On behalf of our guest post writer Celia van Maarth
We are each His beautiful and unique vessel, called to pour out the light and love of Christ; therefore, WE GO….
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
There is a black and white photo of me when I was four years old, sitting peacefully at a card table drawing a picture with my crayons. What you can’t see in that photo were the many toys that were probably strewn about the room and the other signs of life (chaos?) from living with seven siblings. My artistic explorations helped me experience joy in life and peace within. As I grew and explored a variety of art mediums, my senses began to wake-up to the sights, sounds and beauty in the world around me. I delighted in the texture of a squishy lump of playdough as I squeezed and formed it with my hands. I remember being outside on a warm sunny day and the distinct smell of tempera paint as I painted bright bold brush stokes across my paper while my kindergarten friends played nearby.
The call to GO and serve God has continued as I grow and pass through the seasons of my life. I am thankful for my creative calling to not only create art but to also inspire others to explore what I believe is everyone’s gift in some way…and that is the call to create! I am grateful for all of the opportunities God has prepared for me to “walk in” the past 17 years: teaching art to homeschool kids of all ages; face painting for charity events; teaching a group of kids how to collaborate and co-create together on artwork that is auctioned off to raise funds for a week-away at summer camp; creating art for the online Soul Sister studies; leading art projects at Soul Sister retreats and on land gatherings; teaching mixed media and painting techniques at birthday parties and teen workshops; creative hand-lettering and scripture art based on church sermons; “Art Night Out” for women in the community, and more recently “Parents Night Out” for kids with special needs and their siblings.
The scripture verse of Ephesians 2:10 was chosen for the Arts Alive Art and Drama program that I have been a part of for over 12 years. God also called me to not only be an art teacher, but also to be the director of the program when the request came from several parents who didn’t want to see the program end. The leadership role and administrative calling is one that I didn’t think He would ask of me. But I am reminded that He is the Potter I am the clay and through different seasons and for different reasons He reshapes and equips this vessel for His purpose.
During our We GO study, I have enjoyed reading posts from other women and their calling; and I have also been encouraged the way so many have walked with the Lord in their calling during highs and lows. To be honest, though, there have also been days that I have felt discouraged with myself and wanted to have the calling that others had been given. Thankfully, God reminds me that I need to continually abide in Him and His word so that I don’t fall into the trap of comparing or ranking God’s call for me or for others.
My creative passion and calling can too easily become my idol and I sometimes want to GO (or hide or find my self-worth) and walk in my calling…even when He is not asking me to. Some of the snares that I have found having a calling in the arts include: overworking, obsessing, isolating, perfectionism, people pleasing, pride, listening to critical voices, and self-righteousness. The enemy would love to deceive me and persuade me to follow a way that “seems right”, but instead, it leads to death …a calling that pretends to glorify God and leads others to Him, but instead glorifies self and separates me from having a true relationship with Him. I need the Holy Spirit to reminded me of what comes before verse 10…and that is Ephesian 8 and 9:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
I thank God for my creative calling, and that He has awakened me to see and appreciate His beautiful creation. But I am especially grateful that He pursued me and opened my eyes that I am His recreated and redeemed creation…His workmanship (poem, masterpiece). Only in Him can I find my hearts fulfillment and desire. I want to continue to first and foremost be reminded that just as I am…I am, His beloved.
Further: Ephesians 2:8-10; Psalm 19:1; John 15:1-17; John 6: 27-29; Romans 12:3-6
Help me remember to abide in You and Your Living Word daily…not because I have to, but because You delight in me. Holy Spirit, remind me to call on You and allow You to be my Helper (I don’t have to do it on my own) and then give me the grace to receive your power and strength to follow through and act on what you have called me to do. Compassionate Savior, thank you that I can love You and others because You first loved me and you have chosen to abide in me. Help me abide in Your love. Take my heart of stone and soften it, and mold me into Your image so I can love others as You have loved me. In Your Beautiful name I pray. Amen