doing what we were created to do

I walked into what would be my room for the next four months of my life this semester and instantly my brain started oozing with ideas.* A few floral blankets here, a couple old records there, pretty colors... everywhere... and suddenly my room was transformed. What was once an overcrowded, bland, dark room was now a beautiful, warm haven for me and my guests.

I sat alone with a pen and a notebook; my favorite medium. As illegible words streamed onto page after page and my soul danced on paper, I sat back satisfied. 

I held a paintbrush in hand and looked down onto my paint holder and began to see possibilities. As I mixed colors and poured them onto a blank canvas I let my mind sink in this moment; this moment where everything was alright, life was not a mess but a masterpiece of all the messes in life.

I strummed the guitar delicately and sang a song that had never been heard before or thought of. I scribbled down the lyrics as they came and edited them as I found better ones. It was a perfect time.

We were made to create, weren't we? We were made to look at something broken, unused, or misused and see beauty.

We were designed to find worth in the insignificant. 

A lot of times being able to create and bring beauty out of things is not seen as a gift. It doesn't seem effective or the best way to get higher up on the ladder.

Your boss won't look at your color coded filing system and think, Wow, doesn't that look really nice? He'll look at it and wonder why you wasted your time doing that when you could've been doing something better for the company.

But I think that beauty is necessary. Beauty is effective. And beauty is dangerous.

First of all, creating and discovering beauty is necessary because it is biblical. In the beginning God created. Period.

Now how is it effective you ask? Well the biggest reason is this: it's how relationships become healthy. Have you ever known someone who can point out the best qualities in you when you feel your worst? It makes you want to live up to those qualities, doesn't it? It makes you want to be all you can be and find your worth. That quality of discovering beauty through encouragement is what calls people to rise up. Like the horn blown by Susan calling for someone to rise up and rescue her, is the encouraging word that calls people to go out and rescue people with their love, understanding, service and joy.**

Have you ever met someone so trustworthy you could share anything with them and not feel judged? That's creating an atmosphere of beauty. An atmosphere where true relationships thrive as they were meant to.

And while we are at it, let me add this: we are really on this kick within the Church that "inner beauty is what counts" and "you're beautiful just the way you are" and basically "you should just wear sweatpants and do nothing to your hair and wear no make up because God loves you the way you are, God bless 'em."

And I agree with these things: inner beauty is of highest importance. You are beautiful the way you are. God does love you on your chubby days. But that does not give us an excuse to downplay and degrade the beautiful physical attributes God gave us. This is not healthy for our outlook on ourselves and it hinders relationships from being what they should be.

How, you ask? Well, I am so glad you did.

If I were to invite you to coffee and you sit there waiting, looking well-groomed, cute (if you're a girl), handsome (if you're a guy), and I walk in and I'm wearing baggy sweats, a t-shirt with a hole on the side and my hair looks like I just rolled out of bed would you feel very valued?

Probably not. Obviously, you were not someone I thought was worthy of dressing nicely for. You were someone who mattered very little to me.

But when I take care of myself and come, suddenly you realize you have worth because I care enough about you to put some effort into how I look when I see you.

Looking nice, smelling pleasing*** and just simply putting more than two minutes into your morning routines opens up your day to conversations that aren't jaded by the fact that you are insecure by how you look, people are distracted by how you smell or your friend feels devalued because you don't care what you look like in front of him.

Am I saying you can't have frumpy days? No. Sometimes you want to wear sweats around the house and that is just dandy. It's fine and understandable and you do it. But realize when you go out, when you entertain, when you spend time with people you need to not be a distraction so that your love, peacemaker spirit and Christlike attitude shines... not your forehead from where you forgot to wash your face.

And encourage others to look and feel beautiful. Feels corny to say, but when you realize how beautiful you are and what your worth is, you begin to see beauty and worth in others.

Without beauty and a heart that wants to find beauty, relationships cannot be what they were made to.

And when we allow beauty to rule and we create those relationships filled with discovering beauty we suddenly become very dangerous. We become a powerful weapon. A weapon against the wicked, evil and dark things in this world.

For when beauty stands beside darkness, beauty shines bright. When beauty is put beside the ugliness of pride and filth, beauty is finally seen as desirable for its purity. Who would want the wicked ways of evil people when they see the beautiful ways of holy people?

Beauty is necessary. It is effective. And it is dangerous.

So, what now?

Go. Go and live and create and search for beauty. Show that it is necessary. Prove its effectivness. And become strikingly dangerous to evil.

"I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse."

*oozing is an awkward word

**Narnia reference? No? No one got it? Oh. Carry on, then.

***Please... I beg of you... Buy deodorant. And use it.

verse one: genesis 1:1 
verse two: philippians 4:8