Beauty is Not a Waste

I have spent a lot of my life feeling that beauty was a waste. I craved it, pursued it and spent hours creating it, but it seemed indulgent rather than important. It was careless pursuit, not a critical pursuit. As I scoured thrift store for beautiful treasures I felt pangs of guilt.

img_11581

“I should be cleaning our closets, not finding another treasure.” I scolded myself.

When I took time to put on mascara and lipstick I had a nagging sense that my priorities were all wrong.

Setting the table with our “good” dishes, pretty napkins and candles was just silly if it was only the four of us at home.

My heart craved beauty but my brain disagreed.

Over the last months and years, I’ve begun to rethink my perspective on beauty. Beauty matters. Beauty is not a waste. God created a beautiful world and called it good. God made us creative. He gave us an innate sense of beauty and a desire to seek beauty.

But I have misunderstood beauty. I’ve tried to use beauty to prove my worthiness. Instead of letting beauty wash over me and fill up my soul, I used beauty as a tool to feel good enough. A perfect home, beautifully set table, delicious meal or the right shade of lipstick could never make me more or better. Misused, those things become a wall between myself and others. I am already enough. I don’t need to prove my worthiness; I’m already worthy.

When I start from a place of knowing I am worthy, beauty becomes a gift to myself and others. Beauty inspires instead of distracts. Beauty connects instead of divides. There is no need for comparison, because each of us is worthy and amazing in our own unique way.

Beauty is everywhere.

There is beauty in a sink full of dishes after a delicious meal shared with treasured friends.

There is beauty in the red lipstick kiss I leave on my son’s cheek.

img_0222

There is beauty in the way the sunshine filters through tall, dry grass as I hike the hills near our home.

There is beauty in slowing down, breathing deeply and just being.

There is beauty in two hearts truly knowing and loving each other despite the messiness of relationship.

my-tribe-lisa-leonard

There is beauty in the bravery of trying something new.

There is beauty in letting the moment be whatever it is, without trying to control it.

There is beauty in the pain of being human, the tears of a friend sharing in my pain.

There is beauty in a carefree moment of laughter and being silly.

img_1157

There is beauty in a vintage wool rug, a worn chair and a cozy blanket.

There is beauty in accepting things don’t have to be perfect.

There is beauty in an amazing thrift store find.

There is beauty in an orderly, cleaned out closet.

There is beauty in seeking out beauty and sharing it with others.

There is beauty in choosing hope, choosing joy, choosing love.

And there is so much beauty in knowing I am enough just as I am. You are enough. You are worthy. You are amazing. You deserve sunshine and good coffee.

There is beauty in knowing beauty matters. Beauty is not a waste.

18 comments

  1. Have you read: Living a Beautiful Life: Five Hundred Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty, and Joy to Every Day of Your Life by Alexandra Stoddard

    I discovered this author back in the 1980s and so wanted to “Live a Beautiful Life.” Fast forward to 2016…and now I am living a contented AND beautiful life! Plus the man I am married to now loves the beauty in our home! I am so blessed!

  2. Lisa, I want to say Thank You for the gift of your words here…your message touched my heart in a most profound way. As I was reading, I literally began weeping. Just sobbing . I’ve always, always loved creating beauty….seeking beauty; but my mind would argue with my heart. Always feeling like pursuing what brought/brings joy to my heart as something frivolous & unworthy. Your post was like a healing balm to my heart, and if I could reach through here & give you a hug I certainly would! Thank you for the true GIFT you’ve brought to me this morning.

  3. Hi Lisa,
    I try to resist reading blogs of people I do not know. Thank goodness I did not follow that thought process with you. I find so much inspiration in the postings of your family journey. Thank you for sharing your journey, struggles and joys. May Blessings follow you, Steve, David and Matthias with each new day.

    I love your jewelry and find beautiful pieces to share for several occasions. Thank you!

  4. Hi Lisa,
    Your article caught my eye and I just wanted to share with you a little about my journey to embracing my gifts and creating beauty. I have always loved sewing and making unique things, I learned to sew on a machine when I was 6 years old and this skill has served me well my whole life. I was encouraged in my art during my early years by family and friends and put in my “10,000 hours” to become a true artist. But in my adult years whenever I made an effort to really work at my art, I would get shot down by the men in my life. In each of my relationships – up until almost 6 years ago – my partners were not supportive of my dreams and would tell me that I was wasting my time, that I needed to work at a “real job” and I’d never make enough money as an artist. They didn’t understand me at my core, and I allowed myself to believe that making beautiful things was frivolous and wasteful of my time and energy. But inside I was dying and it colored my life in terrible ways. I was bullied and abused but I didn’t realize it at the time. Fast forward to 2011 and once again experiencing life changes (divorce) and I finally sought counseling, but more importantly I met my husband, who appreciated and encouraged my dreams and using my gifts. What a world of difference! Everything changed and I felt like I did when I was young and people loved what I could make for them. Beauty is as necessary to us in this life as air, shelter, water and love. What kind of world would this be without the beauty of all the creative arts? I learned to express beauty and be pleased with the work that I do because it brings joy to others and that is beautiful! It isn’t about money, though it is nice to be able to create for a living, but I’d do it either way. Thanks for addressing such an important topic. P.S. You have a beautiful soul, and a beautiful family!

  5. Hello Lisa
    Beauty is also looking at my children’s and grandchildren names every day on my bracelet!! I may not see them often, but just seeing their names bring a smile and a ray of sunshine to me! Thank you for making beauty!

  6. Lisa,

    You are a daily reminder of all that is good in the world…thank you for the gift of that, the gift of you. <3

    Blessings
    Kathy

  7. Hi Lisa. Your blog is precious and your sons sweet. Yes there is beauty all around you and I think you are an amazing artist and mom.
    I used to teach deaf kids in a multi special school and there was love all around. My memories of “my kids” I taught will be with me always. When I started they were 3 yrs old. Now they are Sooo old!! Of course they aged and I don’t. Ha ha.
    Anyway I just wanted to write to you.
    And by the way I just got my D E A R
    Silver ring and I adore it but it’s too big. TOTALLY My bad. Is it possible to size it smaller? In the meantime , take care.

    1. Hi Robin
      Thanks for your sweet words and for sharing your journey.
      Contact us at customer service at lisa leonard dot com so we can help with the ring.
      xo

  8. Lisa,
    A very good read today. ? Finding beauty in just being in the moment is precious and few. Thank you for sharing.

  9. I love reading your perspectives. I so needed this reminder to see the beauty. I’ve been getting dragged down lately dealing with Husband’s parents and their continual narcissistic abuse ( http://www.musingsofamiddlywed.com/2016/10/musing-44-my-birthday-tree-stumps-boots.html ), and I’ve been trying hard to see things to be grateful for to combat the negativity and bitterness, but it’s been weighing on me lately and dragging me down. This is such a perfect reminder of how everything has it’s beauty…those wonderful dirty dishes! Thank you so much!!!

  10. Couldn’t agree more. Since I read Staci Eldridge’s book, Captivating, I’m convinced we NEED beauty in our lives.

  11. Thank you so much for this. I also struggle with guilt in decorating and thrift shopping, etc. it made me feel joy and inspiration but also guilt. Like I should be doing more important things. I thought it was shallow and unimportant. I’ve also been slowly realizing that it’s not a bad thing. Thank you so much❤️

  12. This is the most articulate and {beautifully} written truth. It really resonated with me, as I have always considered such pursuits as time-killers, vanity, wasteful, guilty pleasures, etc., even though I love beautiful things and like how I feel when I spend time making myself “presentable” :)) God did create beautiful things for us to enjoy, and gave us the gifts to make them and seek them out. Never considered that He was endorsing our pleasure in them 🙂 thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.