10.18.2012

Choosing Beauty

My heart has been on quite a journey over the last two weeks. Thanks to your incredible words of encouragement {I've never felt so loved by words in my life!} along with much-needed refreshment at Captivating {a retreat in Colorado}, my heart has moved from brokenness and hiding...to freedom, forgiveness and a renewed passion to share beauty, words and life.

And yet, every time I sit down at my computer and attempt to share my renewed passion, my heart freezes up. It's as if I'm choking on the words...paralyzed by fear. How quickly the thief comes to steal and destroy {John 10:10}.

To get out from under the fear, I've asked a few people to pray for me. And I've come out to the barn on a glorious day, hoping that the beauty I see around me will stir my heart, connecting it back to God as beauty always does.


The glorious sky above our farm.

I've decided to write by faith today...faith that words and beauty are part of my calling and purpose; faith that life and goodness will come out of what I share here; faith that if God has words He wants me to share with you, He'll let them flow.

I've been thinking a lot about fear...what causes it, why it's so suffocating, and what to do about it.

So many things can cause fear in our hearts, but as it relates to this blog, my greatest fear is being misunderstood. {This happens when I make too much of what others think and too little of what God says is true about me...wanting people to know me deeply and forgetting that God does.} I wish I could write only for the Lord, trusting that He knows my heart and is honored by what I write here.


There's nothing like the disapproval of others to break your heart wide open and expose what's inside. Whether it comes through an email from someone you don't know or an off-the-cuff comment from someone you do know, my natural instinct when I have not pleased someone is to either try harder, which I've learned doesn't work, or to run and hide. {Isn't that what Adam and Eve did with their fig leaves in the Garden of Eden?} Hiding is an age-old response to shame. 

Two weeks ago, I was ready to strap on my fig leaves and run for the hills. I was ashamed of my love of beauty, fearful of writing heartfelt words and frustrated by the misunderstandings that blogging has brought my way. And it wasn't just the hurtful email, though that about snapped my heart in two.

A new friend in Franklin, who feels like a kindred spirit already, said this recently: "Had I seen your blog before we met, we might not be friends." Why? Because it's too perfect. Did she read my words? No. She just scanned the photos and made a judgement. At least she was honest.

[I'm thinking: Do I need to photograph the dirt that gets tracked through my house on a daily basis to prove I'm not perfect? Photograph mile-high piles of laundry I dread tackling? Show you the boxes I have no desire to unpack? Sorry friends, but that doesn't make my heart come alive. If the Lord urges me, I'll show it, but it's beauty that makes my soul sing.]

In a refreshing moment of authenticity, my new friend confessed her discomfort was more her issue than mine. That was a relief, but I've also had a long-time friend confess that the images I've shared of my home have led to envy and insecurity about her own home. Ugh. My spirit groans. That's the last thing I want my blog to trigger. What happened to beauty that brings LIFE? {Again, how quickly the thief comes to steal and destroy.}

Using my iPhone to capture beauty in Colorado over the weekend:




When I was at the retreat in Colorado, surrounded by flaming Aspens, snow-capped mountains and low-hanging clouds pierced by rays of sunshine, the Lord spoke loud and clear to my heart. He reminded me that beauty is His love language here on earth. His creation pours forth speech {Psalm 19:1-4}!

I was reminded of my first encounter with the living God: a stunning view from a mountain top overlooking peaceful valleys below. It took my breath away and quickened my heart. I was only 12 years old, but I knew in that moment that there someone who made all of this and wanted me to enjoy it! To this day, my heart still pitter-patters whenever I see beauty. I look for beauty everywhere and strain to capture and recreate it...just to feel closer to the heart of God.

Beauty is an extravagant, ongoing gift. It woos our hearts and unveils glimpses of glory in everyday life. It's almost as if beauty makes what is mysterious and invisible {God's glory}, visible and tangible. Without beauty, this world would be lifeless. But God chooses to lavish beauty upon us every single day so that we might enjoy life to the FULLEST!

No wonder the Enemy loves to twist and pervert beauty...to use it as a weapon that leaves us feeling ashamed, insecure, fearful, envious and inadequate. The ultimate goal of the Enemy is to steal the life God has for us {back to John 10:10}, so if beauty awakens our hearts to LIFE, it makes sense that the Enemy would twist it. Dostoevsky was onto something when he wrote these words in The Brothers Karamazov:


There's a great mystery to beauty. It awakens something in our souls that no man can adequately capture or describe. It has the potential to arouse both blessing and curse, all depending on who's voice we listen to as we take in the beauty before us.

We were MADE for beauty. Can't you feel it? To deny my love of beauty, to resist capturing, imitating and sharing it, is to resist the life that it brings. And I've decided I want LIFE. So I choose beauty! 

Even if you don't read a single word I write, I love that beauty draws you in. Feel free to skip the words and just enjoy the photographs. Your love of beauty means your heart is ALIVE! Whether you find beauty in a sunset, fall leaves, a newborn baby, your best friend, a song or a thoughtfully designed home doesn't matter. It's that you keep your eyes and heart wide open that matters!

Beauty I captured down the road: 


Everything is in focus.

The front of the field is in focus.

One reed is in focus.
{Same image as above, but with a significant shift in perspective.}
I love this shot. Just what my heart needed today!

Sweet friends, I've done a lot of talking here today. It feels good to let the words out, but one thing I learned from all of your emails and comments following my last post is that I love reading the words of your heart. I love knowing who's on the other side of this computer screen. So when you feel inspired, do the risky thing and leave a word. Lord knows I've left more than my fair share here! Do you need something to say? I'd love to know what kind of beauty makes your heart come alive!

Wishing you blessings and beauty,

P.S. Once again, the process of writing has worked the kinks out of my heart. I always pray that the words I share here will bring blessing, but even I'm the only one who is blessed here today, it was worth taking the leap of faith to share my heart again.

43 comments:

  1. That's beautiful Linsey - I'm so glad you are writing and so glad you had a nice retreat! I personally LOVE your photos of your home. I'm sorry you have been hurt but I hope you keep posting pics - I for one Love them. God bless you and have a wonderful weekend!

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  2. The pictures and your words are beautiful. I'm glad you are back.

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  3. beautiful post indeed linsey
    always a blessing actually!!

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  4. Thank you for sharing with us again-I have been checking back in on you hoping you would be back! On some level, I agree that blog photos usually only show the good, the beautiful, the easy side of life-not the real, the bad, or the ugly-however it is exactly for that reason that I am attracted to blogs. It is an escape/time out for me from my daily life-it's inspirational, beautiful, refreshing. I would be silly to think that bloggers' lives were just as perfect as their photos!

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  5. I so enjoy your beauty in words and pictures. I don't understand when other people have problems with what is on your blog. The problem is obviously with them not you. I love seeing other peoples pictures of beauty. Why would we want to see the ugly side, we have enough of that in our own home (laundry, dirty dishes, etc.) So keep sharing the beauty that I (we) love to see, and I will keep coming back to see it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Blessings, Debbie

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  6. Linsey,
    The beauty you put out there (whether in nature or your home) is what calms my soul and gives me a sense of serenity. I come to your blog to see the beauty and voice of God that you share. Thank you!

    xx, Mary Catherine

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  7. well said as always...your blog is beautiful- in words, pics, meaning and purpose. so glad you are back and i for one cant wait to see more pics of your house...i come to you as " my happy place"...god bless!

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  8. I read a post last week about how we should choose to share beauty on the web....not always vocalizing our opinions about "30 things to NOT do on a blog" "30 pet-peeves" etc....We have enough of that in real life.

    And I personally think that showing beauty on our blog is not a way of hiding REAL life....because if we're authentic, there will be "real life" posts, too. :)

    I honestly don't remember how I found your blog but I definitely enjoy reading about your move from Texas (!!!love that state!!!) to Tennessee and all it's beauty. :)

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  9. Everyday since the 5th I've checked in. This morning.......nothing. But something told me try again this evening and there it was.......your return to your unseen friends. So, so, so glad you're back. I totally want to add a hundred more so's just you get how happy I am!

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  10. Sweet Linsey -- love that you're back!! You have been given such an incredible gift of bringing joy to everyone you encounter...and this post shows your true, amazing beauty!! Exquisite beauty is a thing to be shared with the world -- never feel like you have to hold back! Always praying for you! Xo!
    P.S. Houston misses you!

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  11. HOORAY! My heart sings and delights in your return! I am so happy to see you come back, so glad you were not defeated! Rock on! :)

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  12. Linsey- I see your heart singing coming off of your retreat! Why I love your blog and your writing is not because you "have it all together" but because of your honesty and how you seek His Glory and show glimpses of it in your photos, perceptions, and insights. When I moved to Nashville, I had a really hard time transitioning. Someone told me, "Kate, fear and faith are incompatible." Giving over my fear drew me closer to Him.

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  13. It brought me such joy to see you had returned to posting this morning - your words are always beautiful, but it is your lovely spirit that shines through in everything you say and share that makes me smile. You are a blessing to others and sharing your authentic self is a gift God gave you. SO glad you're back.:)

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  14. oh, I'm so glad that you find yourself with more freedom from all that guilt and shame and trying hard to please people that most likely can't be pleased...

    grateful for the time you had in Colorado...was it a retreat with John Eldridge and his wife? You know he wrote that book Captivating....just wondering.

    Anyway, your shots are beautiful and your words are a breath of fresh air.

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  15. So happy that you are back and have found peace and comfort from God! Your photos capture the beauty - from a simple kitchen photo to pictures of God's handy work in nature. I love to see them and experience gift you have to capture the beauty. Remember, this is your blog and you need to do what you do best - share God's grace, beauty, and love. Thank you for sharing.

    May God continue to bless you!

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  16. A beautiful post to read AND view Lins! For me, absorbing beauty visually motivates me immensely. Seeing pics of your gorgeous home decor, or stylish outfits, or a piece of artwork that my child created, or seeing other cities around the world...taking in all of the beauty in this world is a luxurious gift.

    It is my belief that we creative souls have a need for visual stimulation/motivation to keep us going. Just like there are 'house people' (like us) there are non creative types who don't appreciate and/or just don't "get" or really care about interior design, fashion, travel, etc. I can see where those types must think we're all nuts sharing images of our homes and outfits with the world. Like we've talked about before, I have quite a few friends and family who have no interest in seeing my house or the slip covers I made by hand etc. We share different interests with different people in our lives and that's hard for me to reconcile sometimes (my very best friend doesn't want to talk about house decor or books but she has a keen fashion sense and loves to talk travel). To each his own and if people don't like what we put out there on our blogs then they just need to 'x' out and move on.

    xoxo~
    T

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  17. We should be real life friends....

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  18. Yeah, you're back! We would certainly be real life friends. I love beauty and I am not ashamed to say it!

    Enjoy your weekend!

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  19. You've shared all of you - the beauty, the fear(s), the hurts & hang-ups. You CHOOSE beauty for your blog theme, it blesses many, and I agree with Morning T, many just do 'not get it.' I know full well the results of "Captivating" and it seems you attended at just the right time. :) Thanking our Good Lord that He blessed you to see beauty clearly. YOU are beautiful. And, yes, so is your blog!

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  20. I've read your blog for a few months now, and I just want you to know that you have been a blessing and an inspiration to me. In reading your words I have felt relief that there are people in the world that are drawn to "beauty" in everyday occurrences, "beauty" in people, "beauty " in nature etc. There are times when I've wanted to give you a reassuring hug because I can see that you are at times misunderstood by others who don't share this perspective on life. When I start to feel like the time or money I spend on making my house a home is not worth it, I think of my family who feels the comfort of a home that is warm, safe and comfortable for them. This enriches their lives. I hope you continue to write, take pictures and share your gifts with those that appreciate them. Love You Girl!

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  21. WOW, y'all are precious! I want to reach through this computer screen and hug each of your necks! Thank you for your beautiful words. My heart is full to overflowing! Oh, happy day!

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  22. I was so happy to get your post via email! I can't tell you how happy I was to see that you are back! :) you are such an inspiration and I have only felt encouragement by reading your blog. I want you to know that I have never felt that your home was "too perfect" or felt bad about myself because of the things you share! We are our own individuals and God designed us to be different! That's the beauty of it! You possess many talents that I don't and vice versa. I'm okay with that! I gain wisdom and inspiration from your home and life experiences! Thank you for your honesty! (That's definitely "real")!
    P.S.- I wouldn't post pictures of my laundry or dirty floors either if I had a blog. That's the fun of having a blog... You photograph around it! :)

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  23. Well said!!! I love the beauty of your blog. I have enough day to day non beauty; laundry, dust bunnies, cob webs, etc. lol. Beauty inspires me to find it within my own chaos.

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  24. So learn from you sweet friend! Sounds like the conference was at a divinely appointed time for you! May you be refreshed and renewed in this beautiful fall day of the Lord's handiwork. Hugs to you!

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  25. Dear Linsey,

    You love beautiful things and do not owe anyone an apology for having a gorgeous home. If this person really was trying to help you improve, whatever would have been said in a way that made you feel loved and supported. Since it was such a devastating blow to you, I can only surmise the comment was meant to wound you. and to make you feel as bad as the person who said it. I am so glad you have forgiven and moved on. It's freeing, isn't it? And when I learned that unforgiveness blocks blessings from God, I learned to forgive immediately. What I also didn't realize is that being a forgiving person means being a happy person.

    I love beautiful things too. It's such a part of who I am, and I believe that God made me that way, just like he gives musicians a love of music. I think most people who read your blog understand that you are a sweet person who enjoys beauty. Keep doing what God made your to do, and please don't focus on any Debbie Downers. There are too many of us who want to hear what you have to say (and want to see your gorgeous house too.)

    God bless you dear friend.

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  26. LLH is back in my inbox, YEAH!
    "If you don't risk anything, you risk even more." - Erica Jong

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  27. When I come to visit your blog I always leave feeling encouraged and blessed. I see more than the beautiful home you've lovingly decorated for your family, I see and hear a child of God proclaiming her love for the Father and sharing and encouraging others.
    Blessings

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  28. I was very excited to see LLH in my inbox when I opened my email this morning. Your words are beautiful and thank you for sharing. I discovered blogging about a year ago and love following so many wonderful blogs. The reason I follow your blog is because the pictures of your beautiful house captured my attention. After a long day I enjoy sitting down with hot cup of coffee and reading your blog. Please keep on posting pictures of your new home.It's my escape. So happy you are back.

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  29. Linsey, I've been in your shoes, having been betrayed by someone I thought was my best friend, and it is painful beyond words - at the time I imagined I was having the feelings of someone who's just found out her husband has been cheating on her. I can assure you that time is a great healer, and you will not always hurt the way you do now. But, it does take time - often a long time; so, don't expect too much of yourself, and let time work it's wonderful magic. I learned some important life lessons from my experience, and you will, too.

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  30. I was going to show someone your amazing Houston house, and I just realized the link was gone from your blog. Describing your amazing house did not do it justice!!

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  31. you write so, so beautifully! i'm glad your heart is on the mend and you are back among friends!! :) xo

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  32. i was so encouraged seeing you were back! what a void your absent has been. is not His word and spending time in it the most refreshing and encouraging gift. just remember to seek to please Him not men, it's hard but you sooo bless us when you do.

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  33. Welcome back! I am grateful for your message to follow our hearts and to be guided by faith. I'm new to your site but every time I visit I am truly *inspired*.

    Bless you and keep up the great (beautiful, inspiring, uplifting) work!

    Warmly,
    Julianne

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  34. I am SO glad to hear from you! Again, I love the vulnerability you are willing to share with us. God is truly glorified in the truth, not in hiding and putting up a facade, and you are testament to that:-)

    It can be so easy to see beautiful images of your home (or others), and read about what can seem an idyllic life, and then look around our own messes and exhaustion and stress, and start comparing. But I know that is satan, who wants us to take our focus of the great blessing God is in each of our lives and doubt His plan for us. That isn't your fault, Linsey, that is our own choice. Beauty is a gift to us from God, and it is just like satan to try and pervert that gift with jealousy. Thank you for not succumbing, and continuing to delight in the great gifts God blesses us with each day. He is Beautiful, and makes this wonderful world for our enjoyment.

    Hugs! (I just emailed you some scriptures that have been on my heart for you for awhile.. hope they bless you.)

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  35. Happy to see your back in the saddle. If God created beauty and as a christian your to be Christ like, than of course we love beauty. He is the master of creativity.

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  36. I think all honest and heart felt blogger will unfortunately recieve judgement ( I have). And you are right, it does make you want to run for cover. Yes, everyone wants to see the beautiful and feel inspired and you do a fabulous job at that, but do we want to see the dirt and mistakes? Maybe a tiny bit, I share that on my blog,but that does not mean everyone should (it's a personal thing). It's a balance, a fine line, I don't know... you can't make everyone happy. When I started sharing the mistakes I make my readers where more understanding (maybe they could relate more, I don't know). I like it all from the beautiful (you do that so well), to the mistakes and dirty dishes (we all have have'em). Blog because you love it, and that clearly shows. Your readers love you...trust me I know it's hard when the ugly emails come. Keep doing your thing, you are a delight.

    Tikaa
    Green Acres Brenham.blogspot.com
    Instagram: TikaaC

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  37. Wonderful that you are back in my "virtual" life! If you only knew how much your thoughts and photos have brought such joy and inspiration during the stressful months of my life. My husband has been out of work for 8 months so to be able to escape with "beauty" has been a life saver for me. Seeing life with a half full glass always brings the soul closer to God...we all know and have lived the half empty part. Thank you, thank you from my heart for helping me keep that glass half full!

    P.S God heard our prayers, and my husband now is working.

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  38. Linsey we have never met--but you have inspired me!! I love your blog--looking at the beautiful pictures you post and the amazing way you tie in scriptures to our everyday struggles. I do recall a post where you showed all of the clothes piled up in your laundry room--I saw that and loved your blog even more. I really hope you keep writing and inspiring all of us--I would miss your blog so much!!!

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  39. ahhhh...girl:)
    love ya and He is good
    your heart is beautiful and i've always
    thought so.
    xoxo

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  40. I am so glad you chose to write again. I have been so inspired by your blog. I love looking at your pictures, but what puts the icing on the cake is how you share your heart and soul. It is inspiring to see how you love the Lord and your honesty is so refreshing. I have just moved to a new town and am struggling with some of the same issues that you are. I am praying to find a friend like you that I can share my love for the Lord with and have an honest friendship. Please pray for me!

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  41. I'm so happy that you are back!!! I love your words and your beautiful photos equally. You express beautifully my same thoughts, fears, and joys of finding beauty.

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  42. You've gotten a lot of encouragement, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to comment too! You have nothing to be ashamed of sweet sister! I love that you can share freely and honestly, and humbly about the beauty in your life. I have found that when I choose to see the beauty it takes the focus off of all the things that aren't so much. I've been reading 1000 gifts lately and wow has it convicted me to choose to see and be grateful for everything he's given me. He's a very good God, and just like a good father, He gives and takes away in our lives, but always works for our good. Jealousy from others is a symptom of their brokenness, not yours. It's truly sad when we can't celebrate His goodness to each other! I am truly "happy" for you for all the ways He has been good to you!! May we all choose to see each day all He has provided for each of us, and be truly grateful!!

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"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~ C.S. Lewis

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