Thursday, August 21, 2014

And It's In You Too...


Photo: Martin Beek, Creative Commons, cc license
Photo: Rodney Campbell, Creative Commons, cc license
Yellow, black, and white goldfinches flit and dart about the sunflowers. In the mad jungle of ragtag red, orange, and yellow sunflowers, a crowd of goldfinches has moved in. With circus precision, the finches hang upside down, bobbing on the gangly stalks, thrusting hungry beaks into the flower. Limbless, their beaks strip petals, tear away the center fluff, and burrow for each seed. In tireless one-by-one fashion they duck and pull, duck and pull. A tiger tangerine and black butterfly saunters past, catching my attention out the window, and the splashes of color and audacious life woo me.

In the last two weeks I am finding myself drawn into, walking alongside, and wrestling with several authors, as I read their books. In Micha Boyett's Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer, I imagined myself picking up a coffee mug and sidling into her San Francisco flat or standing with her on California playgrounds as she studied the essence of prayer and delved into Benedictine monk disciplines. Micha pondered intimacy with God, wondering how to best walk face-to-face with God through the laundry piles, dirty dishes, and toddler tantrums of a mother's life. She asks bare naked questions to the Creator about her worth and her desire to live a grand life for God, and what that ultimately looks like. Her discoveries ring with calm peace and freedom that move me into my next book.

Emily P. Freeman's book A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live is one I am only halfway through. She tiptoes into life's passions with gentle questions, finally stripping aside any excuses, apprehensions, or hesitations from the full life God wants us to live in him. This Artist God who created crackling fire and ice, who calls the stars out by name each night, and who spins galaxies in motion, holding all things together --This is the Artist God who designed us, who crafted and molded us in unique ways, and whose perfect plan is to see us experimenting with and using the skills and passions he placed in us for his glory. And the art that splashes out of us in a million little ways isn't really about us. It is his glory and beauty reflected, refracted, and ricocheting out of us, in a million darkness-shattering ways. Emily intrigues me, calling out gentle tears. She declares that art isn't only swirled paint on canvas, or words curling up a page -- although it can be-- art is whatever brings us most fully alive and what is screaming to come out of us, the image-bearers of the Artist God.

Emily whispers, "As a fellow image bearer, I want to whisper wake up words into your spirit, where your life is joined with God's. Wake up to the life of Christ within you and see how he wants to come out. Wake up to your unique calling and live out the truth of who Christ is and who you are in him. Uncover the art you were born to make. Release the art you were made to live" (Freeman, 36).

"...You were designed to reflect the glory of God" and you were "made in the image of God for a purpose" (Freeman, 36, 37).

Yellow and black goldfinches zip past my window, alighting on the caramel and crimson flowers. There are only two of them now, bold males in black capped heads who pause to see my movements in the glass above them. The flowers sway in silence for a moment. Their art drips from them, decadent colors on tiny plum-sized birds. God's extravagance seems almost wasteful, and yet it refreshes and inspires me. Our Cosmic Artist paints with limitless colors, creating in endless ways, urging us to follow suit.


7 comments:

Ceil said...

Hi Jennifer! That book by Emily Freeman is on my list to read. I wonder if you mentioned it before? It sounds wonderful, as does the struggle for everyday holiness.
It's hard to see ourselves as cleaners, child-care givers and mystic all rolled into one, but I do think it's possible. Preferable even.
I have these yellow finches in my backyard, and I love to see them. It's a fun pop of color. God is extravagant, I agree :)
Happy Weekend,
Ceil

Betty Draper said...

Early in my walk I had to come to grips with how to be holy in the midst of my daily routine. You know,routine like, washing dishes, cleaning the toilet, mopping the floor, making meals, and the list goes on. I found the mystic in those every day things, since it was God in me helping me be joyful in those endless duties. To think He was there with me on my knees cleaning up the latest spill was a holy moment. Then to walk out side and view the clouds in the blue blue sky just made what I did more holy. The God of the universe lives within my heart that is encased within a frail body, now that is Holy. Good post. Sounds like a book I might like to read.

Brian Miller said...

i need to check out that million different ways book....there is so much to our every days that we over look...little god touches...set there to inform us...

Floyd said...

It is a shame we miss so much of the gifts that our Father has surrounded us with. We need to be reminded, even when, or maybe especially when, we're wrestling with the questions and difficulties of life. We get so caught up in our flesh... Thanks for the reminder to look around, Jennifer. There is a miracle awaiting all of our senses.

Houseofmills said...

Just ordered that book from the library...Emily Freeman. Looks good. I also have no idea who Betty Draper is, but have been enjoying reading her blogs now too. =)

Leanne Mills said...

I just ordered the book by Emily Freeman. It sounds like just the thing to share with a friend that I've been praying for...after I read it, of course. =)

Cheryl Barker said...

The artistry of God never ceases to amaze me. Love your thoughts, Jennifer, of following suit and how our art in fact reflects his artistry. May God be glorified in all!