Go Ahead: Why You Can Give Up on the Goal of a Beautiful Life

“I wanna buy something.”

That’s what the woman tells me. You can see that look in her eyes, looking for something lovely.

Something new and shiny and lovely, that catches the light in it’s own way.

Sometimes we want to possess lovely things — because we don’t know what love is.

“Something —- beautiful. I want something really beautiful.”

Maybe, you know — like a nicer house?

The kind of house to come home to, that looks like the amazing that is Joanna and Chip whipped it up, the kind that gets pinned as the pinnacle of Pinterest, that has soaring windows and climbing roses.

Or a thatched roof and hobbit doors and a clawfoot tub.

Or how about buying a silky new blouse? Slimming. Shimmering — just a bit.

Draping across the shoulders to make her look like a rising, like an unexpected super nova that stops the unsuspecting dead in their slack-jawed tracks. Just a bit.

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She could click through a dozen rabbit-hole sites, she could order a bit here, a bit there, and go ahead and fill a closet full of all the beautiful things. Of lovely things.

Folded stacked quilts and old, wide windowsills full of clay pots of blooming geraniums reaching for spring sun, and fireplaces full of a choir of wavering, dripping candles, and white duvets turned back and always waiting.

When you know love is about self-giving — then maybe the loveliest things are not about self-having?

“Somedays — I just want all the beautiful things. The Instagram white walls and the filtered warm light.” She’d turned, caught light of her own.

“Sometimes —- I wonder if we want a curated stream of beauty to make sense of our chaotic stream of consciousness?

And I nodded. And then a woman turned to me in a car this week and asked me what I didn’t see coming in the least.

“So what do you want your life to really be about?”

Your life is only a blink long —and then you wake up to the forever that your life chose.

We’d pulled up. She opened the car door. And I sat there, fixed and yet a kind of jarred, broken, staring out the windshield, heart unshielded. Exposed.

What do I really want? What do I want my one life to really be about?

What you most want — is what you most love.

And what you love — is what you’ll ultimately have for all eternity.

And I’m thinking:

Doubtful that you’re thinking of pretty Instagram streams when you’re standing at the river of Life flowing like a torrent of glory from the throne room of God.

Doubtful that you’re stilling hankering for a house remodel when you’re witnessing rag-tattered kids from the Kenyan slums running into the open arms of the King of Kings standing there at heaven’s gates.

Doubtful that you’re standing at the feet of Jesus, thinking you wanted more threads in your closet when you could have been about more souls in the Kingdom.

But there is no doubt:

Beautiful things can genuinely be made into meaningful things, beautiful can definitely be made into faithful things, and certainly, thank God Almighty, there is no definitive black and white line in the sand between beautiful and meaningful— but there are times when instead of trying to forcefully see the monied-beautiful as ministry-meaningful… we may be better to simply seek out the most meaningful — and see that as the most beautiful.

The most fulfilling lives seek out the meaningful — more than the beautiful.  Meaningful over beautiful. 

The most fulfilling lives actually see the meaningfulas the most beautiful.

Any craving for the beautiful — is really a craving for Jesus. And Jesus may be found in impressive houses, but He’s powerfully found with the kids pressed into rotting garbage piles, digging for a handful of food.

A tragic life is a life driven by social media likes instead of Christ-motivated loves.

Let all all the house of cards come crashing down so there can be resurrection to greater things.

Because honestly —

It would be a travesty to have a life about collecting pretty things — instead of recollecting that we were made for greater things.

You’re meant for more than collecting sea-shells.

When I light the candles on the lenten wreath, the flames waver. Let this Lent dismantle everything that isn’t about eternal things.

You were meant for greatness — and greatness is about serving greatly.

Jesus carries a cross around the wreath, around the world, around time and the cosmos and at the heart of the universe is a servant bending low, giving away His heart, never doubt this.

The candles are disappearing, melting lower, giving themselves into light.

God doesn’t call you to a convenient life — He calls you to an important life.

A life of importance isn’t found in a life of convenience.

A life of importance sees the importance of giving your life away — to the hidden and the unpopular and the children and the forgotten and knowing this will be remembered by God.

Flames flicker brave, flicker on against the dark.

The most beautiful lives — live for the most meaningful.

You weren’t meant for self-gratification. You were meant for soul greatness.

Never settle for immediate gratification – because you are called to eternal greatness.

I met a woman once who said she wanted to buy what was beautiful.

But then her soul turned around and decided to pay attention to all the broken and beautiful ways to live what is meaningful.

Her people said that she had no idea how she became, over time, more and more like light.

Like all the meaningfulness of light.

 

 

Related: 40 Day Lent/Easter wreath: our family’s best way to prepare for Easter 

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