Saturday, November 29, 2008

Boxed In or Open Prairie?

Basically the story is, for the past two years or so, I'll be in church, prayer, worship, whatever and something will click in my head and I'll get an idea. Sometimes it's an idea for a painting, other times a paper collage, furniture, greeting cards, knitting, once a mural and recently blankets. When I get the idea, I'll write it on whatever I have handy. It usually ends up being on my sermon notes, which quickly fill up with more drawings than notes.

A few months ago, I decided to put them all in one place and bought a beautiful wonderful sketchbook that I love. Let's call her Ann, cause it's fun. I titled Ann "My Sketchbook" and filled it up with all these wonderous thoughts, ideas and plans, all with meticulous notes about the finished project. Then I put it away. I thought about actually doing these things, but not seriously.

Then, at the Women's Retreat with my church a few weeks ago, when I was lamenting to the Lord about how predictable, boring and busy my life is, He challenged me. I was seeing myself boxed in all around by my life situation right now and I felt a bit trapped and therefore unhappy. Over the course of that retreat, God lifted away every side to that box. He asked me a lot of "What if this or that?" questions and I began to realize, yet again, just how wide open my life options are or could be. One of things He asked me was what if I started making all the things I had dreamed about in my sketchbook?

It was amazing. I was scared and excited all at the same time. I knew it would be hard. I'm a perfectionist and when I get an idea in my head, I want it to end up just that way. However, it usually doesn't go that way! The creative process must be flexible and yielding as the project forms. One thing doesn't work, so you try another and it's ok. I try to tell myself this over and over in my head as I work.

All of my life right now, this process, handing it over to the Lord, working out the kinks, bumps, trying to answer all the questions that come up in my's overwhelming. I have the nights where I've worked 5 hours on a few different projects and nothing is panning out like I wanted it to. I also have the nights where I sit down and in 2 hours have a perfect project that I love. All in all, I'm learning to be flexible. Flexible with myself, the process and with the Lord.

He is never done changing me.

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