I’m wicked excited to share with you all this new series! For a couple of years now, I’ve been captivated by the concept of beauty and what it really means to be beautiful. It can’t be just a physical thing and it can’t just mean intelligence either. This summer especially, I dove into this idea of beauty and what someone truly means when he or she calls me beautiful. What does God truly mean when he calls us beautiful?
So I have decided to interview some close friends and maybe together we can get down to the nitty-gritty of what possessing beauty really means!
The first person to kick the series off is one of my close friends, Rebecca Alves. This past summer, Becca and I went on a mission trip to Maui and stayed there for the summer interning at a local church. However, as I came back to the mainland to finish school, she flat out moved there, following God’s will for her life. Since then, God has been showing and speaking amazing things to her, including messages of beauty.
PS: Before Maui, what did you consider to be beauty/beautiful?
BA: Beauty is the song our soul sings. It translates itself into the curve of your nose, curls, freckles, the sway of your hips, the tone of your voice, and your deep belly laugh. Beauty is the resounding hum vibrating through creation. It’s the wind whistling through bamboo trees, water rushing over lava rocks and wild guava growing along the banks of waterfalls.
It’s how the sun reflects off the peak of the Chrysler Building. It’s how traffic winds down the highway in a serpentine pattern, a mechanical snake. Beauty is the hush that falls over creation as the first snow falls from dreamy gray dusk. It’s the intertwinement of languages heard at airports. It’s joyous hellos, and guilt stricken goodbyes. Beauty is the twinkle in your eyes and multicolored butterflies living in the pit of your stomach. Beauty is life born in spring, and dead flowers bound by twine that we so lovingly admire.
Beauty is strength to live a life unapologetic. Stay at home moms and childless CEO/business women are both equally beautiful. Quiet confidence is beautiful, as is the outspoken mind. Beauty is a choice. Everything holds beauty, even broken things. It’s how you view it that determines the level of beauty. Things are “made” beautiful by the choices we make.
PS: How does living in “paradise” change your view of beauty?
BA: Views are always shifting. They are in constant flow with time, circumstance and perspective. My view on beauty hasn’t changed since moving to Maui. The time I spent in Florida was spent chasing the beauty found in freedom. I’d go for long drives, my bones aching for the freedom and beauty the open road provided. Living on Maui has made that easier. I wake up with a view of West Maui Mountains from my kitchen window. I no longer need to chase “exotic” beauty; I’m fully immersed in it at all times. He’s also gifted me with His perspective on the world. I look at the world through a Heavenly lens, instead of a “Christian” one. Trust me, the two are very different.
PS: How has God changed your views on beauty?
BA: God hasn’t changed my views on beauty, but He’s made me more sensitive to it. Sometimes it hits me like a truck, it all becoming bit overwhelming. We joke on island (especially during Monday Night Worship) that we’re “too drunk to function.” He’s been teaching me to fully live a life abandoned to Him, in all things. That includes living in a child-like state of constant awe and wonder, discovering everything for the first time. I find myself sitting outside more than ever, laying out on a lawn or a beach, drinking in the starlight for hours on end. He’s teaching me to MAKE the time to stop and admire beauty that I already know is there. It’s one thing to know something, but it’s a whole other thing to acknowledge and interact with it. He’s shown me that He is IN beauty, AROUND beauty, and IS that beauty.
To be honest, since my move to Maui, the Lord has done nothing but show off. Though He hasn’t changed my views, He has shifted my response. I’m more expressive than ever. Before, something would catch my eye and I’d silently appreciate it. Or, I’d look out to the congregation during worship and simply admire their beauty. He doesn’t allow me to do that anymore. If I see a pretty hill, you can be sure I’m rolling or cartwheeling down it. When I see His people during worship, my lungs burn until I sing out what I’m witnessing: their beauty as the Father sees it.
PS: What did you consider beautiful about yourself before and now? Did some things change or are your views still the same?
BA: Physically, I’ve always loved my wild lion’s mane of curls and how my eyes are constantly twinkling with mischief. Heart wise, I find my confidence beautiful. I’m blessed to not have struggled with that growing up. But it’s because I’ve always known who I am. That beautiful confidence is rooted in my identity of who I am in Christ. That’s a fiercely beautiful realization that cannot be given or taken by anyone in this world, or the next.
Now, a few months ago I had all of my hair chopped off super short and I must admit, I felt hideous and wanted to die. It took months (and my hair is still short) but the Lord spoke tenderly to me, showing that I was still beautiful, despite my favorite thing about me being gone. I’m finally in love with my curls again, thankfully. But it was a process I don’t wish on anyone. There was plenty of realigning heart and mind—what I felt and what I knew to be Godly truths.
PS: Do you have any advice for people that may believe that they don’t have beauty?
BA: Oh yeah! Close your eyes, and find your secret place. To do that, imagine you are making your way to go see Father God. Let’s make it clear that your imagination is a GOD-CREATED thing and not “all in your head.” It’s just another way for us to communicate with Holy Spirit, so for the love of God, PLEASE embrace your imagination.
Anyways, are you walking? Running? Cartwheeling towards Jesus? Maybe you’re riding a white unicorn. It’s different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way—this is YOU and God.
Where are you? In a forest? On a beach? On a mountain? On a carousel in Central Park?
Where are you meeting Jesus?
Now that you’re in your secret place, look upon the Father. He’s SO excited to see you. He’s been waiting for you. He literally cannot contain His excitement. He wants to lovingly embrace you, so just allow Him. Now speak to him as you would to a roommate, a parent, your spouse or best friend. Just talk to Him like a normal person.
Ask Him to show you a mirror. As you look into your reflection, ask Him to describe what HE sees and point it out to you as He goes. I promise you, life won’t be the same. Do this anytime you need to be reminded of your beauty, the inside AND the outside kind. Just let Holy Spirit wreck you.
I’ve tasted and seen and I’ll never go back to living like before. Let my wild, wild beautiful life attest to His glory.
Thanks so much Becca!