How do to we find beauty in our lives?
We don't need to look far to see pain and suffering in this world.
Last week we saw the tragic loss of many many lives in the Nepalise earthquake. Only a month before a nasty cyclone hit Vanuatu which turned their lives up side down.
In the last four months twenty five innocent women have died as a result of domestic violence in Australia.
ISIS fills our news with terror. We are constantly reminded to be vigilant in regards to terrorism.
Upheaval in Baltimore.
Tragic loss of life due to recent natural disasters.
Whilst I think it is important to know what is happening in the world (we must not be completely ignorant of world events) it should not dominate our lives, it should not dwell in our minds constantly and rather than drowning in the world's misery, we need to seek out beauty and find things that are pure so we don't become overwhelmed with horrors that surround us.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things noble, whatever things just, whatever things pure, whatever things lovely, whatever things of good report, if any virtue and if anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
How do to we find beauty in our lives? It isn't as hard as you might think. It is there, but sometimes we miss it because of everything else that is going on in our lives. We need to deliberately search it out and be active in maintaining beauty in our lives.
- The first place to visit is the bible - not only is it full of beauty, the words are pure, lovely, good and perfect in every way. The bible is our guidebook to life and without it, we will drown. And remember verses such as "Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) when hearing bad news. We cannot avoid the misery and sadness of this world, but we can wrap ourselves in these comforting verses (like a blanket) and find strength and solace.
- Through prayer we will find beauty, peace, rest and joy . . . "pray without ceasing". Prayers can also give us strength and hope doing difficult times and when hearing bad news, pray and the world will look much easier to tackle.
- Nature is full of beauty, sometimes one need to look closely, otherwise it can be missed. However, it is often staring us in the face and we still don't see it - an Autumn (fall) day is full of magic, a winter's morning as the sun rises over the frosty landscape is glorious, spring flowers full of perfume, warm summer days . . . beauty all around if only we look. I like to go for a walk at lunch-time and look for beauty, it really is like medicine (but free)!!
- I don't know about you, but classical music is beautiful and will bring joy, peace, vibrances and will calm the soul when upset or distressed. I listen to classical music all day at work, I find it fills my office with beauty and makes thinking so much easier and I feel calmer as well.
- The comforting and encouraging words from friends is beautiful, not in a visual way, but they go straight to the heart and make us feel warm, loved and secure. And when a friend give a hug, it is beauty in an emotional sense and will make the weight you are carrying to much easier.
- Turning off the news and avoiding the newspapers will calm those who find the news very distressing, focus on good news, positive news that is uplifting rather than upsetting. I was very excited to hear that the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby girl, that is the sort of news I like to hear.
- Laughter throughout the day is a far better medicine for both the mind and body than sadness and tears. Find things that are funny to read or watch during the day. Share a funny story with someone or a cute picture of cat!! It is well known that laughter is good for us all, whilst bad news is quite the opposite.
- When selecting something to view on TV, look for those movies or TV shows that are inspiring, funny or leave you feeling good and warm inside.
- When selecting a novel or biography to read, look for those that are joyful and inspirational. Whilst there isn't anything wrong with reading a sad book, if you are already down and feeling sad, find something that is going to boost your morale and be of great beauty.
- Add colour to your life, I find it makes me feel so much happier, and when happier, I tend to see the beauty around me much more.
- Sing hymns when things are rough, or sing hymns at any time . . . many have beautiful and inspiring words. Read hymns can be just as good as singing them. Play hymns when driving the car.
- Visit blogs and Facebook communities that are full of beauty, that are uplifting, positive and share God's word. You will find other women who are also on the search for "whatever things are true, whatever things noble . . whatever things pure, whatever things lovely" . These places can help if you are home alone and feeling lonely and sad and need to refocus on the beauty rather than the suffering. Start your own blog or Facebook page to bring beauty to others.
- Skip the glossy magazines full of gossip and buy those that are full of pretty things, feminine, homemaking, stories that are encouraging. Look at beautiful art, I find it very uplifting and helps remove the ugly from the mind and replace it with what is lovely.
- Create a home that is peaceful to be in, so when at home, you feel much more at peace and away from the nasties of this world. Surround yourself with beauty (I am not referring to expensive but rather a home full of love and calmness). One of the reasons why I do "Art Friday" is to share beauty with others, especially those who are missing beauty due to the struggles they may be having.
- And for those who work, if possible, fill your space at work with pretty things - my office has art on the wall, happy quotes and three pot plants, these things allow me to focus on beauty during the day and it gives my working space a positive feel to it (others have commented how nice and friendly it is).
These are just a few ideas to replace the sad and miserable that is around us with beauty. There are probably many other ideas that could be added to my simple list that will make you feel so much more encouraged and full of lovely thoughts.
And remember, that whilst this world is ugly at times and so full of suffering . . we are commanded to be strong and be of good courage.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”