The sun draws us all with her warmth. Blossoms burst open on bare stems, life pouring forth too urgently to await the slower springing of leaves. Robins hop and sing, and a flash of blue disappears into a pine, gone before I can register its shape.
My heart longs to be part of this beauty, this life springing forth. I want to run and skip and stand still in wonder, dance and bow low in worship of its Creator. I want to stop and gaze until I am drawn into the heart of the One who lies behind the beauty, who calls to me through it.
Why do I resist? What holds me back from following this urgent call to be part of beauty and life? Why do I look longingly . . . and turn away, back to the books, the work, the things I consider more essential?
What voice do I heed when I turn away? I recognize its tone, this same voice that has haunted me as I’ve struggled with the decision not to take a summer course, to make space instead to listen and heal and – dare I say it? – enjoy the presence of the One who calls. It’s the voice that accuses me of missing opportunities. Of being unproductive. Irrelevant. Insignificant. This last especially. Insignificant.
And I wonder, how often is it this fear that keeps us running relentlessly? This fear that we won’t matter?
In this world where everything is counted and measured and bought, who am I if I’m not producing something that can be assessed or saved or spent? Do I matter if I’m not generating the best or tucking away the most?
Where does love fit, that uncountable devotion, love that gives for the sake of the one loved, not for how it contributes to the well-being of the giver? The kind of pouring-out love that emptied God himself, Him kneeling to cleanse our filthy feet, our filthier souls. The kind of grateful love that all in an instant emptied the entire aromatic vial, twenty or fifty or a hundred thousand dollars’ worth – a year’s wages – on Jesus’ feet. And discovered the wastefulness of love welcomed.
We fear insignificance. But is this not the paradox of the good news, that in stepping out of the need to make ourselves significant, choosing to receive the love offered and pour ourselves out at His feet, we discover that we are significant? Already. We don’t need to fight to make it true, to prove it. We receive our worth. We don’t create it.
I still. Bathe in the beauty. Tell the Creator how lovely it all is: camelias heavy with bloom, cherry blossoms opening into a haze of pink, and, today, my favorite of all, the translucent azalea petals.
I ask Him the same question. “Abba, which of all this beauty is Your favorite? The birds singing your praises? Snow-tipped peaks towering in the background? Sturdy redwoods?”
His answer comes quiet, unexpected. “You are.”
“God saw all that he had made and he loved them. And they were lovely because he loved them.
But God saved the best for last. From the beginning, God had a shining dream in his heart. He would make people to share his Forever Happiness. They would be his children, and the world would be their perfect home.
So God breathed life into Adam and Eve.
When they opened their eyes, the first thing they ever saw was God’s face.
And when God saw them he was like a new dad. ‘You look like me,’ he said. ‘You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made!’
God loved them with all of his heart. And they were lovely because he loved them.” (The Jesus Storybook Bible)
And this is why the springing of beauty in the world around calls to us so relentlessly: it awakens a long-forgotten memory of who we are, how we’re loved. This is what it cries into the deepest parts of our souls: that we’re created not only to observe beauty, nor merely to tend it, but to be part of it. For more than the most delicate flower or majestic peak, we are made for this, to welcome this pouring forth of God’s beautiful life into and through us as we live in Jesus. Of all His creatures, we are the most like Him, ones designed to most fully bear His life and fill with His beauty.
But also ones freest to choose.
Majestic Creator, open my heart to this truth. I can never be insignificant, for You have made me to be filled with You! Give me the courage to refuse to let the world define my worth or dictate my direction. I kneel at your feet as you poured yourself out at mine. May Your beauty flow through me.