Accessing the Beautiful Side of Life

When you look around what do you see? Do you see the beautiful sunset or the garbage on the street? Do you see the ever-changing patterns of clouds or just the rush of traffic all around? Do you see the beautiful roses or the thorns on the stems?

It is a rare thing to not be able to find beauty somewhere. Even in the midst of what seems ugly and dull, there is beauty waiting to be found. I am reminded by the stories of people who have survived the worst of circumstances and have found beauty to feast their minds on. Corrie ten Boom in her stories of being in a concentration camp still was able to find that God loved her. Prisoners of war have told heroic stories about survival and resilience by concentrating on something of beauty. Sometimes the beauty that we find is inside of us, not on the outside.

Whether we experience life as something beautiful or as something ugly depends on where our attention is focused. Every morning when I wake up I have the opportunity to decide where I am going to place my attention for the day. Some days it is an easy thing to find the beauty in life. Other days, for no apparent reason it is more difficult.

We make the assumption that if we are surrounded by beauty we will see it and appreciate it but this is not always the case. Being aware of how you are looking at the world and what you are looking at is helpful. Unless you are aware you cannot do anything about waking up on the down side of life. You have to wake up to turn it into something brighter otherwise you become a victim to your own moods.

What do I see when I look at myself? Do I see a child of God or do I see a failure? Do I see the unique reflection of the Divine or do I find fault with every feature and body part? Do I see a person being transformed by Spirit or do I see someone who struggles to keep the right side up? I can choose to look for the beauty in myself or I can focus on everything that is ugly and imperfect.

Some days, I’ll have to admit, I find that I am better able to see that God is making progress with me than other days. Some days I am inclined to be negative. But by indulging in negative thinking whether it is about myself or about others pulls me down and limits my enjoyment of life, my ability to serve others, and closes me off from experiencing God’s love and acceptance.

We always have access to the beautiful side of life. We reach it by changing our focus. It seems such a simple thing to do to just shift our attention away from the negative and focus on the positive but in reality we have bad habits. We are in the habit of looking at the negative. Part of spiritual growth and maturity is learning to stay focused on the positive. Another way of looking at this is to focus on the promises of God.

Beauty in life is a matter of placing your attention on the right things. Next time you are pulled down by the ugly and mundane, lift your eyes to the sky and see what beauty you can find there. Next time you are berating yourself or someone else about some perceived flaw, turn your attention on how valuable you are in the eyes of God. Beauty is a choice. Choose to look on all that is lovely and uplifting and you will find yourself having a beautiful life.