[dc]L[/dc]ast month, I was walking in my garden and I had a bit of an epiphany: I am guilty of neglecting beauty. Before me were a whole bunch of beautiful, slender lilies. There they were growing and I had completely missed them. In the rush of life, I had forgotten the very things I find pleasure in: simple, beautiful elegance. (These lilies are in our living room…the most massive ones ever from my garden!)
Neglecting beauty is a sure-fire way to sail into the creative doldrums. All of creation shouts before us and we wonder why we’re in a creative slump? Perhaps we’re a bit distracted. I know I have plenty of good reasons and bad excuses to neglect beauty. To name a few…
Exhaustion: Just the other night, in the middle of the night, I was mopping up bucketloads of vomit from my youngest son’s dinner at a friend’s house. Tacos and chocolate milk?!*@ We now call them “choco-tacos.” Maybe I miss beauty all around me because there are days when I’m simply exhausted! Exhaustion is a sure way to miss beauty.
Overcommitment: Saying ‘yes’ when I should say ‘no,’ or at least put off for a week. Is everyone’s emergency my emergency? Overcommitment leads to neglecting beauty.
Lack of Focus: Directly tied to a lack of focus is the force-ranking of priorities. Lack of focus leads to fuzzy thinking and misplaced priorities. When these are outta whack, should I be surprised when I miss all the beauty around me?
Neglecting Priority Relationships: For me, I love hanging with my wife, my kids and close friends. These are my most important, most life-filling, most beautiful relationships I have. Quality and quantity time spent with them helps realign what truly matters to me.
I have a sneaking suspicion that when Jesus told us to “consider the lilies,” He was trying to get our attention. Most of my worries are illusions, but when I read Jesus’ words in the Gospels, I find Him telling me not to miss the beauty all around me. He is trying to reorient our lives to the beauty of His Kingdom. Everything beautiful in this life: Our loved ones. Flowers. Mountains. Oceans. Music. Art. Friends. Coffee. Wine. Chocolate. Fill in _____. In everything real and true and beautiful and good, God is trying to get our attention.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”
Questions: What are the beautiful things in this life that reinvigorate your soul and ignite your creativity? What beautiful things refresh and renew your relationship with God and others? I’d love your thoughts.