Looking for beauty in our life stories: It takes practice

The little sign with a big message for me

Recently while browsing in a hotel gift shop, I came across a decorative sign that caught my attention. In fact it seemed to be yelling at me to give it a look. It was one of those cute wooden box signs designed to look vintage, but the message it contained was extremely current. It read. “My brain has too many tabs open.” Yep. It pegged me perfectly. I could have chosen to react by piling on more guilt and anxiety, but strangely that little sign made me stop and take a breath. A beautiful breath. And I felt a sudden sense of calm and connection. 

I tell you this story, because I am making an effort to stop and notice beautiful things. The beauty in nature. The beauty in people – some people I may not even know. The beauty in music – all kinds. Even the beauty in a small wooden sign. You see I was inspired by recent stories my pastor told at church about beauty. The definition he offered – “beauty is God revealed in the world.” It’s all around us, and it’s not only present in things like gorgeous mountain ranges or precious babies (who smell beautiful too!). Sometimes it’s simply a smile from a stranger, a look your child gives you or a moment of quiet time to pet a favorite dog (or cat – for you feline lovers). Here’s my challenge. In order to recognize that beauty God blesses us with daily, we must clear out some of the “tabs” we keep open so we are able to actually notice the beautiful things. For a person like me, who is addicted to busy-ness, that’s a genuine job to tackle. 

Here’s the best practical advice my pastor offered that I connected to immediately. It takes practice. Practice in slowing down. Practice in saying no when needed. Practice in noticing beautiful things. Practice in asking God to help me see those beautiful things amidst all the noise in our world. This was easy advice to process, since this is the same suggestion I offer clients in media training or my children when they want to improve their skills in the basketball gym or dance studio. Practice. If you want to get better at something, you must practice. So I’ve decided to practice seeing beautiful things — and hopefully notice God’s presence in the world even more. I know I need to notice it, because it helps me stay connected to Him.

I believe God is here in this crazy world, although the noise may try to hide Him, and boy, we have a lot of noise these days. It doesn’t matter how loud and messy the noise gets, He cannot be drowned out. He’s moving in this world and doing beautiful things. It’s up to me to notice it and spread His beauty and love on to others. 

So who’s with me on this “looking for beauty” journey? Let’s clear out a few “tabs” and share some beauty. #noticeHisbeauty 

Check out the sermon from Pastor Scott Heare that inspired this journey. I’d love for you to listen.

Isaiah 61: 1-3

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