Sunday, February 24, 2013


"Sundown" Process. September 2012.

I have a number of canvases in what formerly was my art studio / now storage room.  All the medium sized canvases are half-finished.  All the large canvases are still shrink-wrapped.  And looking at these untouched canvases, it dawned on me how much my mindset needs adjustment.

I realized I don't paint on large canvases because I feel as though something of grand size and attention deserves a "worthy" image.  Sometimes a beautiful concept will come to mind, and I will drizzle these pencil strokes in my sketchbook.  But then I never transfer them onto the canvas, because it still doesn't feel good enough.

There.  I said it.

Sometimes I don't paint because I don't feel like I am good enough.

But God did not create me with hopes, desires and ideas, only to have them collect dust on a shelf, to be read like distant fairy tales of impossible nature.  He did not give me abilities and ambitions, only for me to bury them in the ground because I'm afraid that if I use them they might break (or break me).  He does not weigh His heart on mine or His thoughts on my mind, only for me to talk at Him than communicate with Him.

I've lived with such a fear of failure that sometimes I shut down instead of dare to try.  I'm sure that is not at all what God intended for my life when He formed me.

In the past few weeks, I've been meditating on God's intentions.  And I think about how our God - the Creator of the Universe - has plans for nations, and governments, and people groups, and galaxies.  And this very God also has a plan for this island.. And He decided to share a part of this plan with me.  In fact, He's shared parts of different plans with everyone.  Imagine!  To think that God gave me a part of His dreams because He trusts me to carry out these plans.  Some days I wish He wouldn't trust me so much.  But it's only because He loves me that much.

So why am I not stepping out?  Why do I easily talk about these hopes and dreams, without actually pursuing them?  Why do I limit myself to familiarity and comfort?  Why is my whole life shrink-wrapped and hiding behind mounds of other stuff?

Right now, I've got the canvases out, and I'm dabbling a little bit.  And I am reminded that it is okay to paint over and start again.  That I don't have to get it right the first time, or the second, but that I must paint anyway.  That I can't let my art be trapped in sketchbooks, or as concepts in my mind.  And I am reminded that His mercies are new every morning, and today is another day to get up and walk by faith.  And I am reminded that I have to - I must - be a good steward of the gifts and dreams God has given to me.

And after I finish these canvases, I can always get a new one, and keep creating, keep dreaming.
And anyway, He didn't create us merely to be good enough.  He created us for greatness.  Amene.

The LORD confides in those who fear Him...
- Psalm 25.14

"And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.  Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary.  Be strong and do the work."
- I Chronicles 28.9-10

In other news, it's still comforting to know that God enjoys speaking to me through the art process.  How did rummaging through storage resurrect the deeper issues of life?  You're funny, Abba.


currently listening: Jon Thurlow.  reminded how much I miss this...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

living free

Our environment and circumstances may have been handed to us without our consent, such as where we grew up, the relationships that surrounded our upbringing, or the type of sustenance and allowances we lived by.  Some things, we made the decision for ourselves - what type of career we pursue, what kind of friendships we pursued, what kind of lifestyle we chose.   Some of these were excellent paths, others are mistakes- stains that we try relentlessly to erase.

And all these things, as we look back at our years, cannot be changed.  However, we make the choice how to react.  Will we be full of self pity, disappointment, regret? This is our human response.  It becomes a natural response to cringe, weep, and shrink back in fear from anything that could agitate the horrifying memories of failure.

Yet, to live by the Spirit is to live apart from condemnation- self-condemnation! - and to live in freedom.  You were not meant to be a slave to regret.  You were not meant to live your life controlled by the fears of repeating the effects of weakness.  You were not meant to be paralyzed by bitterness, anger, or resentment.

You have the freedom to choose!  You have the freedom to choose joy and peace and patience, you have the choice to walk away from negativity.  Maybe you have that option to change your circumstances.  Maybe these situations cannot be changed.  And that is okay.  Your mind can change, your heart can change, your attitude can change - all by the power of God.

Why should we burden ourselves?  He means for us to live free.

The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.
- Romans 8.6

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.
- Romans 8.15


currently listening: Hillsong, A Beautiful Exchange