I TIMOTHY 4:14-16
14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
I was aces in chemistry in high school. And biology. And calculus. And physics. And all the sciences that pointed back to my dad’s genetic code. I liked piecing together the puzzles of the universe on graph paper. I took Latin for the puzzle–a secret story you could unlock with the right key, like Ralphie’s Little Orphan Annie decoder ring in A Christmas Story. My mind tended toward black-and-white. In life too, I hopped from grid to grid. Compartmentalizing is a handy skill in the bog of hormones and insecurities that is high school.
Despite it all I still loved theater and the arts and literature. To drink up the lights of the stage just as Act 1 opened was to be filled with the beginning of a story someone would tell me with all my senses. My heart needed to be wooed by things such as this. But my mind needed the stability of the black-and-white. I am, for better or worse, a woman who loves structure.
And then I got married and had children which placed both sides of my brain in the blender and hit the switch. There was a time I was neither rational nor creative. I was…surviving. And that was okay too, for such a time.
And then, as my brain settled again, like a lava lamp cooling, the pieces of me that had been divided began to settle into one. The creativity I had found in a monologue or musical interlude suddenly sprung up in the afternoon walk through the autumn leaves. The persimmon leaves on the green grass with the blue sky and clean air was art. And the way the pieces of our lives seemed to fit together, the son with special needs that needed a dad with the patience of the man I married and a little sister with the drive to take care always of those around her. And her twin brother, the one to make us laugh and remember what it is to just be a kid. They were the world’s best science experiment God could have conducted. And let no one take away the sense of achievement that is a well-built Lego fort, but also a troll castle once you begin to narrate. Art meets science meets real life.
When Paul told the Ephesians, just before his fond farewell, to never forget their gifts, to pursue them with fervor and diligence, he was urging them to live a life enmeshed with truth, so stuck between the wires of every day that you’d never pick it clean. Try as you might, you can never separate life from Life. We are God’s creatures and we are designed to live as such. “Life and doctrine” are one, whether we like it or not. We are always creating, blending the events of ourselves into the story of a life.
Madeleine L’Engle, that weaver of magic and of truth, once said,
“But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint or clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life…”
You can be a creative scientist. You can be a practical artist. You can let the two sides of yourselves form a truce. The world of black-and-white, of “this is how I am and will always be” can feel safe. It is safe. It is clearly delineated. But in the end, it is still too small. God wants the full spectrum of colors for you. He wants to fingerpaint over the walls in your mind with the truth that he has more for you than the box in which you set up camp.
Sunday Thoughts Link Up!
It’s time for another Sunday Thoughts Link-Up! I know there are many out there with wisdom that could encourage all of us. As long as it’s Biblically-based, I’d love for you to join up and then read and comment on what others have shared. Please also leave a comment here. Think of this as a Sunday morning community group that comes to you. And grab the button if you like…
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