"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fearing to Fly

My soul is straining to fly. Lord, there are so many things I want to go—places I want to see—people I want to meet—changes I want in myself. I sense maia in so many places and yet it is always a shimmering reflection; I so rarely know how to grasp it and yet cannot stop trying merely for a fear of failure.

This fear comes up too often in me, Lord, yet it is not what You would have. The failure is sensing the calling—and then doing nothing. The failure is feeling the longing—and saying it doesn’t matter. There is no failure in not being perfect—in making mistakes. Lord, I believe even You, as a Man on earth, may have made mistakes, and yet that was never, not for a moment, sin. I do not sin in not knowing the way. I sin in refusing to try. Oh, Lord, you merely call me to be faithful and never to be perfect.

If You are calling me, You are equipping me to answer that call. When you called Samuel as a boy, he had to do nothing but say, yes, Lord. He did not have to change the world right at that moment. He merely had to say yes. He had to take the simple step that was right in front of him. And that was it. That was all you wanted. He just had to be faithful.

Yes, Lord.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Christ's Purity as the Bringer of Beauty

I desire beauty, and I am not ashamed. To have true beauty is to be pure.

To be pure is to be unmarred, a perfect reflector, a divine mirror held up to the face of Beauty Himself. The pure are blessed, for they see God (Matthew 5:8). As a woman, when I am held up to the face of God as a mirror and I see His face reflected back in my own soul, it is naturally a vision of purity.

Purity is often seen in terms of “do not’s” by the world and equally by the church, and this is an inexcusable tragedy. Purity is the ability to be free—so gloriously free from guilt and from fear. It allows me to rejoice in abandon—pure abandon—abandon in purity—abandon to purity—abandon made possible by purity. A glass-clear purity allows me to reflect Christ in the sacred peace of my life and to further reflect to others the beauty of their identity as holy, stunning, glorious artwork of a Master. Maia comes, and the Lord is revealed.

This revelation is striking to both those who know the Lord and those who do not. As was said in my last post, truly beautiful women bring me face-to-face with Christ. That is another reason I seek to be beautiful: so that I am a witness.

In fact, beauty—or maia—is the epitome of what witnessing is, for me. It is more than reasons, more than testimonies, more than service, though all of those are a critical foundation. As I wrote in the“Maia” page on this site, such reasons

…are the clouds and the sky and the sun. But clouds and sky and sun do not make a sunset. They do not wrench the heart and say, see, this is what you have been longing for, this is what your tears fall for, this is what your hands reach for. This is what keeps calling your name, over and over, though you know not from where the voice comes. What causes the sunset to tear at the depths of your soul with a gut-wrenching longing is the Light. It is the Light that spills and laughs and dances and swirls, it is the Light that explodes the colors and paints the clouds and touches the trees, it is the Light that turns your soul toward a land you have never seen but for which you were made. That is Magic. That is what I seek, that is what I desire, that is true joy, that is true Beauty. That is Glory.

That is what brings people to the Lord. That is the same magic I sense, sometimes, for a moment, when a corner of this world’s tapestry gets blown back in a heavenly breeze and for a moment I see the glittering treasure behind. I sense it in Narnia. I see it in a sunset. And I feel it in purity.

That is why I seek to be beautiful.

I need to feel maia.

Beauty's Flight

I want to be beautiful.

I want to have a beauty that speaks to the world about the Beauty of a Lord. So many say that this world emphasizes beauty too much, but that is wrong, and I am tired, so tired of this world that does not and never has never seen how important beauty is. The problem is not that we value beauty too much, but that we value it too little. Beauty is of the utmost importance. True beauty is the reflection of God; true beauty is the outpouring of His light; true beauty is the ultimate glory to God.

I will also not say that I will not focus on physical beauty, or that beauty is all about being “beautiful in soul.” I understand this sentiment, and I see the reasons behind it, but for me, it fragments beauty in a devastating way. A woman’s desire is to make herself physically beautiful. No matter what the church denies or what the media promises, I cannot deny I have a desperate, soul-deep desire to be Beautiful. When I start denying that, the rest of my soul and heart are affected, for I am a holistic being. When I deny my body, I have stopped being holistic, I become inauthentic, and my soul is affected—I become less beautiful on the inside.

So instead of condemning fashion and makeup, movies and modeling, I see that they understand something the church does not: that beauty is wonderful. I used to be too quick to label that “worldly” or “vain,” but instead, I see now that perhaps they are just following a wonderful desire deep within women to take care of their bodies stunningly as God’s temple. The industry fragments it from Christ’s Beauty and so they lose much of the magic and the glory within it, but that is something a Christian can bring back.

The lack of endless pursuit of beauty in the church may be why I was drawn to modeling and acting in the first place—I was drawn to beauty, as everyone is. Not all movies or pictures are beautiful; there are only a few that strike me as having maia; but those few that did spoke to me of the Beauty of Another in a way I was not being told of anywhere else. And I wanted—and want—to be a part of Beauty.

But when I am holistic—when I seek to reflect beauty as a whole woman in mind, body, emotions, spirit, and passions—something incredible happens in my life. I touch maia. Perhaps no one else sees it, perhaps there is no outward change in me, and perhaps it is merely a holy fire within my own soul, known only to myself and to my King. But I cannot know that. I cannot judge what another sees and I cannot know what vision another has been given. That is not my calling—to make others know. It is to reflect the King as I am called, it is to be faithful, and to let Him reveal to others what He will. So I seek to hold out maia; I can do no less as a Christ-follower than to be a maia-bringer.

I know that when I see such authentic, rejoicing, abandonment-filled beauty in another woman, it strikes my soul. I do not see it often, for although many may have it, it only personally touches me in a few. But when it does, I realize it is all worth it; if only one ever saw it in me, that would be enough. For when I brush up against true beauty in that woman, I am inspired, uplifted, and even sanctified. Being in her presence alone brings me into the presence of God, for she reflects His face so strongly she lifts up others in her flight.

I want to fly.