Some seem to linger in the roses, while others, the thorns. Many are not naïve to their misfortunes, but they certainly don’t wish to be reminded of them just the same. In truth, we are all that makes the rose a rose, from scented bloom to harsh barbs. Not one of us escapes life without experiencing untold thoughts and emotions, many of which we process without sharing.

We are both outwardly living in time while living inside of ourselves at the same time. Our passage through a day, a week, a year or lifespan is carried upon our spiritual, mental and heart-led experiences. How we perceive the day is first determined by how we perceive ourselves. Circumstances fall in tow, ready to be discerned by the measure of the strength of our resolve and the measure of our faith in God and people (including ourselves).

Some live inwardly as if they are waiting for the next inevitable misfortune — hardly enjoying a calm day because they fear the winds will change and knock off some of their petals. They take their life cues from what is going on outside of their person. Yes, life directs their peace, purpose and joy.

Still, others live trusting that whatever may come, God will enable them the strength and faith to witness His hand changing the course of the seasons or changing the course of they themselves. Yes, God directs their peace, purpose and joy.

Beauty and strength are such poorly defined notions in this world. Many twist strength into being egotistical and bull-headed; attaching lustful eyes to whatever arouses their greed and masks their insecurities. Consequently, we find ourselves living in a misleading world of prideful blooms with varying sized thorns … living out superficial lives with no eternal roots.

But God has something better to offer: the good news of Jesus Christ. God wants us to live from the inside out, redeeming our souls rather than our saving our pride and prejudices. Indeed, if all our blooms fell away, God will still see us as beautiful standing before Him dressed in our thorns.

We are created in His unchanging image, not to be confused by the opinions of others (including our own changeable opinion of ourselves). “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:6). Even if the worst-case-scenario comes upon us with a battle cry, God still owns the battlefield, and He hears every cry called out to Him. Not one petal falls without His knowing. Not one.

Are we more concerned with living an attractive, popular life, holding onto a temporal sense of security, or are we more concerned with living an eternal life, held together in this temporal world by the timeless good news of Christ Jesus?

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10). Are you allowing circumstances and others to have more power than your Savior? Is there anything in your life that is stealing and killing your peace, purpose, or joy?

Crave Jesus and you will no longer crave the approval of this world. In doing so, your inner and outer lives will soon work together to glorify your Father’s will. You will be so fortified in faith that whatever you see before you will no longer control your reactions. Rather, “The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you…” (Deuteronomy 1:30). You will no longer feel the pressure to defend your life so much as you simply live it, obeying the One who holds your future in hand.

So, may you “seek peace and pursue it” beginning today, knowing you can “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 3:11, 5:7). You are eternally beautiful to the Lord.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. You can find her newly released books, “H.E.R.O. Faith” and “Bad Disciples” on Amazon. To submit feedback on SGLY, please contact news@amtrib. com.