I’ve been mulling over the words of Psalm 37 for the last 2 weeks- or at least some of them. The best known, and probably most often quoted, verse is: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (vs 4). It has been special for me in the past as I prayed for God to improve a situation I was in. However, that is not my reason for dwelling on it now.
As I wrote in a previous posts (Don’t give up painting especially when doubting your ability and Playing with colour), I am seeking some sort of idea of where to focus my art and creativity. However, as I thought about it more, I realised that like many people, I was focusing on myself, my desires, my wants, and needs rather than on God.
It is easy to stop at verse 4 and not bother with the rest of the psalm which is really about not fretting when evil people seem to succeed. We should not be concerned with others, comparing them to ourselves. Nobody is perfect, and when it comes to art or being creative it is definitely NOT a good idea to look at all the talent that others have got. It only magnifies our own lack of talent. What I am learning this week (again!) is to simply be myself and enjoy my art. If others also enjoy it, then that is great! But I do not do art for the compliments (although I have to confess it is good to get them). I do art because I enjoy it and it is a way for me to express myself.
I will continue to seek to be aware of God’s Presence more in my life, to quiet and calm myself when feeling in a low mood, upset or angry. Today’s readings with the Celtic Daily Prayer are a helpful reminder:
Psalm 131:1–3 O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvellous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time on and for evermore.
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Matthew 25:35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
We all want the peace that comes from resting in God’s presence. And there is nothing wrong with that. Indeed God longs for us to spend time simply being with him, not rushing around busy doing things. Not for nothing did he commend Mary for sitting at his feet and listening to him to her sister Martha who was concerned with the catering arrangements.
We need to be BOTH a Mary and a Martha. Not one or the other. When we delight in the Lord’s Presence, when we enjoy reading our bibles and praying, we will find that we will seek to do justice, love kindness and look after the needy. When we actively seek and desire to take on more and more the mind of Christ, then we will naturally desire what God desires. When that happens he will be delighted to give us our heart’s desires. We are promised that if we draw near to God then he will draw near to us (James 4:8).
This is the picture I did last week. I wasn’t sure if it was finished or not, but I don’t think I will add to it now.