It simply blew me away. I walked into the Church at Charlotte art Gallery and there she was…my very first oil painting named “A New Thing.” Just over a year ago I reluctantly joined a friend at Braitman’s Studio with Allison Chambers as our amazing teacher. It was a class for beginners! With fear and trepidation and plenty of doubts I went. On the first day, I had complete overload of the brain and at the end of the day left with a massive headache. It all was overwhelming because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But it wasn’t the first time that kind of experience had happened in life. Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past, I returned the next day and began applying the new things learned at the workshop. With each blank canvas confronted I began to relax and trust the “process of imperfect progress.”
You see, perfectionism is simply a thief of beauty and robber of joy.
Realizing this, and that talent is one thing but tenacity is another, I began to put “miles on the canvas” to unveil it. Who knew this would become a gospel metaphor for life? With a fresh passion, it was exhilarating to see that God really was up to something new! “Behold, I am doing a new thing” (Is. 43:19).
Being surrounded by creative people and artists is inspiring yet intimidating as well: it’s easy to feel inadequate. Recently, Eva Crawford quoted Joseph Chilton Pearce at an art workshop hosted at Church at Charlotte, “To live a creative life we must lose the fear of being wrong.”
Those words gave us all such freedom and permission to simply create and enjoy! It quieted the voice of the accuser. Painting has become a soft place to fall, a sanctuary, a refuge…and a form of worship. Mishaps that inevitably happen have shown me that if a work isn’t working, don’t fret, paint over it. It was in that process that I realized that God is painting a masterpiece with the many layers of my life too.
Some strokes are dark and looming but others are bold and beautiful. They all have meaning. Jesus, the Master Artist is continually covering, refining and fashioning our lives to bring value and texture to His beautiful display.
Local artist Marcy Gregg puts it like this, “Our life is a canvas. God is the artist, and every single layer matters. Every single layer is not wasted. He uses it all.”
So, be encouraged! Embrace new things and wait and see how He will use it to change and challenge you and ultimately move the kingdom forward.
Some may say, Well, I am not an artist. Maybe you’re not, but maybe you are a gardener, a cook, a technical wizard, a knitter, a songster…maybe you have the gift of encouragement or cleaning (I call it the gift of sparkle). Maybe you have a hidden desire to do something new, something outside your comfort zone…whatever it is, God will be there to show you the way. He will use whatever you place squarely in His hands and in His hands all things will be beautiful in their time (Ecc. 3).
One of the most famous and noted artists, Pablo Picasso said this, “Every child is an artist.” If that is true, can you imagine the possibility for us as children of God?
Our Lord sees it all. And thankfully He isn’t finished. His care and craftsmanship are for your good and for His Glory. His love for you is immeasurable and so are all the beautiful possibilities He extends to each and every one of us.
“Live creatively, friends” (Gal. 6:1, MSG)