Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
There’s so much ugliness in the world, it helps me to spend time thinking on the lovely things. If I don’t make sure to experience and meditate on what is still lovely in this world I can get pretty overwhelmed with all that’s so unpleasant.
Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of sadness about all the suffering in the world and simultaneously I feel an equal amount of madness about people who contribute to it. Not all suffering is the fault of other people, but a lot of it is, and when it is I get angry. I hope it’s a righteous rather than a self-righteous indignation, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Some would say that I appear to be obsessed in my sadness and anger, and though I try not to be, sometimes I think they’re right.
On “whatsoever things are lovely,” 19th century commentator Albert Barnes wrote: “A Christian should not be sour, crabby, or irritable in his temper – for nothing tends so much to injure the cause of religion as a temper always chafed; a brow morose and stern; an eye that is severe and unkind, and a disposition to find fault with everything. A sour and crabby temper in a professor of religion will undo all the good that he attempts to do.” Lord, help me!
Thankfully, he is helping me and I’m finding a fair amount, if not an intermittent sense of relief in beauty, enjoying what is “lovely.” My favorite sources of therapeutic beauty in this world of ugliness are hanging out with my granddaughters, experiencing creation, and listening to music.
Playing with these two precious little girls reminds me to be simple, and that not everything in life has to be all complicated and confusing. Walking among the ancient redwoods which live and breathe a mere 100 yards from my front door refreshes my anguished soul and speaks of the Creator’s eye for ageless beauty. And last but not least, music washes over my anxious mind like a waterfall on a sweltering day.
The sources of beauty that serve as a tonic to your soul might be other things entirely. Visual art, dance, poetry, literature…? Whatever it is that replenishes your joy in God and in humanity, take time to meditate on and expose yourself to it and see if it doesn’t right your flight for the rest of the day.
[See some other thoughts on “Things to Think”: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure…]
Stay tuned for “whatever is admirable”…
6 Replies to “Bask in Beauty”
Sorry if this is a repost- but I’m not adept at using this app.
This post is an answer to prayer. I stopped reading all your posts because of the tone. Then when I saw the subject matter of this post, I wanted to read it and it is a blessing. We have such a exceedingly beautiful and magnificent Father, the ugliness here makes us long for His Presence more and He delights to dwell with us and spreads His Presence over us, shielding us from the ugliness as with a cloak of beauty or wings of love. The ugliness drives us to his arms where he wants us to be. I loved the quote you shared from Albert Barnes.
Thank you again, for this! Love, JoAnn
I’m glad this post ministered to you, JoAnn. Blessings.
What is replenishing my joy in god and humanity For me right now is Tozer’s knowledge of the holy. The sublime mystery of god, my place in the cosmos (I am known)! A rekindled trust in Christian theology as restorative. All things are redeemable. these things are beautiful
Our mutual old friend and Mary’s former pastor, Larry Briney once said that The Knowledge of the Holy was his favorite book besides the Bible. It’s one of mine as well! One of my favorite quotes from it is: “All of God does all that God does.”