Think waaaaay back……
What did you love to do when you were little?
Did you hop off the school bus and head straight for the Lego bucket?
Did you throw on a cape? Or a crown?
Did you disassemble the family appliances in order to figure out how they worked? (ahem…Ken…)
For me, it was two things that drew me back time and time again: my beloved, personified stuffed animals, and the intoxicating smell of a fresh box of crayons.
It can be pleasant to think back to the items and activities that brought us joy when we were young, but it can also be very telling about who we really are and who we were meant to be. Do you see any connections?
Are there childhood treasures that brought you joy, way down in your bones, that you have since abandoned for more “mature,” sophisticated, or… expected … activities?
The challenge to reflect on my childhood loves has proved inspiring for me over the past few years. No surprise about the stuffed animals- these spotted puppies lounging all over my living room furniture explain that first love. And the fresh box of crayons? Oh yes, still one of my favorites!
“Mommy, I want to be a professional colorer when I grow up!” I would declare, complete with carefully set up “art desk” and tiny little chair. My love for all things creative has only grown since then, although I’ve expressed that creativity in every way from designing Gospel visuals to be used for Bible Clubs to unique parenting strategies for emotionally wounded children.
But did you notice what I didn’t say when I was five years old? I never said, “Mommy, I want to be an artist.” I knew very well what that term meant, and I held it reverently. I didn’t dare touch it. Even at such a young age, I felt sure that I did not have what it takes. So I aspired to something less… impossible. Something I thought I could control.
By God’s beautiful grace, I’m growing in my understanding of deep desire under the control of my Creator’s trustworthy hand. Not desire to do my own thing, or fulfill selfish indulgences, but in being used- in ways in which God has uniquely crafted my soul– to glorify my Father. Those little-kid playtime preferences are part of how He intends me to be a light for Him, to make a difference in His world.
I just need to choose the courage.
“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” Ephesians 2:10 Amplified Bible
I love how Ephesians 2:10 refers to God as Master Craftsman- planning, designing, crafting, us, His image bearers. We are God’s poem, His masterpiece, His work of art. And why? For what purpose did He lovingly sculpt each of His beloved children? For good. For good plans He has made for us. For good plans He has made for us who then have the privilege of deflecting the world’s glory back to the only One who deserves it.
You and I were created to glorify our Maker.
Wiersbe, in his commentary on the book of Ephesians, refers to God’s promise of good works for our lives as “an amazing statement.” He continues, “Paul is not talking about ‘kismet’- an impersonal fate that controls your life no matter what you may do. He is talking about the gracious plan of a loving heavenly Father, who wills the very best for us. The will of God comes from the heart of God.”
Knowing that God has loving, pre-planned paths for good works for me to bring Him glory shines a different light on that little box of crayons. Dr. Tony Evans says, “When you realize God’s purpose for your life isn’t just about you, He will use you in a mighty way.”
Since God placed in me the desire to be an artist, then He intends for me to use that art to bring Him glory.
Rather than believing that art is a waste of time, a selfish indulgence, or a task off course, God is showing me how to value the creative process as well as the product as a tool He is indeed using. And thankfully, God specializes in making weak things strong. I don’t need to wait for a certain skill level before my art can be used by Him, used to accomplish some Kingdom purpose that I’ll likely never even know.
Ann Voskamp, in her blog post titled “When You Wonder if What You Create is Any Good,” says, “…that is why it is hard to believe our work is good. Because we don’t believe we are.” I must set my mind on Biblical truth: that I am a carefully designed, chosen, intimately well-known daughter of God, therefore what I create to glory of God is good. Because I am. Because He is.
Is there a God-given passion in your heart that you feel is too frivolous to explore? What if this uncharted desire plays a crucial role in the good works God has prepared for you to accomplish? Is it difficult for you to believe the truth of all that you are in Jesus? To believe you are God’s masterpiece who is capable of bringing Him glory through your gifts and talents? Can you choose courage, and investigate?
With Jesus, you can.
Father, Maker and King, we ask you to give us courage. Renew our minds to Your truth and let us see our value as You do- through the lens of Jesus our Rescuer. Fill our hearts so full of Your love, plus confidence in our worth, that we are free to create in each and every way You intend. Let our outpourings be worship to You. We praise You for the good, glorifying paths You planned for us long before the stars were made. Show us how to walk those paths, abiding in You for every ounce of strength. Thank You for the privilege of bringing You glory. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
I made this piece with ink and watercolor, along with a bit of colored pencil for touch up and definition. I used Sakura Micron pens in .05 and 1 for the line work, and Dr. Ph. Martin’s line of Radiant watercolor concentrates for those gorgeous, juicy colors. Keep in mind, if you are going to paint with watercolor over top of inked lines, you must use waterproof ink. The lettering on “God’s Handiwork” is a super simple way to get started in hand lettering if you’ve never given it a try. Just add a second line to one side of your letters to thicken them a bit and, voila!