful and bright – all for His glory! There is a whole new possibility for that because He Himself gives us the power and resources to be able to do so.

For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. (Heb. 6:7-8)

God rains down on us so we could drink and grow and flourish. He rains down on us in whatever way – blessings or trials – so we could bear abundant fruits by them. Every single morning He ushers in with His new mercies, He is giving us a chance to grow and bear fruit and live in beauty, a beautiful life in Christ Jesus. But how have we been soaking up God’s rain? Have we been bearing fruits or briers?

I love that at any point in life, we can stop living in ugliness and darkness and start living in beauty just because there is a faithful and powerful Savior who can turn our lives around. So, let’s welcome each morning with the renewed enthusiasm to create beautiful memories that will last forever!

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. (Ps. 30:11-12)

If you have been blessed by your visit here, please like Our Healing Moments on Facebook and connect with me there. Thank you!

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs and Coffee for Your Heart.

Journey with Jesus,