Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Beauty Rewrites: How to be Gloriously Beautiful

by Emily Conrad


This post is different from all the other Beauty Rewrites posts. It's the last, and with that come questions. How can we write The End on this series when there's still so much more ground to cover?

Or, better yet, How can there be so much left unsaid when we've spent twelve weeks on the topic of beauty?

Beauty--symmetry, color, shape--is a gift from God. He calibrated us to respond to those traits. Since the ultimate source of beauty, our Creator, is infinite, beauty is something bigger than us. Something more than we can cover in twelve weeks or twelve years.

So, though we can't cover every aspect of beauty, it seems fitting to end this series on a note about that Creator, His beauty, and how that affects us.

The Bible tells us that God is Himself beautiful. We're given a glimpse of this in Ezekiel 1:26-28.
Above the platform over their heads was something like a sapphire shaped like a throne. High above on the throne was a form that appeared to be a man. I saw an amber glow like a fire enclosed all around from his waist up. From his waist down I saw something that looked like fire. There was a brilliant light around it, like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds after the rain. (NET)
Sapphire, amber glow, fire, brilliance, rainbow--these are all beautiful things. Our Creator is stunning. Yet we only have a couple of descriptions of heaven and God's appearance in the Bible. Instead, our faith centers on how God behaves and who He is.

Likewise, despite having the outward kind of beauty in heaven, when Jesus came to earth, Isaiah 53:2 tells us,

he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention,
no special appearance that we should want to follow him. (NET)
Since many, many, many people have followed him throughout the generations, it's clear God drew us to Himself through another, more powerful kind of beauty.

This hits at the heart of Beauty Rewrites. Over the weeks, in our own ways, Christina, Ludavia, and I have hoped to share with you these truths:

Beauty isn't what our culture thinks it is; beauty's most important form is not outward.

Beauty doesn't mean what our culture thinks it means; skin-deep looks don't equate to happiness, success, or peace.

Beauty doesn't do what our culture thinks it does; appearances cannot lead us to real, lasting love and acceptance.



If the stunningly beautiful and glorious God of the universe woos us to Himself not with the beauty of His appearance but instead with the beauty of who He is, His steadfast love, mercy, and grace, isn’t it silly of us to try to attract the world with long eyelashes and skinny waists?

Wonderfully, we don't have to try those tactics because God offers His beauty to us.

When my ESV Bible talks about God glorifying Himself in what He does in us, the text often marks a footnote, which explains by glorifying Himself, God is displaying His beauty.

Isaiah 49:3, for example, reads, And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” Footnote or “I will display my beauty.”

As we follow Him, He displays His eternal, divine beauty in us, and that’s more attractive than anything we can slick on from a tube or apply with a wand. 

True beauty is God's beauty, displayed in us regardless of outward appearances. Even on those days when we can't straighten (or add graceful waves to) our hair, those days our jeans are too tight, those days we can't muster a smile or get past our tears, our God can display His beauty in our lives. Our faith in Him, regardless of ugly circumstances, allows true beauty to shine.

We've come a long way in the last twelve weeks, but God's not done with us yet. He continues to work in our lives to show us what true beauty is. The kind of beauty that lifts hearts and emotions toward their Creator, the kind of inside-out spectacular gorgeousness that shows hurting souls a glimpse of the Almighty who offers hope, who offers peace with God through Jesus.

There's nothing more beautiful than that.







PS. Well, that's it for Beauty Rewrites. I hope you've enjoyed journeying with Christina Hubbard, Ludavia Harvey, and me through this twelve-week series. As sad as I am to say goodbye, the posts are all still available here to anyone looking to reshape their definition of true beauty.


Beauty isn't what our culture thinks it is; beauty's most important form is not outward via @novelwritergirl

4 comments:

  1. What a terrific end to a great series, Emily! Thank you for pointing us to the ultimate meaning of true beauty--our Father and Creator, Who is far more beautiful than we can dream.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for following Beauty Rewrites, Jerusha! I truly hope it was as helpful to others as it was to me. I was so pleased when I saw the schedule with this topic in the closing slot :)

      Delete
  2. Emily, your work has been tremendous! I have learned so much from you and Ludavia. You have elevated my understanding of beauty to a whole new level. Thank you x 10,000.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for banding the three of us together for this beautiful journey! It's been such an honor to be a part of such a meaningful project!

      Delete