Monday, February 25, 2008
I love to paint. I am not the best at it, but I enjoy it. It is freedom to me because I process things in such a visual way. When I paint, I can get my ideas out. I can free them from the jail of my mind and let them fly on the wings of canvas and paint brushes. Once they are out of my mind they can run free and be what they are without the bounds of my rational trying to fit them neatly into place. Once they are out and on a page or a canvas, I cannot turn them into anything other than what they are. I cannot reason them away or make them more subtle or even make them more wild and fun. That is what painting is for me. It is reality unbound...and even more than that it is usually God's reality unbound, because it is almost always things that he shows me or tells me that I feel I must write out or paint. In the picture above are two paintings, the one on the left I painted after I felt like God was showing me a picture of what surrender and submission look like in my life. The one on the right was a picture of a vision that a very amazing woman, Joyce, had for me a few weeks ago when we were discussing my Spiritual gifts and my passions.
Here is the reality of the painting on the Right. I have been taking a sabatical from Youth Ministry. I have been doing it now for 8 years straight and along with that I married an amazing man who happens to be a youth pastor. I was a Junior High Director for three of those eight years, and Intern for a year and a half, and a volunteer for the rest. On top of that, I also spend two and a half years studying Youth and Family ministries for two and a half years while I was the Director. I have done a great deal with the youth and I adore the youth. But I felt strongly that I was needing to take a break. The Senior girls that I have been working very closely with will leave the youth group this year, and I felt that I needed to evaluate where God wanted me next.
That is where the Sabatical came in. And I just so happened to take it during a course our church was doing on finding your Spiritual Gifts, Your personal ministry style, and your passions. I have done many things like this before, and in fact taken this course before, but this time I was in a bit of a different place. I figured out my Gifts, which were no surprise to me. They are 1. Creative Communication, 2. Shepherding, 3. Mercy, 4. Encouragement, and 5. Words of Wisdom. The problem came when I was trying to define my passions. That also happened to be the day that I sat next to Joyce and ended up getting this beautiful picture from her that I truly believe that God was giving her for me. She explained it like this...
I see you walking through this field, and it is a shepherds field, except it is in beautiful, bright colors. It is pink and orange and blue and just bright bright colors. And you are walking through the field with the wind in your hair and you are free. And as you are walking you sprinkle some encouragement here and some wisdom there and some mercy over there and as you do this, these flowers grow. And they are not just all daisies. Their are all these different colored flowers and different types of flowers and whatever you pour into grows and blooms. And you are not growing like vegetables, you are growing these strong tall flowers that bloom as you pour into them. And you pour and pour and then you move on to the next thing and pour into those seeds and they bloom too.
When I was able to capture this and paint it, there was a freedom. Truly there was an unbelievable since of freedom when Joyce gave me the vision, but beyond that, once I was able to paint it and capture it for what it was, I felt this freedom and this truth of where God wanted me to walk, and how he wanted me to live.
I still don't know what my next step is. I have been really praying through my Sabatical, and I have many different options, all of them seem amazing. But I trust that God will show me and I will continue to walk in the field that he has given me and pour and pour and pour and through me God will make some amazing things bloom!