It’s not often that I’m tempted to steal my 9 year old’s Christmas presents, but this year she received one that captured my imagination. This art kit:
|Tangle Art book cover|
I put it away, but thought “hmmm…. When she pulls this out, I may have to do it with her”. Something about the way the lines graced the page, and the intricacy of the sketches really appealed to me.
Drawing was something I enjoyed doing a lot when I was younger. Really, art projects in general. As I got older, sadly, other things have crowded it out. Everyday things, like going to college and getting a job. Emptying the dishwasher, taking care of my family, work. I’ve noted in the past few years that it’s gotten harder and harder to stop and just have fun. Sometimes that fun I'm abandoning is creating. Somehow it feels frivolous, and that I should be doing something “productive” with my time. I love to travel, and I think part of that is rooted in the desire to just get away from the everyday, to truly relax and play. My everyday life is good, it really is. But I do know that I need to do a better job of allowing myself to stop and truly enjoy relaxation. For me, becoming more serious about Sabbath rest has been a great step in this direction. Stepping away from the distractions of e-mail and Facebook once a week is eye opening. To take it a step further though, sometimes I need to make the choice to just have FUN!
Enter a sick day. Our sweet 9 year old was feeling pretty puny. She’d hit that point of being sick where you’re feeling a little better, but not well, and the boredom is creeping in. Then I remembered the art kit. Ah ha! She loves art, and sketching is something we could do together. Rather than spend the time sanitizing the house, I mentally gave myself permission to have a little fun with my kiddo, and we pulled out the kit.
As soon as my perfect, fine tipped pen hit the paper, it felt like something inside was waking up. Soon I was lost in my sketch. “I love to do this!” I remembered. I know it sounds a bit strange, but doodling tiny, intricate designs has always been something I’ve enjoyed. Here was a tutorial on how to do it!
|Tangle art sketch 1|
And then it hit me. God created me this way, to express myself like this and find enjoyment in it. Even though it may just only ever be a fun little hobby to help me relax, it connects me to Him. I’m reading the book of John as a part of my daily devotions. This morning I came across a note about lessons we can learn from John’s life. When God changes a life he does not take away personality characteristics. Instead, He puts them to effective use in His service. I’m pretty sure He can use small things, just like this. Only He knows how!
|Tangle art sketch 2|
As I’m drawing, I appreciate God's creativity, His creation and care for the tiniest details in life. One way I’ve always enjoyed worshipping Him is to think about how very complicated the natural world around us is. I look at a bush in my backyard. It’s frozen now, but in a few months buds will develop and break out in beautiful pink flowers. I could spend my entire life trying to design something of equal magnitude- a “simple” backyard plant- and never be able to rival what God created. Then I think about my yard: the grass, the trees, the varieties of flowers. I couldn’t create a single one, let alone a quarter of an acre of masterpieces that somehow wake up and work in concert to bloom in perfect timing each year. I am in awe of the design that went into just what I can view from my kitchen window. Multiply that exponentially in creation and my mind is blown. We are so, so tiny. And yet He loves us more than we can imagine.
|Flower in our backyard- Chad Olson 2014|
So for now, I’ve taken up drawing “tangles”. They help me relax. They help me have fun (and yes, last night I walked away from the dishes to draw a tangle)! They help me appreciate the God who planted a tiny seed of His creativity in me.
|"I'm lost without your creative spark in me" Photo from Rend Collective, Alyssa Luzaich|
What seed did God plant in you that you may have forgotten about? We all have different gifts! You may be looking at the Tangle Art book thinking I’m a little crazy. My brother-in-law recently encouraged the gift of music in my sister. She’s always been talented in this area. He gave her a ukelele of all things. If someone gave me a ukelele, I’d still be staring at it. But she loves it! Her family is having a blast strumming and singing along to it together. I only have to watch a little video she recorded with her daughter to know that it makes her happy. It’s helping her relax, have fun and use her God given ability in a way only she can.
So go grab your ukelele, your felt tipped pen, or whatever it is that sparks that creativity God has put in your heart and mind. If you have to blow off several layers of dust, so be it! Let Him cultivate something beautiful in you that creates joy. After all, it reflects Him!