I recently started dabbling in watercolor. As I cue some music on Alexa and pull up a YouTube tutorial, the process becomes an intriguing escape. The instructor I follow is silly, quirky, and just adorable. She always begins by encouraging me to raise my right hand and repeat an oath, “I promise to be kind to myself, I promise not to compare my work, and I promise to have fun.” And then we dive into mixing, swirling, and dripping colors.
The instructor also encourages me not to judge my painting too soon. I must allow the time needed for the picture to develop. As a beginner, I’m often disappointed with my first try. It always looks one-dimensional or cartoony. Only after the several layers are added that my picture takes form. The water moves. The blooms of paint drip and mix. They almost look like their forms were done with purpose. Through the process, I’ve learned the importance of blending and how a value change in color adds depth and perspective. I don’t think I’ve painted anything frame-worthy, but for an hour or so, I’ve enjoyed the process and I can see growth.
With a bit of introspection, I can relate the oath I recite to my life, especially in my prayer life.
“Dear Lord, filter the thoughts running through my head, so I will be more kind to myself. Lord, my walk with You is personal. Help me as I negotiate my challenges as I ebb and flow with others. Lord, help me not to compare my path, my blessings, or my struggles with others. And Lord, Your word promises that there is joy in the Lord, may I walk in Your promises.”
But here’s the rub. So often, as soon as I raise my prayer, I fall for the enemy’s voice of criticism, and my mind begins to swirl. Instead of spreading blooms of color and form, my thoughts are more like the water that rushes over a painting when tipped. The work is streaked and smeared and hopelessly lost. Do you struggle with this as well?
I think I enjoy painting with watercolor so much because I’m a visual learner. When I can relate an image to an object or lesson, it becomes easier to remember. I use this technique when I read God’s word. Look at what I discovered in 2 Peter 3:5 …”by the word of God the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and by water.” As Christians, we know who the artist is hovering over the masterpiece of our lives. But so often, instead of receiving His delicate brushstrokes, we tend to tip the water over, onto His work and wash away the color and value He has added. The thing about water is that it can only be directed. It is hard to control. But He can. His water never muddies our lives. He paints with living water, and it is still doing the work of creation.
God, as the artist, continues to create the masterpiece of our lives. He adds color, value, and perspective. Like my paintings, our lives may seem lacking when viewed during the process. It is only when we step away from the final touches, we can see the complete picture. Often, what we once viewed as flaws will hide within the details and become a part of a whole, full image—beauty to behold.
May I encourage you to flow with His creative process? Allow the creative God of the universe to add His unique hue to your life. To rinse His brush and add another layer so you too can bloom and grow into His beautiful masterpiece.