Last year about this time I had the privilege of spending the weekend with five of the most amazing women I know in a beautiful cabin in the mountains of NC. We spent the weekend shopping, eating (there are some fabulous cooks in this group, you should really be jealous) and laughing, at everything! To keep the weekend interesting our hostess asked each of us to bring an activity to do together. Great idea!
One of our group, my precious friend Pam, is a wonderful artist and on Saturday afternoon she invited us to walk in her shoes and taught us how to water color.
My first reaction was, “Oh no!” I have never been successful at making things with my hands (in fact, even my handwriting is horrible) and the truth is I don’t really enjoy it. I am also not a big fan of trying new things in front of others, especially if there is ANY possibility I won’t be good at it – embarrassment is one of my worst nightmares. But I put on my big girl panties, realized it wasn’t about me, took a deep breath and started laughing at myself before anyone else could. I committed to the process and gave it a really good try.
Admittedly my finished product was no surprise to me, it was pretty bad. I was, however, shocked at how many artists there were in the group. Several of the pictures were really good, and I mean frame-it-and-hang-it-on-the-wall good. Mine is hiding out in the bottom of my sock drawer.
After it was all said and done, I loved that experience. It gave me a window into who Pam is that I had never seen before. We’ve been friends for about 18 years and in all that time I had only seen the beautiful, finished product of her work. But that Saturday afternoon I felt invited into a very special part of her life. I had the opportunity to see her create art.
It was much messier than I imagined. Sometimes it looked like way too much water was on the paper, sometimes the colors weren’t quite right, but then she would work her brush and move some of the paint around, then she would add more color. At several points she had to stop and just let what was already on the paper dry before adding anything else. She so enjoyed the process of creating and teaching that I couldn’t help but enjoy it too.
Watching her create added so much more value to the end product. She wasn’t just trying to finish a task and check it off her to do list. She fully engaged in the process and invested herself in it. She wasn’t watching the clock, she wasn’t worried about following “10 Great Steps to Successful Water Coloring” or “How to Paint the Perfect Picture.” Her goal wasn’t even necessarily to just paint a pretty picture, it was to create something that expressed her. In fact, that’s what she said to us when she pulled out her supplies, “Come on girls! We’re going to create something. It’s what we were born to do!” I have to say, I think I agree.
Lord, work through me to create a life that brings glory to You. Help me to let my guard down and invite people in. Free me from living such a highly edited life that people only know about me and not the real me. I want to be truly known. Help me to share my messy life with others, not just the finished products. Perfection is way too elusive and extremely lonely.