Nurturing Your Walk With God
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The five-year-old little girl sat hunched over her picture. She picked up one color, without taking her eyes off the paper, she moved her hand back and forth. Dropping that crayon, she grabbed for another one, drew her bottom lip into her mouth and the color transferred from what she held in her hand to the masterpiece before her. Many times, she would bring me her picture. I made the mistake of asking her what it was … but only once.
She knew exactly what she’d created and could tell me every detail about each part of the drawing. The work of art came from her heart to her mind and out her fingers. She distinguished the beauty in her creation but her description and purpose for the drawing held the real treasure.
I’ve heard other artists and creative people talk about what they’ve designed. Often a light shines from their eyes, the passion for the project coming through as they spoke with excitement. Even at times when a picture or story hasn’t turned out quite the way they’ve planned, still a love for the process of creating wove through the energy of their words.
Masterpieces are often a mirror of the heart of the creator.
One of my favorite Bible verses says that we are God’s masterpiece. It goes on to say we’re created in His image to do what He planned ahead of time for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
God, the Creator of all things, designed you and me, individually, according to what He had in His heart then to His mind.
My young friend’s creation can’t change itself to be different than how she created it. Unfortunately, we do try to make ourselves into something God never intended. I certainly have. I’ve tried to mold myself into someone else’s expectations. Over my life I have wasted days trying to be different than I am. And I’ve worked to find purpose in places contrary to God’s plan for me.
This has ended in frustration, fear, and self-induced turmoil. I have seen it in my own life and in the lives of others. We bring on our own struggles when we try to be someone unlike our Creator made us.
Many people wonder about their own identity. We beat ourselves up over who we think we should or shouldn’t be. We shed tears over wondering why we struggle within ourselves with self-doubt or criticism. We might even wrap our identity in one thing but if that job or commitment changes, we don’t know who we are anymore.
I experienced this when health kept me from being involved in areas of ministry and touching lives in person. I believed I was what I did. I spent hours before God crying over what I couldn’t do anymore. My identity rested in doing.
My perspective had to come face-to-face with God’s.
Because we can never truly understand who we are without God’s perspective.
God has a plan for you and for me. When we focus on who He says we are rather than what we think we should be, life is much more fulfilling and purposeful. You are His masterpiece and He created you with a plan. Ask Him for His perspective and let Him lead you to be the mirror of His heart in you.
I love to bake. I create goodies for others to make them happy. And when I’m stressed, I go into the kitchen, grab a recipe, and lose myself in the process.
A new recipe popped up on my iPad for brownies. A favorite at any time. The recipe said to melt chocolate chips and butter together and while still warm, stir in the cocoa. The instructions went on to explain the process of putting the cocoa into the warm or hot mixture would help the cocoa to bloom.
I thought yeast needed to bloom. I know flowers bloom.
I didn’t know cocoa would have a richer depth of taste if it bloomed.
The writer of the recipe was correct. The taste held a fullness that would make any chocolate hater change their mind. The texture was like pudding on the taste buds. Why?
Because the cocoa bloomed. Who knew? When exposed to the heat and stirred rapidly, the cocoa dissolves and releases all those dark-flavored particles of goodness. I’ve been baking with cocoa for years and didn’t know this. Blooming increases flavor and deepens the quality of the experience of eating.
Doesn’t this apply to so many areas of life? Bulbed flowers have to be in dark places before they can bloom. Carbon has to be exposed to pressure before becoming a diamond. These are just two examples.
So why do we expect daily life to be any different? I have a wonderful hand-drawn and painted picture of a brook with rocks on its banks. The water is so clear you can see the stones through the liquid and due to the colors and brushstrokes, it’s almost possible to hear the gurgling of the stream. The words written across the picture are: “The brook would lose its song if God removed the rocks.”
I’ve witnessed the strength of a human when struggling to provide for their family, when health issues have weighted them down, and life seems unfair and storms seem to churn all around. These are the people who have stood tallest and had the most beautiful spirit.
When we allow God to use the most difficult circumstances in life to help us bloom, His beauty can shine through as we acknowledge His authority. He can take life’s most fragile moments and make us powerful witnesses to His grace and strength in and through us.
We may not enjoy the pressure, heating, or stirring needed to make us bloom. However, when we allow God to use the difficulty as He wants, others will enjoy the beauty developed through each hardship.
What causes me to bloom the brightest? Is it when the sun shines and life is good and easy? I wish life was like that but that’s not how God works.
He uses the darkest night to help us appreciate twinkling stars. God allows storms to strengthen tree roots and make flowers grow. He permits heated trials to teach us to rely on Him and learn to trust Him.
Some of the most beautiful people I know have gone through situations that would make most people run away and yet they’ve stood firm. In the process, the beauty of God grew richer each day as they remained holding on to God.
Where is God asking you to bloom today? Letting Him shine through you will allow beauty to deepen and grow. Bloom on, my friend.