As an Elementary Teacher, I painted all my life but the way I painted was with a precision paintbrush like you would with crayons or magic markers.
**Believe me, it is different to use a two inch brush and a flat scrapper like Bob Ross. My daughter, Carrie Chan, has been listening to Bob and has such excitement about what he is teaching her. I love her enthusiasm about anything she does! Until, it is directed at me while I’m holding a dripping, shaking, two inch paintbrush. She said, “It is good therapy and builds brain cells.” This is the case I’m sure but I found that making art with Bob provides many things.
** One of these is uncomfortable, accurate feedback about the gap that exists between what you intended to do (with a brush I would use to paint my walls in my home) and what you actually did on the canvas. The enemy did not let the gap stay silent. It reverberated with commentary. Sadly, it was not the positive mom (Nana) that I always try to be.
This is such a ploy of Satan. He loves to take a beautiful moment of life and fill it with negative about our failures that plays over and over to us. I should remember our God converts the truth, the enemy perverts the truth. God wants us transformed, but Satan wants us paralyzed. Rest assured, God wants us near no matter our imperfections.
**The enemy didn’t want me painting that day. The enemy had me scared of the unknown. This is when we quit from the paralyzing lie of the enemy and walls go up, emotions run high, we get guarded, defensive, demotivated, and paralyzed from one small failure of looking at that falling down barn and began to hyper-focus on what didn’t look quite right.
My daughter and Bob Ross kept saying it’s not finished yet, it will be right when it is finished. I kept thinking of a song I knew as a child in Bible school: we are imperfect because we are unfinished. I have often said in my 68 years, “God is not finished with us.”
**I was determined to follow God’s way. I could see imperfections in my painting but did not deem it worthless. I could see imperfections in me and not deem myself worthless. It was an act of self-compassion. I always pray to have true, deep compassion for others but I always pray for more self-compassion. Quiet moments of compassion and prayer are part of the battle. They happen when we hush Satan with the Truth: (Revelation 12:11) “They triumphed over him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
** I stood before my daughter’s finished painting that night with love, amazement, and delight. She was so brave. I fought against my negative thoughts or disgruntled comments, and lofty huffs of disgust about my unfinished painting. I realized that my tolerance was still there and I just had to let go and let God in painting as I try in every other part of my life. The affection for a painting is not our tolerance of it but because of our delight in the way it carries its imperfections. It is personally unique. It expresses something our soul understands in the unseen connection we make when we stand before it. There is a burst of courage that will explode off that canvas if we let it and we do not shrink in fear. I think there is only one way to stand before paintings and people and that is with compassion.
We all cover up. (Colossians 3:12) “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” My God is for me not against me. I want to live a life that brings God Glory. God always helps me catch my breath and gets me moving again.
Prayer: Father God, I want to approach life living for You being creative rather than cautious; compassionate and not critical; surrendered to You and not cynical. Thank you for the ways You so tenderly carry me in all endeavors. Thank you Father for reminding me I still have light and beauty to offer to the world. I will grab the two inch brush with no apologizing or even attempts at perfection just lighting this world with color and “happy little trees.” Thank you Jesus for your compassion and grace. Bless my daughter for always including me in her adventures…It makes me into something better for God’s Glory. God, You are the Master Painter and I will let You mold me more and more into the likeness of your son. It is in His Holy Name I pray.