Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A truly beautiful life

If beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder then why do nearly all of the faces on fashion magazines and runways look alike? Every model has a small nose, glowing skin and high cheekbones. The "beholder" always shares a similar vision to People magazine. Beauty is in man's chiseled features and women with curves in all the right places.Beauty comes with conditions. To be beautiful there is specific criteria: symmetrical facial structure, captivating eyes, long legs, a friendly smile. From my place at the checkout line it appears that beauty doesn't vary very much.
And it's not just physical beauty. One-size-fits-all beauty is just as relevant for day-to-day living. Just swap out high cheekbones for health and a gleaming white smile for wealth. Top it off with happiness and you have a life that any eye would behold as beautiful. Myself included.
By my own estimation a beautiful life would fit quite nicely within the stated criteria. To qualify as a "beautiful life" I have my own stereotypical mental checklist and conditions. For starters a beautiful life includes a fulfilling love life. Add to that a successful and meaningful career. Vibrant health is a must, as is an active social life. Low stress, a happy family and faithful friends all come together to make for a magazine-cover worthy beautiful life.
The trouble with this conditional list of life must-haves is that I can't put many check marks in the corresponding boxes. When I evaluate my life, take a look at the head shots and critique the poses I come up undeniably short. And not just in feet and inches. It's not just my body that wasn't built for the runway. By every worldly standard my life leaves much to be desired.
So does that mean that my life is not beautiful?
To my lamenting heart the answer that has come through frustration and tears has, admittedly, been "yes" far more often than I would dare remember or care to admit. In the quiet of my own mind and even out loud I've complained to God that my stated conditions for an appealing, alluring and enjoyable life haven't been met. With childlike indignation I've stomped my feet and thrown temper tantrums demanding a classically beautiful life.
Countless times I have delivered my beautiful life check-list to God on high with the promise that if He will meet my conditions I will be abundantly happy and entirely fulfilled. I have assured Him that with my requests met I will give Him praise and thanks. And it's true, I would honor God with a classically beautiful life, but God isn't looking for honor in the ordinary. God has given me an unconventional type of beautiful and that's where He desires for me to find my heart's health, my spirit's wealth and soul's endless joy and happiness. God wants honor and praise to flow from this unconditionally, unconventionally beautiful life.
God doesn't measure beauty by the People magazine standard. Or any worldly standard for that matter. God has thrown out every worldly method of measuring for what is a desirable and appealing life. He's rewritten beautiful to meet His eternal and Holy standards that specialize in being diverse, unique and unexpectedly lovely.
God has given me just such a beautiful life, one that doesn't meet my conditions. The life God has given me rewrites them. In the eye of the Beholder my life is stunningly beautiful. Without conditions or a check-list of must haves, I will praise God for my lovely life and use it to bring praise, glory and honor to the creator and perfecter of my unconditionally lovely life.

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