Tuesday, November 13, 2012
My husband has an overwhelming challenge before him. He is in charge of a project that requires the purging and clean-up of a huge company warehouse. I envision it as a corporate pentagon project with rows and rows of material. There are parts that belong to numerous departments within his company, some of which are obsolete and yet some still usable and valuable.
It has been a frustrating and painful process. It is his responsibility to identify the junk that will be purged. Some of the inventory has been stored for years, and it’s difficult to find the right “owner.” So, he sets out to do just that. Once he identifies the owner, he notifies them and proceeds to tell them that his assignment requires immediate action. He gives them the opportunity to view their “stash” and to make a decision about it. He clearly informs them that if he doesn’t hear back from them by a certain date, their stuff will be gone, forever. Clearly, he pushes buttons in people he doesn’t want to.
I don’t think he is making many friends. Each piece of inventory means something to somebody, and while it is work related, it still evokes something personal in each person involved. Sounds a little like hoarding in the business world. Nevertheless, he has had to take charge and make painful decisions in order to get the job done. He has had to scrap things that have been warehoused for years. Some appear to be like new and hardly used, and others show signs of wear and deterioration. Some of the items really do need to be scraped, and others may have a new purpose someplace else, just not in the warehouse.
So it is with us. We “warehouse” so many things that we are not even aware of their existence. So what things are you holding on to that appear to be valuable but are just wasting away inside? Things that can hold you back and things that prevent the true you God created to be fulfilled? God says that we are to take off the old and put on the new. I love how The Message talks about this… “But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” Ephesians 4: 22-24.
It’s pretty clear that we are instructed to get rid of the things that hinder us. What do those things look like? For me, it’s that critical voice that is so loud that it covers up who I am, like a heavy, dusty tarp hiding a treasure. Or a voice that judges others around me, trying to make me feel bigger than what I am. It is a spirit of perfection that hovers over me with fear and insecurity, keeping me in a pattern of being unable to move into the person God designed me to be. All are killers. Those are just a few of the familiar feelings that seem to gather dust in my heart. Sounds like spiritual hoarding, and the inventory list is long.
What is in your warehouse? Are you ready to purge it? God says, “…Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2. It is time to be set free. Get quiet with God and a journal and ask him to show you the “stash” in your warehouse. Just as my husband pushed people into uncomfortable places, the Lord may do just that. If you allow yourself to be honest, those buttons can be a release that will bring freedom and growth into your life. During your quiet time, an inventory list will appear. You might be surprised at what is collecting dust inside of you. Don’t be impatient about the process. That “stuff” took years to accumulate. The transforming process could be instant, or it could take a bit of time, mixed with a lot of hard work. Either way, press into what the Lord has to offer. We don’t have to do it alone. Invite the Holy Spirit into this assignment. He will be the one who can diligently and lovingly do the purging.
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom. And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The warning was well received. My friend and fellow artist, Lisa, encouraged me to submit my artwork for a juried show. This would be my first attempt at such an endeavor. Little did she realize she was doing me a huge favor. She warned me that my work could get rejected and then she explained why. This didn’t click for me at the time, but it proved to be so helpful when I opened the email from the studio about my submission. It was a nicely worded rejection notice. I read it over once, and then a second time, carefully analyzing the wording, trying to read between the lines to find some clue that somehow stamped a grade on my work. Pass? Fail? Then I remembered Lisa’s words. She warned me that sometimes a style of work doesn’t fit the theme or the look of a show.
Did it take away the sting? Well, not initially. I did have a pity party for a few moments. Then I realized no one else was at the party so it had to end pretty quickly. The words used in the email were professionally and delicately crafted. (We artist types might be wired in ultra-sensitive ways, so I think they were mindful of that!). But I paused because I had to remember something other than Lisa’s words of caution. I had to remember where I came from. My art, that is. It’s a gift. A gift that I have been privileged to display through the work I have been creating. The world will judge it, and that is ok. When you put yourself out there, that’s going to naturally happen. I can’t control what others think of my work. What I can control is to focus on the point of my work, which is to give God the glory for it. I am confident it will come according to how He wants it to happen. I have great freedom in resting in that and I also can rejoice in that as well. I rejoice in my heart and with others who fill up my tank when they say, well done! I think the Lord says that, too.
…His lord said unto him, well done, good and faithful servant…Matthew 25:21