Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Lie of "I can't"

"I have no artistic talent" were the words I uttered to the girl working behind the counter at the ceramic shop yesterday. 

"That's crazy" said my friends. 

"Well, okay...I can write, and sing, and even act a bit, but painting...not so much."  I refused to give all the way in.

You see, some co-workers and I wanted to get together for a girls day out.  We wanted to do something fun and different.  So when we found a Groupon for ceramic painting, we bought it.

As we walked into the shop, my eyes glazed over.  So many pretty things!  Bowls and plates and vases and figurines...all beautifully decorated and calling my name.  But the sales girl told me some of the items I expressed an interest in required artistic skills like being able to free-hand a picture.  And so I made that statement.

Finally, I chose the owl in the picture above.  But I was still moaning about my lack of ability.  The sales girl - who seemed a little exasperated with me at this point - said "Can you trace?" 

Well, of course I could. 

"Can you color in the lines?" 

Pretty much since I was 3 thank you. 

"Then you can do this!"

In truth, it wasn't that simple.  There were several steps.  First I blew into a straw that was in a cup of paint and water creating bubbles which went up over the side of the cup and onto the plate, covering it.  Once it was dry, I did it again with a second color. 

Think about being 5 years old again and blowing bubbles with a straw in your chocolate milk...and you've got the idea.  If you look closely at the blue background of the plate, you'll see the cool circular effect it created.

Once both layers of the paint mixture were dry, I took the picture of the owl, placed it on the plate and used a pen to go over the lines in the picture, pressing hard to try to create a stencil outline.  I say 'try', because with two layers of paint on the plate, seeing the lines was practically impossible.  I wound up free-handing quite a bit of the design using the picture as my guide.

When all was said and done, and the plate was handed over to be glazed and fired, I realized it wasn't simple, but I did it.  Maybe I do have a little artistic talent.

Painting a plate in a ceramics studio might not seem to have spiritual implications, but it's not about the plate really.  It's about the attitude.  It's about being afraid to try new things.  It's about speaking negativity into reality.  It's about doubting the gifts God gives us.

Why do we limit ourselves?

For me, I believe it's the sin of pride.  I don't like to fail - and I certainly don't want people watching me fail.  So it's much easier to simply say "I can't" and take any opportunity to try off the table.  I forget that it's not about what I can do, but rather, what God can and will do through me if I'm willing. 

Yesterday reminded me of another time when I spoke the words "I can't."  When God was prompting me to speak to my pastor about community outreach.  I clearly remember saying to him "I think we should do this, but I'm not a leader."  And yet God has placed me in a position of leadership that has not only changed my life but the entire approach to community outreach in my church. 

The next time you're tempted to back away from something new, something a little scary, something with the potential to fail, remember "I can't" is a lie that can always be countered with "He can." 

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