Friday, August 5, 2016

Every Canvas is Different... Just Be You.

Several weeks ago I went to my first painting class.  I am not very artistically inclined, but, they promised that if you can draw a stick figure, you can paint.  My husband and I went to a "date night" class where we each painted half of the picture.  He kept correcting mine and telling me when my lines were too thin, not in the right place, and not the right color... but ultimately I thought mine turned out pretty well.

Everyone in the class had the same size canvas.

We all had the same paints.

We used the same size brushes.

We painted the same picture.

And, they all turned out uniquely and wonderfully different.

Even the instructor's painting from that night looked different than the sample painting she had created earlier!

If you have ever shopped for handmade items, you know that the best thing about handmade items is that they are unique and varied and different.  With the same materials, the same artist will create multiple works, but each one is slightly different than the others.

That's the wonderful thing about handmade items... they aren't created in a mold by a machine.

No two are ever alike!

The same is true with you and I.

This is the beauty of God in us.

What He purposed for my life may be different than what He purposed for yours.

What He planned for my life is going to be different than what He planned for yours.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We are both masterpieces of the artist and the creator.

We will both turn out individually as He created us to be.

We have different battles.  We follow different paths in life.  Different gifts and talents and abilities are within us.  I cannot compare my canvas to your canvas.  I have to allow God to paint my picture and write my story just like He is writing your story and painting your picture.

You cannot find your purpose until you find the person He created you to be.

In other words, you will never be satisfied, feel complete, and have purpose and direction until you live your own life.  Until you use your gifts.  Until you serve and give and love and live what He has placed inside of you, you will never find the happiness, joy, and abundance of life Jesus came to give you.  Comparing your life to others, trying to do what everybody else is doing, and trying to have what everyone else has is not what God intended for us.  One of the synonyms for unique is "peculiar".  God calls His people His "peculiar treasure" (Exodus 19:5).  We are supposed to be set apart and not the same as the world.  Even in the church and among other Christian people, we cannot compare our work, and ministry, and gifts, and talents to others.  Comparison is a very dangerous activity.  When we begin to compare ourselves to other people, there are only two results.  We either see ourselves as inferior or superior.  If we see that we excel in something (or even multiple things), we feel superior to others and that leads to pride.  If we see ourselves as lacking in an area, we feel inferior and that leads to discouragement and depression and low self-esteem.  Either way, we are not seeing the truth about ourselves and others.  We are not seeing the unique, peculiar, fearfully and wonderfully made person that God created and is forming and shaping.

Find you.

Be you.

Love you.

And, in all those areas of your life that seem to be messy and dirty and painful right now, remember that you're not finished yet.  It's a process and God is still working on you.

The ugly places of your life do not turn God away.  Psalm 139 says that darkness and light are the same to God.  He can see in the dark!  He can see everything that you try to hide and keep secret.  He knows everything about you!  And He loves you!

There's a beautiful scripture in Isaiah that says God gives us beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  We like to quote it a lot and it sounds good during Sunday morning sermons.  But on Monday when we're fighting a hard battle, we feel sometimes feel so desperate and alone... "where is God and why is this happening to me?"

If there are never ashes, He cannot replace them with His beauty.

If you never feel the heaviness and the heartache of life, you don't know what it's like to have your spirit lifted and experience His joy and peace.

If you are never sick, hurt, or broken, you cannot experience His healing power.

If you never feel unloved, you don't know what it's like to have Him wrap His arms around you.

If you never feel alone or afraid or confused, you would never understand how it feels to be rescued, delivered, and set free.

We don't like the dirty, the ugly, and the messy... but the reality is that we need it so we can truly see God at work in our lives.  Healthy people do not need a doctor.  Perfect people do not need to be fixed.  Jesus came for those who needed Him.  The truth is that we all need Him, we all just aren't willing to admit it.  When we turn to Him, we allow Him to show Himself strong on our behalf, to be who He is, to be the I Am in our lives.

Some of our masterpieces may be a little further along than others, but don't compare your canvas to anybody else.  Let God be the master painter, creator, potter, and author of your life!  Be the peculiar, unique you that He created you to be.

You're unfinished.

And, when you see someone else struggling and burdened and maybe not living what you think is right, don't judge them, remember that we are all unfinished.

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