Above: August 2014 & April 2015
Below: September & December 2014
At the brink of 2014, I declared war on the idle process of internally vivid yet externally physical desires.
I told myself: "I will not sit and dream this year. I will finally do something about it!"
Hence the "doer > dreamer" race began.
I ran freely through green fields with beautiful flowers of all colors. It was more than anything I imagined. I felt alive, beautiful, vibrant, and radiant all at once, The ride was wild, exhilarating and full of adventures. I was running so fast I wondered if I'll ever stop.
However, as flowers are beautiful, they are temporary. The beauty that explodes in a fading moment makes them so enjoyable and valuable.
The same God who "from Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty...shines in glorious radiance" also "grew...like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground...[with] no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him" (Psalm 50:2 & Isaiah 53:2).
At the start of 2015, my life transitioned from walking in the overflow of the perfect beauty into experiencing beauty in a place I never thought was possible.
I suddenly became so aware of all things wrong and weak about me. I felt as if I was being "pouring out like a liquid offering" (Phil 2:17). Sobering reminders about my brokenness and weakness and realization of my inabilities as a human being engulfed me and tore me apart.
The Gardner entered into my heart and pruned the branches of self-ambition and self-reliance. He kissed the wounded places and touched the broken places. His persistent and unrelenting love wooed my heart into his embrace.
A realization that "we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" dawned on me like never before (2 Cor 4:7). His love lavished life over the dry, impossible soil to reveal life.
The beauty of God is present just as much in the dry grounds as much as he is in the green pastures.
While I thought I was losing my true self, He plunged me into a deeper place. He widened my view of him like never before. The change of perspective frees us to we see beauty in things we once saw as ugly and unlovable. Your awareness of Beauty increases when you begin to see Jesus in the ordinary and mundane.
What I felt was an unending valley of shadow of death was stepping into a holistic picture of his beauty.
There is a time for everything. A time to embrace, celebrate and rejoice - and a time to walk through the fire and wilderness. However, these seasons are not a reflection of our spiritual state, but our yieldedness to a relational Father.
We are so prone to judge our season or process in a single dimension. But God works in multiple dimensions we cannot yet see. For example, a valley may not just be a valley to God. Underneath the desert can be an oasis bubbling up to explode out and sprout life. The heat, tension, and dehydration may not be for the sake of "discipline" despite frustration and confusion, but for full overflowing pleasure when life comes. Until we taste the salt, we will never know the value of water. He purposely slows down our engine for new wine, grace, oil. Meanwhile, he prepares to break us out of the fire by washing us anew with his living water - and bring forth something new!
We are stepping into an unknown and unfamiliar ground. The journey is not going to look like the life of anyone who ever lived. I try to make sense of what will happen, but I constantly return to the promise in, not after, process. The understanding of a season may or may not come, but the revelation that process is the promise will free us.
From blooming flowers to hard soils, my expression of beauty is growing and maturing.
The journey is hardly over yet. It has barely begun.
Because I'm buckled up, not for a goal or change, but eternity.
I'm finally learning to breathe out my true self.
I'm finally learning to be comfortable in my own skin.
I'm finally learning to celebrate of my beauty rather than masking and hiding it.
I'm finally living out the revelation that I am fully loved in both my messes and victories.
The process is about drawing and unveiling beauty from the eternal source.
The promise is eternal Beauty himself.
He is perfect in beauty and never-ending in glory.
There is no end to his beauty and love.
It just keeps getting better, and will not stop.