“Remember that He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted –i.e., keep fulfilling all the obvious duties of your station (you really know quite well enough what they are!), asking forgiveness for each failure and then leaving it alone. You are in the right way. Walk—don’t keep looking at it.” C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume 3
This quote reminds me of several other quotes. It reminds me of the verse in Isaiah where it says,
“But now, O LORD, You are our Father,We are the clay, and You our potter;And all of us are the work of Your hand.”
It reminds me of another C.S. Lewis when he says in essence, it is not our duty to succeed. Finally, it reminds the saying, “Just do the next right thing.”
Perhaps you are like me, however. I tend to forget this idea. I “work” hard to grow. And the harder I work, the more I expect results. But that is not our job. Our only job is to keep showing up. We are simply along for the ride. We will grow, if we keep showing up. We will grow at the right rate, at the right time, for the right purpose.
Paradoxically, the Christian life is such that the harder we try to grow, the harder we “work”, the longer it takes. Yes, we need to show up. But our job is simply to be malleable, amenable to when and how He works in our lives. We will grow at different paces. There will be times of tremendous growth and long stretches of dryness. And our lives will rarely develop the way we hope or plan. We save ourselves so much angst if we simply remember this and alter our expectations.
Hold on to the following truth:
[T]hat He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.
He is painting a beautiful picture in your life…as long as you let Him. Rest comfortably in that truth. Stop striving or fighting it. Trust it instead.