Tuesday, March 31, 2009
My first attempt at using color in my encaustics yesterday morning has turned out to be very satisfying after an initially rocky start. I had fun for a while but I felt no sense of direction, no idea what I wanted to do other then see how each color responded to the canvas. About halfway through the process I was ready to throw in the towel, being convinced that I should stick with paper collage and leave the encaustic painting to somebody else.
A little war began in my mind with charges of "I'm better with paper!" resisting the change that would open new avenues of creativity within me.
This conflict of my artistic nature in the studio mimicked the conflict between the seasons going on outside my window this week and inspired the title "Dueling Nature".
Spring was ushered in by temperatures in the mid-60s, sunshine and signs of new life, but as typical in Illinois, winter fights hard to hang on and sends us icy sleet and 6" of snow before turning into cold rumbling thunderstorms within days of the warmer weather. The Weatherman predicts this duel will go on all week, a day of sunshine followed by a day of cold and wintry storms, alternating each day until winter finally gives way to spring.
Reflecting on these duels, both inside my studio and outside my window, I begin to see the common thread, the serendipity if you will, to the changes happening inside of me as well.
My New Year's resolutions this year involved making a commitment to some significant changes in the way I think and respond to life. To allow God to do a work in me - to weed out behavior patterns & dysfunctional cycles that keep me from growing. To grow up, if you will, and become the woman I know he wants me to be.
I've made progress toward these goals as I continue to seek counseling and recently began a 12-step program - Adult Children of Alcoholics.
There, I said it out loud.
I am an Adult Child of an Alcolholic. It's not an accusation, just a statement of recognition.
Starting this group has been one more step in a long process that God has been taking me through in answer to my prayer to move into a deeper relationship with him. I had hit an invisible wall and could not figure out what was keeping me so disconnected.
The night I sat in my first meeting full of anxiety, all alone in a room full of strangers, wondering if I had made a mistake or whether anyone would notice if I got up to leave, I heard the 12 steps read and then the "Problem" and the "Solution" for the first time. Bells were ringing in my head as I recognized myself in the words that were spoken.
And then came the last paragraph of the solution "... we are sure that as the love grows inside you, you will see beautiful changes in all your relationships, especially with God..."
The truth in that statement resonated to the very core of my being.
Everything that I was, that I am, that I ever will be lept up in recognition inside of me! It was the reason I could not grow closer to God. The reason I kept all my relationships at arms length. The reason I continuously reached out to the wrong and couldn't trust what was right.
My commitment to work on personal change was solidified and I have been working to recognize right thinking and behavior patterns diligently ever since. I am learning to set boundaries within myself and with other people. Learning to look at every aspect of my life through this new awareness, the way I react to situations from my emotions rather then respond with clarity, the way I handle my finances and make impulsive decisions rather then looking to be informed and make wise choices, the way I think in all or nothing terms and tend to isolate from others.
It's a lot of work to come up against these deeply ingrained thought patterns and as I move forward I find my old habits creeping in and taking over when my guard is down. It can be frustrating to see how easily I turn back without realizing it.
"For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." - Galations 5:17
But I will keep pushing forward, and as I do I pray for the strength to continue knowing that eventually the dueling nature within will give way to the change I desire to see. Old thoughts will be replaced with new ones. Emotions will not rule but help guide me. This anxious feeling always nagging and pressing will give way to Gods promise of peace. He will be with me as I step out on this journey of trusting him.
In the end I hope to say, like Paul, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Timothy 4:7
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