“Beauty deprived of its proper foils and adjuncts ceases to be enjoyed as beauty, just as light deprived of all shadows ceases to be fully appreciated as light.” – John Ruskin

I love beauty. I crave it, try to create it, and constantly capture it in my life. Physical beauty, stylish clothes, interior design, captivating pictures, artistic food presentations—everything that sparkles and shines—catches my eye.

But I’ve seen a problem with beauty. At some point, the things that are most lovely to me never fail to crumble and show signs of wear and tear. Suddenly they are not as shiny when brought into the light, aquiring scratches and growing mold…failing to consistently measure up to their beautiful requirements.  They’ve got flaws…

Flawed beauty? Is that an oxymoron? 

I always thought beauty couldn’t be broken or blemished, but I’ve begun to realize that beauty is not perfectionism. You see, beauty is supposed to be inviting, captivating, and healing. Perfectionism, however, is condemning, overpowering, and invokes jealousy. Beauty is meant to be light and cheerful. Perfectionism is by nature harsh and lifeless. Beauty lives in the hearts, eyes, and personalities of human beings. Perfectionism tries to hide feelings, character flaws, and the rawness of life.

If perfectionism is beauty, then beauty becomes un-relatable, and let’s face it—unachievable. That’s not at all what this world needs. Instead, it needs a form of beauty that embraces our brokenness, yet also shows us all we can become.

Beauty isn’t an airbrushed face, a perfect body, or a wardrobe that’s always in fashion. Rather, beauty is under-eye wrinkles from smiling often. Beauty is hands wrinkled from years of serving. Beauty is knees covered in dirt from working the earth. Beauty is wallets empty from giving, and well-worn houses from hospitality. It’s the worn out pages of a Bible. It’s cracked voices from singing so much, broken hearts from loving so many, and bruised feet from dancing so frequently. Beauty is bittersweet.

So we must learn to accept our flaws as part of the package of beauty. To be more relatable and open, and to crave a beauty that’s less than perfect—more than perfectionism ever could be. I want a beauty that points upward to the Creator, not a beauty that scares the world away by perfect façades. I want a life-giving, soul-stirring, awe-inspiring beauty that everyone in this world feels they can relate to and display. This is the true definition of beauty; the one we should all crave.

 

Photo Credit: unbeaujour.fr

 

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