I sat on the bed, desultorily dusting the few objects I could cope with while my energetic friend breezed her way around the room, almost knocking things over in her enthusiasm to get the job done.
Our soul conversation more than made up for any lack of application on my part.
She grinned as I pointed out the family photos, recalling births, marriages and proud family moments in my life.
And we pondered on the passing of time turning me from young woman to grandma and her to wife.
Finally, she reached a set of drawers where much paraphernalia is stored.
Pulling at them one by one, I revealed their contents and why they’d sat neglected for many years.
Here lay gifts from family and friends to aid my creativity. Long before I painted pictures with words I put pencil, brush and paint to paper for another purpose.
I drew, sketched, dabbled with pastels, felt-tip pens, ink and coloured pencils, painted with water-colours.
Here lay treasure, if only I could remember how to mine for it again.
Somewhere along the way I lost my true self, and the hope of my beloved family and friends was that these things might somehow ‘restore me’ again.
The very real fear of failure kept me captive to all but creativity.
Captive to shame. Captive to deep emotional pain. Captive to the past. Captive to fear itself.
How could I risk further proof of my incapability? This would only be evidence of shame and failure once again.
So these gifts were received with a shy, watery smile, tried out briefly then placed together in this cabinet, pushed away out of sight and out of mind.
I sighed at the waste but believed it to be confirmation of my ineptitude.
Now, what to do? As I marvelled over this unexpected treasure trove I felt a pang in my heart. And a ‘What if?’
What if I actually dared myself to try again, to pick up these parts of me, dust them down and use them for the purpose they were created for?
Prior to opening and revealing the contents I would have felt it was a ‘no go’ area, a Pandora’s Box to steer well clear of.
Who knows what it would unleash? Most likely guilt and sadness.
But what if also freed up a fresh wave of hope and optimism? A desire to start again?
Maybe you have a similar drawer or space like this in your life to reclaim?
Maybe the enemy of our souls has persuaded you it’s too late, it’s time to move on?
Maybe there’s an emptiness inside where creativity seems to have died?
I thought my creativity was lost until I began expressing it writing poetry and prose on a blog, and taking snapshot images to make memory markers of my days. It feeds my soul to read, to write, to capture, to create.
So, have I picked up where I left off, brandished brushes and pottered around with paint?
Erm… not quite. This uncovering occurred a few weeks ago and I’ve been in the throes of flu for almost a month. But I am determined to make a start when energy and inspiration are there.
There have been too many years sitting by while creativity slowly died, too much time already wasted to want to waste another second.
All it takes is the ability to be willing to start over again. I’m trusting God to help me with the rest.
We can allow God to paint beauty with the ashes of our lives as we busy ourselves being creative.
The same is true for you too. As we venture forth in faith God leads and guides us into the places where we can be most effective for him and become all He intends us to be.
Sometimes He will sit and smile as we make progress; sometimes He will point out the way ahead, maybe instruct us how to add a touch here or there, and sometimes He might just hand us the brush to paint new things on the canvas of our lives.
I’ve got my metaphorical brush in my shaky hands. In time (not too long, I hope) I will wield it again and lose myself in the art of making art with my life.
Are you ready to wield yours too? Willing to become open as a child again?
Revisit the art room as eagerly as we did before we got too grown up and self-conscious. Become reacquainted with our inner selves and the expression of them.
Let’s learn to press pause on perfectionism. See beauty in all we’re still becoming.
The reassuring thing is, God still approves of us no matter what mess we make. He gives grace upon grace to start over again.
Our task is to see ourselves as already pre-approved, rest in believing we’re beloved Just As We Are. Because that’s a beautiful thing in His sight.