I was thinking about my recent acrylics workshop in New Orleans and how the experience reminds me of how the Holy Spirit works in our life. Okay I know the analogy is unconventional but don’t give up on me until you hear the connection. I went to this acryllics workshop for 3 full days. The first day the introduction and lesson was about 30 minutes long and that was it. That was all of the formal teaching. I thought, ”I just spent $300.00 for this guy to sit around and watch us paint”. How could he think I could even paint a picture at this point? I didn’t feel any different or really any more equipped.
But everyone else was painting so I just started. I tried not to be too needy at first. (Don’t you sometimes feel that way with the Holy Spirit too?) I felt like I was bothering the artist. Others were grabbing him to get his advice or to ask what their next step should be. Finally I really was stuck. I didn’t know what to work on next or which direction to go and I didn’t want to mess up my picture. So I was paralyzed. Then he walked by me and I timidly whispered “When you get a second can you please help me?” In like two minutes he had me on my way again. I even felt confident for about two more minutes. But, inevitably I would reach a point where I didn’t know what to do next. I tried to extract the whole picture from him. To find out what the next step and the next step and then the next step would be, but he never seemed to disclose more than I needed at that moment. He would show me a technique or used a color that always made me cringe as the brush headed for my canvas, but then worked perfectly. He would tell me to keep working on one area but to “stop already” on another. It was frustrating, but what choice did I have. I was blind and I had to trust his vision, his experience and his wisdom. After all this was the biggest canvas I had ever attempted, so if it looked bad it was going to not only be ugly, but “big and ugly”.
Now, come on, isn’t this sort of similar to how it is with the Holy Spirit. I became a Christian and all of the sudden everyone said “You are filled with the Holy Spirit now and you are a new person.” I didn’t feel new. I felt the same as I had 30 minutes earlier. I didn’t get a 3 day workshop with the Holy Spirit on how to do life now that I was born again. I kept praying for the Holy Spirit to show me signs and to give me clarity. I wanted to see the completed painting of my new life, brilliant with color and vivacity. I was at times scared to act because now I was supposed to be God’s child and I didn’t want to be a poor reflection of Him. (I didn’t want to be “big and ugly”.) Although I didn’t get the framed painting, the Holy Spirit did seem to give me the next step. Should we buy an architectural wood products manufacturing business and I go into business with my husband? No clarity, but a constant feeling of unease and the “blessing” of no financing. It was like the Holy Spirit took my paint brush away. The door was shut. Should I become a Christian Counselor? No answer, but I passed the entrance exam and was admitted into the program at LSU. Should I do private practice? The advisors said that no one gets their hours for internship if they intern with a private practice. I was able to get all of my hours. So I took the next step.
At the end of my painting workshop I had a respectable painting of a New Orleans Garden. I even felt like I had done it myself because it seemed if I added up the minutes he spent with me personally it was definitely less than an hour. So I left New Orleans with my pretty framed painting quite pleased with myself but not sure how I felt about the Artist who seemed to only spoon feed me small bites of his evidently vast knowledge.
Then I came home and was flying solo in the painting world. I tried to paint my own picture alone in my very, very quiet studio. No one to watch. No one to ask for help. No new techniques. No crazy use of purple. I didn’t know where to turn. I was lost. It made me realize that the Artist deserved the credit, and my praise, rather than admonishment. I felt humbled. I realized that all of the times I feel like I am working things out on my own or that a positive result has occurred I need to thank the Holy Spirit for His guidance. He is such an expert because He knows just how much help we each need and measures it out perfectly. It is like He is there waiting for us to turn to him and whisper “Lord, if you have a second can I get a little help?”
Roger Butner says
Beautifully said, Sue! I could so relate to your description of learning and trying and growing. And I loved the metaphor for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives, especially about how He doesn’t reveal to us more than we are ready to face.
(I’m glad you tweeted your post!)
We are so lucky as believers to have such a wonderful guide! Thanks for the feedback Roger.
Holly Rabalais says
What a great analogy, Sue…I love how the Holy Spirit “spoon feeds” me just when I need it most. Thanks for allowing Him to use you to speak to many.
teri morell says
That was a really sweet story Sue. I could especially relate because of all the artists in my family. . . . one stroke at a time is what I’m learning too. . .
The Holy Spirit is definitely with you Teri. It is evident to all who know you! You are a light.