It’s Okay

You’re feeling great, moving confidently in your purpose, passion burning, goals met, connections made. Everything is in motion. Then it all comes to an abrupt halt.

You’re feeling great, moving confidently in your purpose, passion burning, meeting goals, making connections.  Everything is in motion.  Then it all comes to an abrupt halt.  Something unexpected happens and no matter how you try to press on or press through you simply cannot. It’s impossible to move forward.

The block could come from financial struggles, health crisis (yours or a loved one’s), failure in a relationship, or even an unexpected global pandemic. Don’t panic.  It’s all going to be okay.

If your finances collapse and you need to take a job unrelated to your dream in order to stay on your feet– it’s okay.   

If you become physically or mentally unwell, and you need to take time to overcome it— it’s okay.

If someone you love is in crisis and you need to give them your time for a while—  it’s okay. 

If the world comes to a standstill and you don’t have it in you to figure out how to carry on with remote technology or without one-on-one connection or you feel stressed, overwhelmed– it’s okay.     

As someone who has faced each of these issues in the past few years, there were times when I thought if I wasn’t pushing towards my goals every moment then everything I had built so far was completely lost. But I discovered that when you are pursuing your true purpose, you do not have to blast your way through to it and struggle over every little move or lack of movement. Your true purpose will still be there when you are ready to get back into the swing of things. Don’t misunderstand me, building your life towards your purpose is hard work, there are times you have to fight your way towards your purpose, but you’ll never have to fight something into being your purpose. It’s a natural extension of yourself. It’s always been a part of you, will always been there waiting for you to discover/rediscover it. It will always be there for you. You’ll equip yourself for it again and pursue it. It may take a little extra time and effort to get it back to the shape where you left off, and it may not be going in exactly the same direction it once was, but it’s okay.

After the struggle, after the crisis, after the failure, after the pandemic, when you look up from the bottom and, if for some reason your purpose is NOT there, then it really wasn’t your purpose at all. And if it was not – it’s okay. Don’t get discouraged, just take time to regroup, rethink, restructure. And start again. It’s okay.

Your purpose does not depend upon any monetary condition, any state of health, the presence or absence of any person, or the condition of the world at large. Your purpose fits you no matter the shape of your life, no matter the shape of the world. It will be there when you get back. Don’t worry. It’s okay.

Red Brushstrokes

Photo of the actual oil painting referenced
is courtesy of Steve Scheibe at visibleinvisible*.

In December, I attended an art show of a new friend*.  His lakeside gallery was filled with beautiful watercolors, silk banners, stone lithographs and more.  In a small sun-filled corner was his latest commissioned project currently in progress.  Around the easel were photos of the subject and all the requisite tools of an artist: containers of paint, brushes, rags, drop cloth, etc.  In the center of it all the client’s requested seascape was forming on an oversized canvas.  Brushstrokes had created the silhouettes of cliffs, trees, the horizon, and rock formations.  But to my surprise, it was all done in red paint.  Not what I expected. He explained this was a special technique and when he later applied the familiar hues of sand, water, and sky, the red base underneath would bring warmth to the entire composition. Layers would also be added in some areas that needed intensity in their depth. The idea completely intrigued me – setting down a foundation to make what was later placed over it feel warmer and stronger.

For weeks afterward I thought about it and I found myself comparing the painting to my life as I face challenging times.  Do hard times just hit me free and clear?  Do I just hold my breath hoping it’s not too destructive this time?  Or have I laid a foundation that lessens the impact of these challenges, making them not quite so dark and damaging but allows warmth and strength to seep through?  

When I freely give control of the purpose and design of my life to God, I also take the responsibility to follow and keep up with Him as He moves.  I need to create a base that helps me hold onto Him as He adds to and subtracts from my life, or when He takes me in a direction I haven’t anticipated and don’t understand. That base layer – my red paint – shows through and helps me stand firm.  That layer is more than just having a positive attitude or reciting affirmations.  I must deliberately lay down thick, red brushstrokes of hope and grace.  Hope that comes from remembering His faithfulness to me in the past and trusting He will continue to do good things now and in the future.  Grace that reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect and I am not relying on my own abilities to get everything right.

When I intentionally build towards His purpose for my life and I equip myself with hope and grace, I can pursue it with a sense of warmth and strength, even when my life is not picture perfect.    

*Steve Scheibe is an accomplished and awarded artist with over two decades of professional art experience. On his website, visibleinvisible, he has posted “An Oil Painting in Progress” which follows the development of this project. While you’re there, please browse through the rest of his site and enjoy the other excellent artwork Steve has produced.