Do you remember being a kid and just getting lost in coloring with crayons, pasting construction paper shapes on a page or feeling the waxiness of modling clay on your fingers as you rolled a ball of clay against the table? During this month of spiritual challenge of incorporating prayer into our lives, I’ve found a few different practices that have been greatly helpful for drawing me to be more aware of the presence of Jesus. One of these practices includes doing art projects that hearken back to grade school art class.
The first practice has been to identify areas in my life where I tend to worry rather than pray, plot out the trajectory of my life rather than ask for guidance, and despair rather than hope in the restoring power of Christ. Often I find myself thinking in pictures when I pray. There have been times when I seem to be devoid of words when I’m trying to pray, perhaps it’s because I’m so overwhelmed, tired or just out of touch with how I’m feeling as a person who processes how I feel through how I think (meyer-briggs “T”s can you feel me?)
As I was praying through the areas I felt stressed out about, the word plenty came to mind. In the places I feel are lacking in my life, the Lord was reminding me that I both have plenty and that his love and provision is plenty enough to sustain me. Rather than writing out a prayer for this, I decided to sit down with Reuben to make an art project that would both help me to s-l-o-w down to let this reality sink into my heart and mind, but also to create something that would remind me daily that I am able to be content whether in plenty or in want. So I got out my scissors, construction paper and past and made this bunch of Indian Corn & taped it on my fridge. I was so pleased when Reuben said “It’s a corn!” It was also just fun to sit and make some art with him. I think as adults we’re so concerned with making things beautiful or getting it right, we forget that God is simply delighted to be with us and enjoy what we create even if it doesn’t look the coolest. What matters is not how good it looks, but ways that we’re making space for the presence of God to transform us and give space for him to speak into our lives. Sometimes this just looks like sitting down for 1/2 hour with some colored pencils and my journal and asking Jesus: “what do you want to speak to me right now?” Often I begin drawing having no idea why I’m drawing a particular thing. But the process of intentionally slowing down to be creative and be present to God becomes an unraveling of what has been wound up inside of me. Typically through the process or even when I’ve “completed” the drawing, I find that God is reminding me of scriptures, affirming some truth to me or helping me to trust him in areas I stress about.
So what would be your word of the day? the week? or the month? When your thoughts are roaming free & unfettered from the daily grind of work, school, dishes or caring for others what anxieties rise to the surface that seem to gnaw at you? Maybe you’re not a creative type but slowing down to journal, taking a slow walk or making an art project with can all be ways to be present to God and ask him for the word or encouragement or challenge that would represent your prayer and remind you to pray into this area. No matter what you end up doing, I hope that you’ll take the challenge of trying new ways to experience God and to become more prayerful.