This is love -pt 3
For the past week my days have been full of tasks like priming and painting our house's exterior trim. The inside, still a mess from re-doing the kitchen cabinets, makes a claim for attention and the yard has needed care and extra watering. After being gone for 6 weeks I am re-connecting with friends and making a little progress on the to-do list. Web work is always a time zapper and that has cut a piece of the waking hours pie chart. But the thing that I have an excitement about is a new medium of creative expression for me--mosaic. I've been gathering tile, tools, glues, grout and am keeping my eye out for interesting objects. Last Saturday at half-price day at the thrift stores I had such fun finding china dishes in colors and styles that appealed to me. I have great anticipation of art pieces-to-be using my found treasure.
When I begin a new venture, think and dream about what might be and how to do it, I am working out something. There is a certain amount of steam to move forward, to confront the unknown or risk failure, but there is also an opposing force (fear, intimidation, memory of past discouragements and rejections...and so forth) that wants to keep me in check. It's important for me to be aware of what's happening and who I'm listening to so that I am working out of my own center and the "call of God" in that center.
Elizabeth O’Connor writes:
The act of creation is always a solitary one. Others can encourage us to create. They cannot create for us. The man of ten talents needs the same courage as the man of one....
When I become aware of my own gifts and give my attention to communicating what is in me—my own truth, as it were—I have the experience of growing toward wholeness.
Then she speaks of the role of the church (and her church community in particular, The Church of the Saviour, Washington, DC, who has picked up this call) and shows how vital this moving forward is:
The teaching-preaching ministry of the church is to help a person discover the gifts that he is to use in the creating of his life, in building the church of Jesus Christ, and then, finally, for his commissioning in the world so that he can be “the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12)….
from the book Eighth Day of Creation—Gifts and Creativity
I love the healing power depicted in that commissioning. When someone encourages me to use my gifts, take a risk, give it a try, go for it--she and I are both part of a larger picture of purpose. She or he is exercising an opportunity to love me by coming alongside me at a point of uncertainty and inertia. I can see a direct correlation between his loving and speaking, and my (or your) taking something from imagination to visibility. I am not just referring to art, but to any form of expression springing forth from our unique personal gifting.
Several times this week I received direct encouragement to keep plowing ahead, keep creating, keep being true to who I am. That felt like love.
This week I want to be watching and listening for opportunities to love in this way.