In an earlier post this year titled Pondering Art as a Spiritual Practice, I contemplated communing with God through art. Since then, I have taken up drawing, primarily with graphite and colored pencil.
There is a sense of freedom I experience in creating something, particularly when I am drawing. To be clear, I am no expert on drawing. It is a new venture for me; a new habit I am trying to incorporate into my daily life.
I am still learning to draw. My sketches are still very primitive, almost child-like. My mom, a life-long artist, encourages me, saying “it’s good to have your own style.” She naturally does this with a blend of German-English and a slow Texas drawl.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.Matthew 22:37 (English Standard Version)
I am trying to carve out time each day to devote to my new found art. That’s why they call it a practice after all. It’s something you do routinely every day. I try to invite God into the situation. I say “try” because sometimes I just sit down and begin to draw, unpacking my heart, mind, and soul.
Drawing helps me release myself from the tensions of the day. It distracts my mind from the noise of the world. Drawing helps me process things weighing on my heart as well as grappling with burdens weighing on my soul. Drawing provides me with a freedom of expression. But, as a beginner, I am still learning the language much like a baby forming its first words or a toddler taking its first steps. So my expressions may appear crude and primitive to you. They do to me, too.
I am grateful for the encouragement I receive from my bride, Terri and from my Mom, Karin who has been a long-time East Texas artist. Having other people’s support when you are pursuing a new practice is pivotal, I believe, to continuing to pursue it. It helps me feel free to grow in this creative endeavor as I pursue a new way for me to worship God.
The other night, Terri and I watched an intriguing documentary on the life of Bob Ross. I swear I know his son Steven from somewhere (other than TV). The documentary titled “Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed,” is enlightening and disturbing. I recommend watching it, especially if you were a fan of Bob Ross or watched his long-running PBS program, “The Joy of Painting.”
The documentary left me with the impression that Bob Ross primarily wanted to bring some beauty into the world and share it with others. Life, as we all know, is difficult and wrought with challenges. It certainly isn’t always pretty. I think for Bob Ross painting helped him face the hardships of life with a more positive perspective.
I mentioned earlier that for me drawing is a practice that helps me express my thoughts and frees me from the bondages of stress and tensions of everyday life. In my role at work I see God work in beautiful, miraculous ways each day. But, I also see the impact of sin, the hopelessness of street life, and a lot of plain ugliness.
With a pencil in my hand and a blank drawing pad on the table in front of me, I find that I can connect with God and give Him a chance to heal my aches and pains. Drawing helps me grapple with the side effects of secondary trauma. I can seek refuge and comfort in Jesus through exercising the spiritual practice of drawing.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!Psalm 34:8 (ESV)
Do you have a creative spiritual practice that helps you maintain your sanity in an increasingly insane world?
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I pray that you find solace somehow, somewhere this week. May the peace of God be with you. Remember, as they teach in the halls of recovery, you can start the day over anytime and as often as necessary. That’s freedom. This too shall pass.
The Devotional Guy™