“We were given appetites,
not to consume the world and forget it,
but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great.
That is the unconsolable heartburn…
the lifelong disquietude of having been made in the image of God.”
Robert Farrar Capon
Dirtying myself with my paints this week has got me thinking a bit about the parallels between my personal art and faith journeys. Both narratives are wrapped up in childhood feelings of insecurity and all the ways I just ‘know’ I don’t make the mark. In many ways my art illustrates my faith journey as it reveals my flesh and yet contained in it is also the glory of my Creator’s heart towards me.
As I paint I have to choose to put aside my fears and desire to perform well and to just allow the paint to ‘be’. The process enlivens me regardless of the result. It opens up something within my heart and connects me to something larger than myself. As a chose to ignore my anxieties and believe instead in the potential within me, something restorative is released. The art I produce is far from perfect, under a professional critique it probably wouldn’t stand up, but in it there is Life.
Occasionally a piece painted is noticeably worthy and acclaimed by a few around me but for the most part, the trusting and creating is more about me than the need for any beauty to be outwardly recognised.
Each time I step out and trust I was created for something more, I am inwardly transformed… and being created into His masterpiece.
Emily Freeman has this same message (and so much more) in her book “A Million Little Ways”, reminding us we need to “turn down the volume on our inner critic and move into the world with the courage to be who we most deeply are”. She says when we do something sacred is released.
In every part of my life I am learning to live with the anticipation that something is alive and being created as I step towards the Light.
I’m linking up again with the other writers at Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Fridays (a flashmob of writers who write on a prompt). This week’s word: Listen….
“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.”
― Howard Thurman
I am currently living in the tension of wanting and waiting to hear His voice. Not only do I desire to recover direction for my life but I also long for the intimacy, beauty and adventure of life with God. I’m in a funk. I feel as if I am responding to the pulls of a careless puppeteer. My days are full of activity but my heart is restlessness and dissatisfied.
Yet all is silence.
It is tempting to believe that I need to figure this out for myself. As part of determined action I read, talk to Him and ask myself questions: What do I hope for, dream about, pray for, purpose in my heart to do for my remaining days? What are my deepest longings?
A spiritual guide suggests “attending to awe”….. And so I notice the dappled light on a leaf, a screaming child, the marks of tires in mud and as I do I listen to the smallest of whispers in my spirit, and my heart is called out to worship. For a brief glimpse I know l am alive and that my own story is interwoven with the “great Romance”. In ‘attending to awe’ I experience His love and know He has not forgotten me. In quiet and simple moments there is hope and peace. Not answers, but a deep conviction to wait and not rush to self-initiated movement and action.
Even if it looks and feels as if another pulls the strings…
even if I cannot hear Him…
I am believing in faith,
He is still in control in and through me…
And so I rest in the waiting,
attending to awe.
Late again, I’m belatedly linking up with the other writers at Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday (a flashmob of writers who, for five minutes, write on a prompt without over editing, backtracking or worrying too much about getting it “right” AND then go on to encourage others who have participated)
This week’s word: Imagine….
Wet wheels crossing …and we’re back….
With both familiar and foreign eyes I take in the warm and welcoming surroundings of our South African home. Moving across yellow floorboards I stand to look out on a garden rich in quince hedges, roses and wild olives and I wonder what it would be like to live only in this reality…..
To know no other homes, no confusion of goodbyes, splintered friendships or different time zones, to never know the complexity of my multicultural life…
I try to imagine the simplicity and slower pace such existence would allow…
…and for a brief moment the idea appeals….
Before the reality and the loss such a choice would impose, sinks in….
And so, standing quietly hand to glass pane, I give thanks – for the opportunity this life has afforded me – rich in different cultures, landscapes and friendships…
Full of tension, complexity and loss…
But always pointing me towards the need for dependency on Him as my Identity
and real place of rest.
A number of days after Friday I’m linking up again with the other writers at Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday (a flashmob of writers who write for five minutes on a prompt without over editing, backtracking or worrying too much about getting it exactly right AND then go on to encourage others who have participated)
Unable to find time and a space to write I have thought frequently about this week’s word but nothing has ‘clicked’. I’m curious about what will come onto the “paper” when I start the clock: View….
“View” I have decided, is a matter of perspective…
While we may both be looking at the same scene, the view from my window is different from your view from yours – not just due to the angle but also due to the cleanliness of the glass. In addition our personal histories and our current situations shade the way we perceive what we see. What I see as beautiful may remind you of pain. The complexities of this world and our unreliable way of looking at it mean Grace is needed.
I am not very good at living, what Dan Stone calls, “above the line”. Most of my days I interpret the world through my temporal vision. This is illustrated for me when I exercise, especially when I run. Since I don’t enjoy exercise it remains a daily challenge to keep going the distance. Interestingly when I focus on me and my legs and my breathing and the weather beating down on me, I find myself slowing, very often to a stop. In contrast, when I run in wonder of the opportunity, my environment and any people I encounter I find that reaching my goal requires so much less effort!! You would think knowing this I wouldn’t allow my mind to become self focused, but its not that easy. Insidiously the thoughts creep up and my vision for the task comes under attack.
So it is with life. Even though it may look like I am currently in a race without purpose and direction, as He gives me Grace I am able to live in the wonder and see my life with eyes of faith. And as I look beyond myself and my immediate circumstances and live knowing that He is working all things for good according to His ultimate design – my days become full of glorious possibilities.
Living with the corrected vision of life above the line, every moment in my day has the potential to be much more like an adventure than a full stop.