My daughter was working intently on drawing a picture yesterday. When she was finished, she explained in detail about the story behind it and what it was illustrating. For her, that picture represented a physical image of the story in her mind. It became her plan for what she wanted to build with her Lego. She was so proud of her picture, confident in her ability to communicate what was in her mind.
Watching this scene play out got me thinking. To be honest, I was a little jealous of her confidence in that moment. It spoke to a longing within me to feel like I had accomplished what I had set out to do. It drew on that desire to feel in control, on top of things and confident in what I am doing. As the new year gains steam and projects loom large, I recognise a sense of overwhelm creeping in. I feel that familiar beginning of the year anticipation of all that needs to be done, all I want to do. Uncertainty hangs over the future (as it always does when we are real with acknowledging our lack of control.)
It also got me thinking about the ability of illustrations to weave a story and share a message without the words. I think of picture books that rely solely on the images to convey the story. I wonder what my life illustrates? I wonder if the illustration matches the words I put out? Being around children seems to highlight this. I see what my daughter picks up in words, attitudes and habits and it is a mirror to me- sometimes reflecting the positive and other times illuminating something in me I’d rather ignore.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a clear picture of exactly what life will look like or what you want it to look like? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to see clearly how to get from where you are now to that picture? In some ways, we can have that. We can set goals and intentions. We can create strategies to get there. We can have our ideals and values. All of these are great and worthwhile IF we don’t get so tangled in them that the mess of life knocks us on our backs. We have to leave room for change and flexibility. We need others to come alongside us and help us to see when it is foggy in our minds. We have to be willing to make the daily actions and course corrections needed.
Ultimately, the whole of our lives is an illustration. For me, I want that illustration to be pointing to Jesus. I want my life to look like an imperfect but growing picture of being tethered to Him and walking in His ways. There is such security in that place which in turn releases freedom. It is when I turn my focus back to being in that place of being right beside Him that I get
What is your life illustrating today? Are you happy with that? What changes do you need to make to walk towards a life that better illustrates your values and the story you want to tell?