I’ve been blessed to travel to many beautiful places. It’s actually a running joke in our house. On one occasion, about ten years ago, someone asked me if I’d ever traveled out of the States. My reply – “No, not really… just once or twice for ministry” – immediately produced an odd glance from my husband. His puzzled look got me thinking. My bad memory had caused me to forget seeing Victoria Falls, the Nile in Uganda, Hawaii, Ephesus, and the island of Mikonos!
Over the last year and a half, I’ve been to several beautiful places that taught me a new valuable lesson. Until this latest season of life, I’d been fortunate enough to visit all of these places with a sense of peace, stability, and provision. Life was good, and a beautiful location to enjoy for a few days away from the hectic pace of “good” was fantastic.
But going to those types of places with a sense of unrest, instability, and need brought a new perspective. The best hotel, the best beach, the best trip won’t take away the ache of your heart. At first glance, that might sound pretty negative… but actually it was a relief and a validation of what really is beautiful.
Beauty is knowing you’re safe.
Beauty is knowing you’re loved.
Beauty is knowing you’re valued.
Beauty is knowing you’re His.
Chris and I have always said we could take a trip to any location. We’d have a good time simply because we were together. Turns out that’s not completely true! We’ve sat in some beautiful condos overlooking stunning views… and wept.
So, what does this mean?
- Change your plans.
If your heart is hurting, a distraction – even a beautiful one – usually won’t help. Adjust your expectations and use the change of scenery to spend some time pursuing the heart of God. That’s a good investment.
- Run to the arms of your Father… where beauty is restored.
This might be through prayer, fasting, or worship music. I’ve also found journaling to be extremely helpful. Last week, one of my assignments was to rate different areas of my life and then journal about the one that bothered me the most. Spending time journaling and praying helped me see what the core of the struggle was and then to begin to pray and write out what victory could look like. Beautiful.
- Decide to bring beauty every day.
At one beautiful place last year, we had a couple visit to check in on us. The three or four hours we had with them was the beautiful part of the trip. In our “good” season, we’d have seen an appointment as an interruption to our vacation. This time, their willingness to listen, encourage, and pray reminded us that we were safe, loved, and valued, even when circumstances screamed otherwise. It only requires love and intentionality to listen, encourage, and pray. Each of us can bring beauty to every person we encounter if we’ll simply listen, encourage, and pray.