Support Livingwell Seed Co.'s mission - shop through this link!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Empty Shells

It always seems impossible until it’s done. — Nelson Mandela
When the announcement for an art class I had desired to take arrived only a few days prior to the start date, my first reaction was, "I can't." It had been a few years since I'd done anything more than sketches, and now, with a full-time teaching job, professional development to complete for my part-time graduate-level instructor position, housework, and time for family and a few friends, I couldn't imagine being able to add it to my calendar on such short notice. But I really, really wanted to. So, I prayed. 

In a matter of a few minutes, the tide began to turn. I started to see possibilities. The class was only a month long, which would leave me another month to complete my professional development. The household chores could be accomplished in the evening after work and on painting breaks, and family and friends could be accommodated in brief interludes. 

The next barrier was to inventory my art supplies and purchase what I didn't have. Through the blessing of the Internet, all this was accomplished in a few hours. As I settled down to start the first assignment, the delivery truck arrived with the last few colors for the palette. 

Still, I could not have been more anxious.

"I can't do this without you, Lord. I know you have brought me to this point, but I can't seem to get started. Show me how. Show me where to begin." I began to thank Him for the supplies, for the timing, for His leading, for my understanding husband, for the opportunity. Then I dipped the brush in the water. It was, after all, a class. I was taking it to learn and learning involves mistakes.

Immediately I understood. Learning, though I enjoy it now, has always been a challenge for me. If it didn't come naturally, I shied away. I had no confidence in my ability. As time went on, there were things I just had to do. And because I had to, I did. I overcame the anxiety by focusing on the one thing I had to do next, one step at a time. 

Trusting God to show me the first step in the painting assignment, and following Him to the next step, it became a time of communion with Him, of prayer for others, of worship, and of revelation. I am certain that is exactly how it was meant to be. I'm also fairly certain that this is how God has made each of us to be. Not anxious, necessarily, but needy. We don't want to be and we are inundated with messages that tell us we shouldn't be. That's the world we were born into. But, it wasn't always so. In the beginning, man needed God for everything. It was a sweet communion until the idea of self sufficiency was born. 

Personally, I'm glad to let that self sufficiency thing die. Being an empty shell is a beautiful thing. 

The finished painting - Empty Shells

Psalm 37:4-5
Take delight in the LORDand he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the LORDTrust him, and he will help you (The Living Bible).

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (New Living Translation).

Jeremiah 17:7-8
Happy are those whose trust is in the Lord, Who rely on the Lord.
They will be like trees planted by the streams, whose roots reach down to the water.
They won’t fear drought when it comes; their leaves will remain green.
They won’t be stressed in the time of drought or fail to bear fruit (Common English Bible).

John 15:5
I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing (The Voice).

Excerpt from
While it Is Called Today
a 30-day photo devotional
by Dee Marvin Emeigh