Recently I was driving home from the grocery store. As I rounded the corner, I was stopped in my tracks by real beauty. I had to pull the car over because I was looking at the most amazing sunset I had ever seen in my life. It was absolutely stunning with every color you can imagine — oranges and yellows, pinks, purples, and blues. It was so incredible I just sat there in awe taking it all in. Immediately I thought: Anybody in the entire world who saw this sunset would do what I’m doing — watching with wonder and amazement. In any country, in any culture, at any age, any person on the planet would recognize the beauty of the sunset.
Why is that? Why in different cultures do we find different things to be pretty, and yet something about raw, wild beauty transcends our differences?
As I watched that sunset, it hit me. I saw it so clearly that for a brief moment it was as if I was no longer looking through the distorted mirror of our culture. I realized that real beauty begins with God. Therefore, something is beautiful because it has God’s fingerprints all over it. I couldn’t look at the brilliantly colored canvas of that evening sky without seeing the hand of the Master Artist who painted it.
If you walk through an art museum and see the beautiful paintings of the masters like Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, and Michelangelo, you wouldn’t think, I guess someone spilled a bucket of paint on that canvas. No, you would immediately recognize that it was painted by a master artist. The fingerprints of the master artist are all over it. That’s what it was like when I looked at that sunset. In all our lives there are moments when we catch a glimpse of raw, real beauty. It’s like a door that’s slightly open, allowing bright light to come through. We see a little crack of light, and for a second we remember what beautiful really is.
We remember what we were created for. We remember that the One who created that sunset also created you and me. We remember that we are beautiful. Then we forget again. We forget who created us. We forget whom we are trying to please. We forget what real beauty is.
Do you believe God sees you as beautiful? You’ll begin to feel beautiful when you start believing the truth that the Master Artist beautifully created you. Imagine a famous painter, some fiery Italian known for his impeccably high standards. Imagine the artist has been working on a particular canvas for years. The rumor around town is that this project will be his magnum opus, his great work. You know that a creative work that’s worth anything demands the artist pour himself fully into the work. You consider all the planning and effort, the sleepless nights and grueling days that have gone into this special creation.
Finally one day a child runs through the streets of town shouting, “It is finished! It is finished!” Everyone heads toward the artist’s house for the grand unveiling. But before the crowd gets a chance to see it, the artist steps back from the canvas to make his personal critique first. He stands there almost spellbound, taking in every color, every brush stroke, every nuance of shade and texture — everything.
A tear comes to his eye as his mouth breaks into a smile, and he speaks aloud only two words:
“Molto bello!” Very beautiful!
Something similar happened in Genesis when God unveiled His greatest creation. Far from a cold, distant watchmaker who turned a key and set everything in motion, God, as He is described in Genesis, is a very personal God who went to great pains to speak into existence and to fashion all that is, including us. When He was finished, He was infinitely pleased with the outcome. In fact, He was so pleased that He decided to stop. Nothing more was needed. No more tweaks or revisions. The Master Artist created you and said, “You are beautiful, my child!”
WaterBrook Press is generously giving away 5 copies of Beauty Begins — to enter, simply follow the giveaway widget instructions below. Open to US mailing addresses only.
Chris Shook is the co-author (with her husband, Kerry) of two New York Times bestsellers, One Month to Live and Be the Message. Together, they founded Fellowship of The Woodlands, now Woodlands Church, in 1993 right outside of Houston, TX. The church started in their home with a congregation of eight people, and since then, it has become a multi-site church with over 18,000 in average attendance every weekend. Megan Shook Alpha, Chris’ daughter, is a graduate of Baylor University and now works as the student missions pastor at Woodlands Church.
Mollie Coleman says
My weight keeps me from feeling beautiful. It is a battle I’ve been fighting for years and continue to dwell on everyday.
Joyce Tucker says
Sins of my past keep me from feeling beautiful.
I feel most beautiful when I’m focused on serving others.
The # on the scale keeps me from feeling beautiful. The way some jackets are tight on my arms make me feel even worse. But I’m trying to speak kindly to myself. I’m trying to change those negative thoughts.
This is a constant battle for women to believe!
My own insecurities keep me from feeling beautiful… from my weight, to how I feel about myself on the inside. It is a constant struggle.
Amy Krance-Wendt says
What keeps me from feeling beautiful are the lies I allow myself to listen to from the enemy. What makes me feel most beautiful is the Lord’s love…..when I open myself to Him, and when He shares his love through others: my friends, my husband.
It’s hard for me to look at myself sometimes in the mirror because I have gained so much weight and I don’t see what God sees.
What keeps me from feeling beautiful is my teeth. I dream of a day when I will have a beautiful smile!
Janine Garrison says
When my son says, “Mommy you are so pretty, I love you.” That makes my heart smile because he does this at random times of the day. There seems to be no pattern. I know he is becoming a kind, thoughtful young man.
Some days someone who is supposed to be by my side forever makes me feel unbeautiful.
Michelle Peden Vasquez says
When I was growing up, I was teased a lot for being “ugly”. That has been very difficult to shed and accept God’s truth.
Julie Gordon Weller says
It took a battle with breast cancer for me to finally see myself as beautiful and to be comfortable in my own skin.
:) Cheryl :) says
I think the media totally gives the wrong image of what a woman truly should look like. It makes women feel like they have to fix themselves to please others. That’s really sad isn’t it?
God created each of us to be beautiful in our own way. We shouldn’t have to “fix” ourselves to think we are beautiful. We are beautiful just as we are. We need to bring more awareness to true beauty and fight against what the world expects women to be like. We don’t need to have surgeries and beauty creams and excess makeup to be beautiful.
We are beautiful just as we are…and when we finally begin to see that, it shows we are trusting God and how He created us to be so beautiful in His eyes It’s who we are. 🙂 When we start believing we are who we are, it really releases us from that pressure to be perfect for others. So turn off that TV, ignore the bull, and let’s get working on our attitudes towards ourselves…YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL LADIES! <3 <3 <3
My low self-esteem keeps me from feeling beautiful, but when I focus on others, servings others, making others feel better, it certainly takes the focus off of me.
Celeste Smith says
I So enjoyed “One Month to Live” and look forward to adding “Beauty Begins” to my personal spiritual life for reflection and prayer. Celeste
Even though I exercise a lot, I have always struggled with my weight. Not only does it often keep me from feeling beautiful, it robs me from a lot of joy and breeds resentment in comparison.
Kim V says
Being with my family and friends always makes me feel beautiful and loved!
Corena Hall says
This appears to be a great view of creation of man in today’s language. It is a view many need to read and be reminded of since in almost every culture beauty is viewed only skin deep. It would be a pleasure to win a copy and a blessing to many teens in my life.
Comparing myself with others i what often robs me of feelings of being beautiful. I feel most beautiful when I read God’s Word and remember that I am created in His image.
Carrie Smith says
Goosebumps while reading this today – which felt as if God was helping me to feel His fingerprints on me – His beautiful creation. Thank you. 🙂
My too-tight-jeans can make me feel unlovely. However, God gives sweet reminders – a special song or Bible verse “just for me,” my husband’s touch, kindness from a stranger, and so much more.
Patsy Gazaleh says
I have had more than 18 surgeries since 3-26-12. I have Crohn’s Disease, had it diagnosed in 1982. Now in my mid 50’s, I have an Ileostomy bag. I had to move back in with my mother. I couldn’t have gotten this far without her.
My Ileostomy and chronic pain have been the hardest issues I have ever dealt with. My family, church family and friends have stood by my side, praying for and with me. I was determined that I would not let this rule my life. Boy was I wrong. It has hijacked my whole life. I finally asked Mom and my church to pray for me to accept my life as it is. Every time I changed my Ileostomy bag, it was like starting all over again and I was so angry. For almost 2 years, I fought this, angrily. But the day my whole church knelt in prayer has changed my life. The anger is gone and I have accepted my situation.
LaRae Humes says
Ultimately, it’s my sin. Sin of self.
I feel the most beautiful when loving the Lord and others well.
Cheryl Jacobo says
I have a really hard time with this!
Maralee Seeley says
How I see myself keeps me from feeling beautiful.
Trudy Den Hoed says
It’s hard for me to feel beautiful because of insecurity and past shame from abuse. I strive to see my identity in Jesus, but it often does not sink to my heart.
Intentionally Pursuing says
What makes me feel most beautiful is reading about the beauty God sees in me.
I feel the most beautiful when I smile and helping others.
I feel the most beautiful when I smile and I am friendly to others.
Tracy Grauer says
I feel beautiful when I focus on the fact that the Master Artist has His fingerprints all over me. I am a child of the King. A princess.
Rebecca Jones says
I struggled with this way too long. I was under the impression that I wasn’t receiving healing for my back because of my weight. Even well meaning people in ministry fall into their own thinking and prejudices. When you truly know the extent of His sacrifice and how deeply you are loved, if you choose to reflect Jesus, healing and beauty will come from the inside. Focus on Him, not your weight or past. Hebrews 12:2
Jenn Tanaka says
Questioning my own self worth. Comparing myself to others. Never feeling like I measure up. Looking at what I LACK instead of appreciating my BLESSINGS.
My husband’s love makes me feel beautiful.
Sherri Yoder says
I feel most beautiful when I remember Jesus’ love for me and how He created me perfectly, just the way He wanted me to be.
Chronic health problems often distract my eye from what is good and Godly in this clay pot to what has gone wrong making me feel ‘less than’ and far from beautiful
Kechell Jackson says
My insecurities about my weight keeps me from felling beautiful.
My own insecurities keep me from feeling beautiful.
natalie wilkins says
What keeps me from feeling beautiful is recognizing that my beauty comes from within. I need to always remember that I must be in line with God to recognize that beauty is His.
Robyn Goddard says
I am always in awe when I stop to think that the God who created the earth and all it’s beauty also created me. In addition, he created me for a specific purpose. Powerful and humbling thoughts.
Angela Sangalang says
I feel most beautiful when I create something: a knitted scarf, a random sketch, a poem, or dinner. So when my efforts are rebuffed by other people or deemed not good enough, it keeps me from feeling beautiful. Those are the times I hold onto grace, to God who says I don’t have to impress Him to be beautiful. I already am 🙂
I learned early in life, before I went to school for sure, that I wasn’t good enough for the standard – though I wasn’t sure what that was. My earthly father always told me what was wrong with me (in a misguided attempt to spur me on to greatness) and I have been battling that futility ever since. As my body gets older, gravity and arthritis take their toll, it is hard to find anything that God would think beautiful, but I’d like to think He is forming a beautiful soul in me at last.
I see you as beautiful Susan & hold you close in my heart & prayers.
My weight keeps me from feeling like a MASTERPIECE. And shackles my self-confidence. I know who I am on the inside, but I sometimes worry people won’t look past the outer appearance.
Sarah Johnson says
The voice inside my head always holding me back from my true potential keeps me from feeling beautiful.
Sheri Pruitt says
It is hard to feel beautiful based on everything you see on a daily basis in the media. I try to remember that God sees me as a beautiful soul.
What makes me feel most beautiful is bubbling joy from seeing God’s hand in nature and hearing birds singing and feeling the gentle breeze across my skin,