Splatter Paint Art With Jesus: Freedom from the Fear of Failure

I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere during my five years in college, my personality switched. Okay, maybe it didn’t switch, but I reached a point where I started to push myself harder and harder to be better and better. To be honest, I’m logical, smart, but I’ve always been horrible at school. I really do enjoy learning, reading, and teaching but at the college pace, I’m just not the best at keeping up.

One semester, I realized in order to get into seminary, I was going to have to pull up my grades.  I busted by butt for several summer semesters and last year of college trying to pull my GPA up from my BC days (ya’ll know what I’m talking about..). I did it! I reached my goal by .04 GPA points, but I did it.

I have been thinking about why I didn’t try harder in the first place, and what would my response have been if I hadn’t reached my goal. Frankly, I don’t like to do things I know I’m not good at. I don’t like failure. I would rather put in 70% effort and pass with a C than put in 100% effort and get a B. Why? Fear of failure.

I am realizing that fear of failure is a graceless approach to life that limits me from trying new things and taking risks for the Kingdom of God. Fear of failure exposes where one’s confidence is coming from and who they are trusting in.

Today was so sweet. I was working on an art piece for my room, and halfway through I decided I didn’t like it. So, I laid down some tape to do stripes on it. Every piece of tape was evenly spaced and perfectly pressed (all or nothing personality). I painted my stripes, waited for the paint to dry and then removed the tape. “Uh, oh. I hate it.”

I tried to figure out lettering that could go over it to make it better. Nope. I tried everything. I was about to toss it out when I stopped and prayed, “Lord, you take it.”

Three seconds later I had the idea to splatter paint it. I have rolled marbles in a shoebox more times than I have splatter painted. Nonetheless, I said okay.

Y’all, sometimes all a girl needs is to create splatter-paint artwork with Jesus. I know it’s not a big deal to most people, but the way we create things reveals a lot about our personalities. Normally, I follow the design rules (repetition, contrast, proximity, alignment etc). I don’t go outside of the box. Why? Because I’d end up creating something that a 3rd grader could make. (Fear of failure).

But today was great. I didn’t worry about anything, I didn’t think about where I was going to put what. I even got it all over me, my clothes, floor, sink and glasses. And it was okay. I didn’t stop to evaluate what was wrong with the piece and what needed to be changed. I just did it.

The final touch was the addition of the letters “J-O-I-E”. Joy in french. Something I fight for, but know exactly where that’s found.

Today was something that my soul needed. A day to make art with Jesus. To walk by faith experiencing freedom in trusting Him with the outcome, however small that outcome may be.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

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Hand Painted Orderly Design

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Rhonna#1: The Year to Fly

Wendy: Peter, I can’t come with you. I’ve forgotten how to fly. I’m old, Peter. Ever so much more than twenty. I grew up a long time ago.

Young Peter Pan: No, no, no! You promised!

Wendy: I have children of my own now. They have children of their own. That’s my grandchild, Moira, asleep in the bed.

Adult Peter: [voiceover] When I saw her lying there sleeping, that moment, something changed in me forever.

Young Peter Pan: I shall give her a kiss.

Wendy: No. No, Peter. No buttons. No thimbles. I couldn’t bear to see Moira’s heart to be broken when she finds she can’t keep you.

Young Peter Pan: No. I mean a real kiss.

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One thing every kid wants more than anything is the freedom and ability to fly. The wind beneath our wings and the limitless possibilities of where those wings could take us tantalizes our confined minds. I suppose that’s where we get the expression and heart behind the saying, “I’m as free as a bird.” That’s what we all long for, I guess. Freedom.

Once we grow up, as Wendy did and eventually Peter chose to, what does freedom and flying look like? Just think happy thoughts.. doesn’t always work in a world torn apart by natural disasters, wars, and real life pain. I think it is getting back to remembering. Remembering who we are, what we were created for and where true joy, hope and purpose comes from.

When I was little, my daddy was my best friend. I thought he could do anything, and I thought his jokes were hilarious (that’s where I get my sense of humor.). He always reminds me of anytime I got out of the car I would say, “Hold my hand daddy!” There was dependence upon my father that allowed me to live in freedom knowing that nothing bad would happen.

I think we lose that blissful freedom as we see the corruption and devastating affects of sin in the world. We become aware of the limitations we have and the thought of flying moves, at best, to the back burner of our hearts. But I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to go. We are created for something greater. We’re not supposed to forget how to fly, as Wendy did. There’s freedom to live in the security of our Father that is offered to through His son. There’s security and purpose and hope and joy, unending joy! And that’s where we fly..

Remembering today that the only place to find liberation is in the One who liberates. And who better to fly with than the creator of heaven and earth?

Wendy: So… your adventures are over.

Peter: Oh, no. To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.

I need You, I want You, I choose You

As we are preparing to depart for our mid-year conference in Europe, my heart is heavy. We’ve never left Senegal before. We’ve never not seen our friends here. What’s it going to be like when we for certain leave in July?

Yesterday Katie and I met with a sweet friend, DiaDia. We have shared the message of hope and love with her numerous times before. But yesterday was different. I know that I am not guaranteed another day in Senegal let alone this world. The sense of urgency was there to tell DiaDia that Jesus is God, He died for our sins, He is the ultimate sacrifice and we must turn to Him in repentance and receive Him as our Savior and Lord to become children of God. My heart longs to see sweet DiaDia come to know the God of the universe.

My heart broke when she walked away still not having received Jesus as her savior. My heart broke when she cried because we were leaving for two weeks. My heart breaks knowing that in a few short months, I might be saying goodbye to DiaDia forever. I trust God with her, but my heart breaks that she is in bondage of self-works and striving for the acceptance of God when it is so freely given.

I am comforted by God’s immense love for me and all the people He is calling to himself. I am thankful that God has promised me an eternity with Him because of what Jesus did, not anything that I can do.

Please, continue praying for Senegal during this election period. Please be praying the Gospel would go forth and for our sweet friends like DiaDia to come to know the amazing grace He has lavished upon us.

Jeremy Camp:ReWind

Well, there are so many things to say that I can’t quite think rightly of any which thing to speak of first.  That’s the kind of mood I’m in. Enjoy. I have been singing a little ditty in my head for a little over a week now. The song: There Will Be A Day, by Jeremy Camp and Mary Smith. Allow me to divulge…

Senegal is dirty. I don’t mean disgusting and filthy, I really do mean there is a lot of dirt. We’re located right around the same area as the Sahara belt and the ever present drought continues to worsen our crusty condition. Our apartment, no matter how many times a day I sweep, always has a wonderful film covering our white-tile floors (don’t even ask me why anyone would put white tile across an entire apartment here…). Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, my feet have become permanently stained, and no this is not from my meticulously scribed tattoo.

As a part of attempting to keep my bedsheets clean, I either wash my feet before bed (this doesn’t always work that well because the walk from the bathroom to bed re-dirties my feet) or use baby wipes to remove the numerous impurities from my delicate pieds. One night a few weeks ago, I decided to go the baby wipes route. After seven, I repeat SEVEN, baby wipes my feet were still dirty. And what’s worse was those seven wipes were my last.

I defeatedly swiveled into bed and longingly stared at my feet as if they would magically transform into professionally pampered and polished feet.  It was then that the lyrics just came to me: “there will be a day with no more dirt, grody feet, dirty sheets, but until that dayyyyy…. la la la. etc.” I know, I know. How did I come up with such brilliant lyrics? Like I said, it just came to me.

So, this blog actually has no pupose except to inform you that for the past week and a half my sheets have been trampled upon by my very own contaminated feet, but there is hope that one day (this week?) I will have clean sheets. And that there will be a day when I will look back and actually miss sweeping our apartment multiple times a day (ha, trust me.. that day has not yet arrived). I’m going to miss looking down at my dirt lines on my feet and thinking, “Man I got so tan today,” only to be reminded that I’m still so white after a good scrubbing (you think I’d learn this one after 3 months…). I’m going to miss the constant reminder that beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news.  I’m going to miss seeing the leftover journeys from the day on the roughened bottom of my feet.

I know we aren’t even half-way through with our internship here, but I really have come to love the little common inconveniences. Not that I delight in them or anything, but I love the feelings of uncomfortability they produce. I love knowing that this world cannot satisfy and that I am a sinner. I love seeing how easily common inconveniences can cause me to fall short because it automatically shows me the vastness of the grace and mercy of our holy and righteous God. I love the growth that comes from being frustrated, feeling defeated and unsure. Don’t get me wrong, I do not love my sin, sinful flesh, and sinful reactions. In fact, I hate those things. But, when I’m weak I am able to see that He is strong. When I’m defeated, I can rest in the truth that He is victorious and has made me victorious. These times of inconveniences are bitter sweet, but when I have an eternal perspective they are just sweet.

They are just sweet.

“I, the preacher of this hour, beg to bear my little witness that the worst days I have ever had have turned out to be my best days, and when God has seemed most cruel to me he has then been most kind. If there is anything in this world for which I would bless him more than for anything else it is for pain and affliction. I am sure that in these things the richest, tenderest love has been manifested towards me. I pray you, dear friends, if you are at this time very low, and greatly distressed, encourage yourselves in the abundant faithfulness of the God who hides himself. Our Father’s wagons rumble most heavily when they are bringing us the richest freight of the bullion of his grace. Love letters from heaven are often sent in black-edged envelopes. The cloud that is black with horror is big with mercy. We may not ask for trouble, but if we were wise we should look upon it as the shadow of an unusually great blessing.

-Charles Spurgeon”

College Graduate

I am now DONE with school!! YAY! I am no longer a college kid. I know most people say this but I feel so accomplished. From the beginning I’ve been thinking school wasn’t for me. But I persevered and finished! Thanks mom for making me stay in school for 5 years plus summer school.

Now: I’m an a full time intern with Cru. That’s a total big girl step! I’m support raising right now and it’s been amazing. I really need balance in my life and am learning it through support raising. I’m so excited to be doing ministry this summer while establishing ministry partners. But really my heart is so excited to love on these people and to introduce them to Jesus. I can’t wait to be an official big girl living in AFRICA! 🙂

Is this supposed to be really scary? I know what I’m doing for the next 14 months, so I’m not too nervous. My main worries right now are bugs, african food, and not being able to speak French as well as I’d like. In about 3 months of being there I’ll get over all of that stuff. I think towards the end of my  STINT I might get more nervous/freak out about my future. I have no solid plans and have never kept a job longer than 9 months. It’s sink or swim time. I can doggie paddle pretty well. Surely, life can’t be as hard as swimming….

I say that as I go into a part of life that’s been getting really messy. If you could possibly remember me in your prayers that’d be swell. I’m being tested on loving people unconditionally. I am letting my hurt feelings get in the way of my relationship with the Lord and others. I have let that fester into bitterness and it’s ugly. Instead of using this opportunity to continue to pursue relationships and show Christ’s love, I have chosen to back away emotionally, physically and spiritually from some people who have really hurt my feelings. It’s not healthy for me nor the body as a whole to ignore the healing the Lord wants to bring; it certainly isn’t honoring to the Lord. Christ came for reconciliation and that’s what we’re called to do as well.

I want to love well regardless of how I feel others are treating me or how I expect to be treated by fellow Christians. Christ first loved me even when I was a jerk and my sins nailed His son to the cross. He still pursued me and loved me. As a Christian, I need to set aside my pride and hurt feelings and just depend on the Lord in this situation. I’m wanting to sit in my cubicle and just ignore the issue, but I can’t. I know I can’t. So, just be praying that I am open to the Lord working on my heart and that I am yielding to His hand daily. Pray for genuine restoration. Just be praying.

Thanks readers.

Mary