I love to be around people with high integrity. It always tugs at me to do better … to stretch myself a little more. I don’t always do the right thing, unfortunately. Sometimes, I am in a mood. Or distracted. Goodness doesn’t always seem to flow out of me naturally.
Of course, there is sin in the world. There is evil and ugliness and death and destruction all around us. And it is easy to let those negative things impact my behavior. Being able to be near goodness is something that inspires and encourages me. When I am around honesty and innocence and purity, it makes me thirsty for more.
I am blessed to be living near two little bundles of goodness. They are about as near to perfect as they can be and I get to see them quite a bit! Neither one is very fussy and when they smile at me or fall asleep in my arms, it feels like goodness to me.
When I get a glimpse of beauty on Earth, I know it is from our Creator. God is beauty, honesty, goodness, and true perfection. His Word is a consistent source of encouragement for me. When my roots are in God’s Word, goodness will grow!
Find spots of goodness and beauty. Cultivate it in your life as much as you can! Some have the gift of finding the beauty in their everyday life, and some have the gift of making beauty. If we bloom where we are planted, we can inspire others with goodness and beauty.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. [Romans 12:1-2a NIV]
Even though Eccelsiastes 1:9 tells us “there is nothing new under the sun” I am seeing some things I didn’t imagine I would see in my lifetime. I know that makes me sound like an old person. I don’t feel old but I am saddened and shocked by some of the ugliness I see these days. There has always been ugly behavior and I can’t focus on it because I will get disoriented and discouraged. The patterns of this world are sad.
I am in control of what my mind feasts on. If I am looking for the ugliness, I will surely find it. And if I am looking for the beauty, I will surely find that too. I believe we will find what we look for. That critical person you know who is always looking for the wrong in the world? They will surely find it. The person who hunts for the good in every person? They will surely find what they are looking for.
If I am going to get caught dwelling, let me dwell in positive and encouraging worlds and stories and with positive and encouraging people. Some of my spots for encouragement and beauty are:
Heartwarming stories of love, sacrifice, and perseverance
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1-3
I have always been amazed at the night sky with all of the stars and their constellations. It seems to be the most amazing out in the country on a clear night with just the sliver of the moon. Although a night sky with harvest moon is stunning. Nebraska has some incredible sunrises and sunsets. I have visited quite a few places and they each offer some unique element of beauty and, yet, they all share the heavens. God’s creation is amazing: the expanse of it, the beauty of it, the coordination of it, the intricacies of it! It is amazing how no words can be spoken but how full of information the heavens are.
Hopefully, in the next couple of days, you will get a glimpse of something amazing in the heavens. Keep your eyes open! The are times I am busy or distracted and I simply do not notice what is there, right before my eyes. But when I do take the time to see, appreciate, and acknowledge the beauty that God has created, it brings comfort to me–to know that He, who can do magnificent works, cares about me. It helps me keep things in perspective.