My Unfinished Painting & My Unfinished Faith Race

How This Half-Done Painting Reminded Me To Keep My Eyes On The Race

This is the background of a painting I’m working on. It’s meant to be a background, a foundation, a first layer. I started this piece with unbridled excitement. It’s experimental, it’s a leap, it’s not like anything I’ve done before, and I couldn’t wait to see it finished. 

But something happened over the last couple of days, as I waited for it to be ready for the next layer. I became fond of the background. I became comfortable with it. I started to wonder if I couldn’t, maybe, just leave it the way it is.

It has a simple complexity to it. It reminds me of both the ocean and the sky depending on when I look at it. 

I like it the way it is.

Instead of excitement over the finished project, today I felt fear over losing what I have now. Even though it was ready for the next step – I left it as is.

But tonight, I turned my eyes back to the plan, back to the reason I began this painting. I started to dream again. I started to envision the next layers, to get excited about the original vision. Tomorrow, I'll start work on the next layer. 
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I have purpose in this life. A race. A mission. 

But sometimes I stop and I survey and I see how far I’ve come and I become fond of this place, this season. 

I become comfortable. 

Comfortable with my community, comfortable with my family, comfortable with my routines, comfortable with my habits. I forget the race. I forget the mission. I let fear freeze me. 

I take my eyes off of eternity and dwell on the temporal. And when my focus is here and now, the excitement is drowned in fear.

I have to turn my eyes back to the plan. I have to dream again, to envision the next layers of the journey, to get excited about the mission.

The difference between the painting and my walk with God is this painting could end up total garbage. I could hate it. I could regret the moment I turned my eyes back to the plan.

But I won’t regret turning my eyes back to eternity. I won’t regret adding layer upon layer of surrender. I won’t regret any loss or failure or pain associated with the mission. I don’t know how the finished product will look, but I know it will be a masterpiece.

As for the painting, we’ll see.

How To Find Your Way Back To God

Finding God when you’ve drifted far from Him

I grew up without much of an introduction to God.  I’d heard of Him, of course, but I didn’t know Him.  Then I found Him, or He found me, and we were tight, because “tight” is something I said a lot in those days.

And then I fell away – it’s a longish story for another time, with lots of twists and turns, lots of striving, lots of pain. 

I was lost again.

I found my way back in an instant.  Literally, it was instantaneous – I walked into a church, my old church, the church where I was baptized.  I was there for a funeral but the very second I walked in, it happened.  I remembered.

I remembered God loved me. I remembered it was an all the time – forever - no matter what - kind of love.  I remembered I didn’t have to go back up the winding path I slid down.  I didn’t have to go back through every twist, every turn.  I didn’t have to strive.

I only needed to turn toward Him.  

And as I walked through those doors to celebrate the finished life of an old friend, I also welcomed new life in my own heart.  The weight of the past six years slipped off of me and onto Him and He carried it away as if it was nothing. 

I was found again.  

Later, as I reflected on how simple it was to be found, an image/vision/whatever you’d like to call it came to me.

I was sitting in a car - lost, so far away, years and distance and mistakes and regrets away from my God.  And in my earthly way of thinking, I was sitting in this car staring ahead, wanting to return, but unsure of the way back.  

A stack of maps showing where I’d been sat beside me and I’d pull them out, one by one, trying, striving to see the way home.

And then I walked into the church building and in that moment the maps were pushed out of the way and I saw something.  It was there the whole time, a part of this car since the beginning, stitched within me in my mother’s womb.  

It was a GPS of sorts. A red escape button.  Instead of maps to follow back through the way I came, it mapped out the closest way home. And because God is outside the bounds of earth distance and earth time, because the twists and turns and slides I took did not take me any farther from His reach, because the throne of God is not protected by moats and gates and high walls – not even, anymore, by a veil – I was instantly transported.

When I pushed the red button, I was instantly in the throne room, instantly with My God, instantly where I belong, instantly home.

I wrote a song about this. About how God is just a whisper away. I’ll share it eventually I’m sure.

He is just a whisper away, a red button away, from you too.  You don’t need to search maps or strive or make your way back through the twists and turns and slides.  He is just a whisper away.

Whisper to Him.