My 40 days and nights of wandering and wondering
I’ve wandered the desert for my forty days and forty nights. It seemed like a breeze for the most part. Then again, I had no idea what to expect.
Maybe some big epiphanies… Maybe I would feel closer to God than ever before… Maybe God would work more miracles in my life… Maybe He would establish my plans…
It turned out to be a subtle changing or growing, with some steps backward and needing correction. One that I am just now beginning to see how it was at work. One that I was blind to in the process.
It’s been a time to discover and explore my own walk with God.
A few times I felt like I was drifting, then I realized I needed to put on the suit of armour and reignite my own personal fervour to the Word, the scriptures, the Holiest of Holy Books.
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
~ Ephesians 6:14-17
I was in the midst of redesigning my website, trying to figure out how to tie together my art and the new emphasis on writing to uplift aching lonely hearts and encourage others to stay the course. All the while, I felt a pressure building inside to get my Canada Series of paintings completed. Only four more to go, I need to get them done, right?
Let me back up for just a minute. Painting the series of Canada paintings had been such an intriguing and interesting experience. I was learning so much about Canada, but in the midst of these paintings I was called by God, by Jesus into his fold. Painting started to dry up inside me, and my first passion of writing reignited… in a big way. It burned brighter and brighter. It burned inside me in a powerful way.
God wanted me to write. That’s what I knew.
As He worked in me, breaking me open here and here and here, I reviewed my intentions behind the Canada Series and realized that I needed to shift my approach from focusing on the spirit of the lands and its native peoples, to giving the glory to its rightful owner; God the creator of everything.
Yet I still struggled to get to the canvas. I still struggled at the canvas.
I prayed and prayed to understand His plans for me, while still pressing forward.
I had the opportunity to visit Nova Scotia at the beginning of August, and get back in touch with my childhood, and my father’s roots. It was such a lovely visit and I felt certain it would inspire me to paint the Nova Scotia piece. But, in my return it still hasn’t happened. I’ve spent countless frustrating hours trying to paint.
Mess upon mess upon mess… scraping back and beginning again… and again… and again.
Honestly, I am in the midst of feeling like I’ve forgotten how to paint. My honey might wince at my admitting this, but I’m okay with it right now, though I wasn’t in the trying.
All the while, new Words began to speak to me…
Draw me near, LORD.
I walked and I prayed.
Draw me near, LORD.
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
~ Hebrews 10:22
Words come alive in the seeking of God.
I’ve longed for this living. All my life.
But it wasn’t the worldly way. I didn’t fit in and oh did I try to fit in, even when it was impossible… I tried…. Conforming to the acceptable sent me into oblivion, the darkness, the emptiness of the trying.
There’s been circles and circles of change… interconnecting change taking place in the midst of God’s refining me.
Another all the while I will add… the topic of the Meyers Brigg’s personality testing coming up in conversations in our household… again and again. I took it… again, sure it would be different than the last number of times from years ago. It wasn’t.
I’m an INFJ and when I read it through a few times, it blew me away with its accuracy. I’d forgotten. It explained this pressing need that I felt to advocate… for God, why certain things haven’t worked out, and what’s been missing in my life and works. Oh, I think I can write a whole other post on this topic alone.
It’s the rarest of personality types – only 1-2% of the population are INFJ’s.
We are the advocates, the counselors, the spiritual teachers, and a great many of us are called to write.
INFJ Strengths include:
“Creative – combining a vivid imagination with a strong sense of compassion, Advocates use their creativity to resolve not technical challenges, but human ones. They enjoy finding the perfect solution for someone they care about, a strength that makes them excellent counselors and advisors.
Insightful – seeing through dishonesty and disingenuous motives, Advocates step past manipulation and sales tactics and into a more honest discussion. Advocates see how people and events are connected, and are able to use that insight to get to the heart of the matter.
Inspiring and Convincing – speaking in human terms, not technical, Advocates have a fluid, inspiration writing style that appeals to the inner idealist in their audience. Advocates can even be astonishingly good orators, speaking with warmth and passion about causes that matter to them.
Decisive – their creativity, insight and inspiration are able to have a real impact on the world, as Advocates are able to follow through on their ideas with conviction, willpower, and the planning necessary to see complex projects through to the end.
Determined and Passionate – when Advocates come to believe that something is important, they pursue that goal with a conviction and energy that can catch even their friends and loved ones off guard – Advocates will rock the boat if they have to. Not everyone will appreciate their passion, but fighting for their chosen cause is an inseparable part of Advocates’ personality.
Altruistic – these strengths are used for good. Advocates have strong beliefs, and they strive to follow them – not to advance themselves, but to advance ideas they truly believe will make the world a better place.”
~ Joseph Chris
With all these changes in my life this year, taking stock has been naturally essential, and seeing myself in the INFJ descriptions has made me realize the cause, passion, and connections (feeling like I am making a difference in people’s lives and in the world) that was missing… that which I can be… that which I must be.
It not only aligned with what I knew God was asking of me, it made me realize how compelled I was to act on it.
Now, back to my unsuccessful attempts to paint… it saddened me… it frustrated me… and I felt pressure.
These feelings did not feel of The Light, The Way or the Truth.
Draw me near, LORD. You’re all I need.
Somehow my plea, led me to Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Again. Again. Again.
I let the Words work.
I began to learn to say YES and AMEN to God’s promises.
Here’s what I do know… from yesterday to today…
God wants me to write.
I have a story to tell… quite an unusual one. I’m going to write a book about it… I’ll share bits here and there in the writing of it.
I also know this…
My story has brought me to a place of leaning more and more into my voice in the written word… my poetic artist’s voice. It’s quirky. It’s not grammatically correct, but perfectly expresses the words in my innermost being and my great love for a deep relationship with God. I’m told it uplifts and it inspires, and it offers some teaching.
So, I’ll write about how love can break us open here on this blog. I’ll write to create a refuge for soulful living… to help fill the empty aching place inside, for me, for you, and for those who aren’t even aware it’s there. I’ll be real too, because life is not all peaches and cream and therein lies our humanity; our compassion in suffering, mercy and grace.
I need to write. I’ll write even if no one reads it, but if you do and it speaks to you somehow, please let me know… write a comment, share it… help me spread the word and the love.
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation
of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
~ Psalm 19:14
In love and faith,