Simply Remain [CHOOSING JOY]
The other night I attended a painting party, one of those events where everyone gets together and embellishes a piece of wood cut in a whimsical shape to use as a door decoration. Pinterest is full of these things. Everyone at this event was given a heart-shaped cut out in anticipation of Valentine’s Day and so the pink and red paint were flowing freely.
However, while I consider myself to be moderately crafty, I am not really the cutesy type. Given a choice I probably would not have picked a heart cutout and while I can appreciate the holiday flare, pink and polka dots just were not going to work for me that day. I tried turning the heart in different directions thinking that I could use the shape to create something else. I scanned the room to find inspiration from the art examples on the walls. Then I squirted three shades of blue and green on my styrofoam plate and began applying it in a swirling motion.
On top of the lovely blue-green, I first attempted to paint a fanciful sprawling tree in black with colorful boughs, but unfortunately, my boughs looked more like indistinct globs. So, I started mixing and stirring more colors and sloshing the paint across the heart thinking that maybe just a smattering of various hues would look beautiful. When I stepped back, the colors had blended together into an angry brownish purple. All my varied efforts and changes had resulted in what looked like a bruised heart.
As I pointed the blow dryer at my heart, rushing to seal the paint so that I could cover up the yucky mess I had made, I searched it for true inspiration. I needed to go back and recreate what I had loved at first. So I mixed up more blue-green swirls and then I paused.
Lately, I have been studying John chapter 15 where Jesus is teaching his disciples using the vine analogy. “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV) He repeats the word “remain” several times in this chapter and it got me to thinking. This time of year we talk so much about change, change, change. And yes, there are some things that we all need to tweak in our lives, but we should never change at the expense of the good that we’ve already developed. Just like with my painting, sometimes in our efforts to improve a situation, we end up just making a mess of bruised hearts! Sometimes, we need to go back to life before the changes and remain there.
I took my paintbrush and bit of white and painted the word “Remain” across my blue heart. Perhaps this bit of kitschy art will remind me that God doesn’t want me to be worried about changing all the time, that it good to stay the course and live contentedly. Because it is promised that if I remain in Christ and His words remain in me, I can ask whatever I wish, and it will be done for me. (vs. 7) No need to stress, just remain. Praise God!