Here’s my latest addition to the meager gallery of things I’ve painted, a set of two 8×10’s. I only started painting somewhere in the middle of my junior year of college, completely on a whim, with zero intention of taking myself seriously. Painting humbles me because my hand isn’t as steady as I want it to be and it’s a process of trial and error figuring how to make the paint do what I want it to. But it satisfies the creative hunger in me to translate a formless amoeba of concept in my brain into a physical, tangible work in front of me. I love that.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the Lord and his provision, his follow-through. That’s what prompted these paintings. So many times I catch myself work, work, working at life and godliness. I was raised in church and while I’m blessed by that, sometimes that upbringing trips me up. I forget why I’m doing all my good-girl striving. My sense of fairness starts to kick back when I think about all the things I “deserve” from my striving.
Then there’s grace.
Listen: God blesses us not because we’re good, but because he’s good. He provides grace and comfort and just-in-the-nick-of-time hope. He is really all we need. He is the giver of life. He is life itself. C.S. Lewis writes, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
Is all my striving my attempt to earn grace, to earn blessings? Backwards backwards backwards. When I rely on grace, the actions are a natural response of gratitude. But I’ve got to let go of this sense of fairness. Grace trumps fairness.
After all, he is really all I need. As Kahlil Gibran writes, “We cannot ask thee for aught, for thou knowest our needs before they are born in us: Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all.”
He is the giver of life.
He is life itself.