I sent her a photo of the finished product, thinking I was pretty much done.
If I just brightened this up… or darkened that…
I got the brushes out again, poured more paint, did some touch ups, sent Mom a new picture.
After that, I decided I would quit messing with it. What if I made a change, and she no longer liked it?
But as hours ticked away, the more I saw it, the less I liked it.
When I said as much to my husband, he scoffed and said that’s how I always am.
I do this with my stories, and it’s exhausting. If I’m honest, I do it with myself, too. I focus on areas where there’s room for improvement. I struggle to deem things finished or good.
So, this morning found me back at my canvas, tweaking some more.
I washed out my brush three different times because I kept telling myself the painting was done only to change my mind.
My process brought to mind another Creator. The perfect one, whose work I’m imitating so poorly.
I thought about how He spoke and light was born. How He fashioned heaven and earth, sky, sea, and everything in it, and after each step, declared His work good.
He didn’t go back on day four to tweak the work He’d done on day one. He wasn’t surprised at how moisture, light, and the expanse of sky interacted, and He didn’t have to alter his work after the fact.
Meanwhile, I struggle to paint a cloud. Even as one part of me declares the painting good and finished, another part taps finger against my chin and says, “But you could…”
I don’t have God’s creative abilities. I can’t look at my work and call it good without offering excuses for this or that. I can’t declare it finished, once and for all, and take a day of rest knowing nothing at all is amiss.
Yet the Bible says I’m fearfully and wonderfully made, and that I’m here for a purpose, and that I’m not to bury the gifts I’ve been given out of fear.
God’s good work didn’t stop at creation. He sent His Son, the Light we need more desperately than the heavenly bodies that provide physical illumination, into the world.
That Son, Jesus, died for the sins of the world. For my sins. To redeem me and all who believe from the fallen state that hounds us in our art and in our lives. Though on my own, I am not good and cannot accomplish perfection in any form—even on a simplistic canvas—through Jesus, I am declared a righteous child of the living God.
His work is good and perfect. Enough so that He can use even my flawed attempts to His glory. Where I lack, grace abounds.
And that truth goes far beyond art.
Though on my own, I am not good and cannot accomplish #perfection in any form—even on a simplistic canvas—through Jesus, I am declared a righteous child of the living God. @emilyrconrad #hope #encouragement
God’s work is good and perfect. Enough so that He can use even my flawed attempts to His glory. Where I lack, #grace abounds. @emilyrconrad #hope
No, we won’t be perfect. But we can rest in the assurance that the most important work was perfectly completed on our behalves, given by grace, to be accepted by faith. @emilyrconrad #encouragement
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Love, love, LOVE this, Emily!! On so many levels, YES! Letting grace move into the room and kicking fear out… I’m having tech issues or I’d quote it properly…that sentence is frame worthy! Your painting is beautiful, btw, but the lesson shared is even more so. For what it’s worth, I think God likes to play with art in the clouds that’s never quite the same twice, too — the sky is constantly changing. Thank you for sharing this, Emily.
Oh, I love that idea of God having fun with the clouds each night (and day, I suppose!). What a great point that the sky's always changing, a moving piece of art. Thank you so much for reading and joining the conversation, Pearl!
I do the same thing, Emily, ALL the time! It can be so paralyzing to want to get it "just right." Because it never gets there, and sometimes my idea of what "just right" is even changes from day to day. Ha. I think your painting is beautiful.
Exactly my problem, Katie! The paralysis, and all for an ideal that, as you say, can change from day to day. Thanks about the painting. After all that, I'm happy with it 🙂
I actually DID stare at those images and wondered why you included the same so many times 🙂 Goes to show we are always finding something wrong with what God says is utterly beautiful and good.
Haha! When I took pictures for my mom, my phone screen showed the painting with more contrast than the painting actually had, so I kept going back in to add highlights because I liked how it looked onscreen better than in person. The clouds get a little brighter, as does the spot where the sun sets. And there's less dark blue off to the bottom left by the end. But, yeah. Not that big of a difference. She probably would've been just as happy with the first one:)