Discovering The Truth About Beauty

Beauty has transformative power. I believe this with my whole heart, but I didn’t always. For the longest time, THE longest time, I thought that knowing, accepting, and especially embracing my beauty personally would keep me from humility. I knew and believed that God had created me “very good” in His image and likeness, except I did not accept my beauty myself. Looking back, I realize I must have thought beauty was merely the feeling of “I look good and I am good” which I was tirelessly striving for, whether I acknowledged it or not. When in reality beauty is an innate truth. Akin to love, I believe beauty is a choice. It is always present, but it is in choosing to invest in it that we reap the fullest rewards it has to offer us, this world, and those around us. For years, I struggled to even recognize that I am beautiful and that beauty exists within me. Once I did, I did all that I could to not recognize it out of fear of vanity. If others complimented me in anyway I would either deny it or say thank you and quickly move on. This did not do any good for my soul; in fact, it did it harm.

This is where I was at when I came on to Initial Training with NET Australia 2019. When the deeply beautiful women that surrounded me during this time complimented me, it hit different. These women each knew, personally, the powerful love and beauty of Jesus, allowing it to manifest in their own hearts. Sharing our hearts with each other in conversation made this very clear. It truly was Jesus himself complimenting me through the words of these women. The way it hit me made me stop to reflect on why my thoughts on my own beauty were the way they were. I slowed down and, through prayer, recognized how beauty that surrounds me; sunsets, other women, landscapes, etc.; draws me to awe and wonder of God’s goodness and beauty. Leading me to unravel understandings of how rejecting the beauty that God has given me as a gift is depriving others of this encounter with true, good beauty who is Jesus. The women that surrounded me may not even know that simply through who they are and how they confidently embrace their God given beauty, whether it be boldly or quietly, transformed my heart to the freedom of knowing this is what my heart too was made for.

I felt complete freedom in vulnerability with my sisters. Without them, I don’t think I could have gone to the places I did in my heart. I have four sisters and amazing girlfriends back home that I would say I was very close with. So, it is so crazy to me that God chose two specific women to journey with me throughout the whole year who did not know me at all and with whom I didn’t naturally click with. We are all so different from each other in so many aspects, but God used the differences in our hearts to reach us in ways we each so desperately needed. We fought for each other day in and day out. Even with the most difficult, or what felt awkward things to share, we went there and led each other to Jesus more closely in those areas. When Jesus was asking me to see and share the beauty He has given me, my sisters creating a safe place to share and encouraging me to this place were that extra nudge that made it actually happen.

It was a journey from there, after years of pushing down any affirming thoughts of myself it was very difficult to accept the gifts of goodness and beauty that make up who I am. Through prayer and a sisterhood who fought for my good amidst all the ups and downs, I eventually came to conviction that I am good and beautiful and that I can give, inspire, and create good and beautiful things. I continue to encourage myself to never stop pursuing truth, goodness, and beauty, because it still does not come easily. In every way that I do, Jesus is before, behind, and all through affirming who I am and what I have to give. Knowing how powerful truly good beauty is, I could not stop there. I believe God has given me a gift that is not for me to keep to myself, but to be boldly embraced as a witness to the beauty that He desires to fill our hearts, minds, and world with. This gift is beauty, now specifically through watercolour painting. Throughout year 11 and 12, I taught myself watercolour, thoroughly enjoyed it, and painted almost every day. Always hesitant to declare the work I did as good or beautiful I turned to others to first affirm my work so that I could know it was good. From the start I knew I wanted to use this gift to glorify God, but I didn’t exactly know how. I started by painted around heaps of different scripture verses and saint quotes. Through coming to know the power of beauty I realized I wanted to capture and re-create the beauty God has so generously placed all around us to draw others to be in awe and to ponder beauty, leading them to God without them maybe even realizing it. Jesus desires open hearts and I believe He is asking me to give Him some space in the hearts of others by drawing them to beauty. During my year with NET, I realized all of this through prayer and was inspired by St. John Paul II’s “Letter to Artists.” Lastly, you know how it’s difficult for me to see myself or what I do as good and beautiful? Well, I continue to persevere in prayer asking God for eyes to see and a heart to accept. One day, just a few months ago I was working on a commission piece, finished, looked at it and thought “woah, I’m good.” With this came so much joy, peace, and freedom. This experience with beauty lead me deeper in prayer reflecting on how real it is that God says that I am good. Experiences like these are what I desire God to use me for, and I truly believe He desires to use me for, in the hearts of myself and others through sharing and selling my art.

Jesus desires to encounter us always, no matter if we’ve never met Him before or if we meet Him in every moment. He chooses the beauty I behold and the art I create as an avenue to enter into my own heart and the hearts of others to encounter His transformative beauty, perfect love, freeing peace, and everlasting joy. You are chosen uniquely by the Father’s heart for a specific reason. I encourage you to first ponder how you see yourself and compare it to the truth of your beauty. Have a look at your struggles, your joys, and your gifts asking the Father where and how He wants you to use them.

Gabrielle Osborne

NET Alumni | Iona Team 2019

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