What Makes You Feel So Alive?

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It was girl’s night out!  Don’t we need those every so often?  I still remember from a few months ago when I celebrate friend’s birthday with a group of girlfriends at a Paint Nite party.  Have you ever been to one of those?  I had never been to one but had always wanted to when I first heard about them.  I was really looking forward to the time to catch up with my friends’ lives as we ate dinner before painting at a restaurant in Mebane, NC.  When it was time, we walked into their side room where the restaurant had been transformed into a make-shift art studio.  When I walked in that room, my heart literally skipped a beat and a smile grew on my face that I couldn’t control and I don’t think it went away until I fell asleep that night.

Even though I received a degree in Art many years ago (and haven’t practiced it in almost just as many years), I have hardly ever used the medium paint.  My specialty involved ink, charcoal and chalk pastels.  But that night the medium didn’t matter, it’s just the art itself that ignited my passion.  For me that night, it was the art of simply being.  I had honestly not felt alive for a while but with a blank canvas in front of me, four paint-speckled paintbrushes, and a white, Styrofoam plate with puddles of red, yellow, blue and white acrylic paint on it, I came back to life.

The first strokes on the canvas of light blue paint for the sky made me feel like I was flying in it.   Adding pale pink, pastel yellow and white for the clouds seemed to magically appear.  We were to stop painting to let the sky dry before beginning the next section of the painting, but it was hard not to!  The next instruction was to swirling together a little bit of blue and a little more of yellow to create a nature green for tall grass with the brush, I started at the bottom of the canvas, stroked the brush onto the canvas in an upward motion as blades of grass and stems of flowers grew.  When finished with those, I dipped my brush into yellow, orange, even blue and purple paint to create dots.  It was an explosion of color as the flowers popped on the canvas.

Creating my own colors, the smoothness of running a brush up the canvas that left a colorful blade of grass behind it was so simple yet so fulfilling.  It felt like Someone was pouring, almost dumping, colors of happiness, hope, joy and resurrection into what had been feeling like a lifeless soul.

I agree with the words of artist Paul Cezanne: “A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.”

The field of flowers I painted was no masterpiece, but it did not lack any emotion.  Enthusiastic. Light-hearted. Happy and joy-full. They were all rekindled within me. Another Paul wrote these words in the Bible, For we are God’s masterpieces.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph. 2:10)

I embraced every second of that hour, and still think of that night often. Being comforted with friends, being gifted with a blank canvas and some paint, being refreshed with hope and joy are what I embraced.

What is your art?  What is your passion?  What is the thing that you enjoy doing that makes your heart become even more alive?

Is it music, sewing, painting, crafting, writing, or taking photographs?  Is it playing a sport, dancing, holding babies, baking, gardening, walking barefoot along the beach shore, spending time with friends or having an hour, day or weekend of solitude?

You, my friend, are God’s masterpiece whom He created with unique passions and abilities to use to glorify Him.  When what you’re doing makes you feel more alive, free, smile, laugh and full of deep joy, then do that as often as possible!  Our Father loves to see us thrive and doing the things He knows we enjoy doing and are even good at.  Those are true gifts from Him.  I once read that when we don’t open our gifts from God, or hide it, or if we do open it, and put it back in the box and slide it under the bed, then we’re insulting God.  I had never thought of it that way and humbled me. So, FIND a place to play with the gift He has given you!

He has created you anew in Christ Jesus, friend!

Beth Hildebrand

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