14th October 2015, Prismacolor pencils on A3 cartridge paper
When I drew this picture, it came from a place of trying to express how I felt. I was trying to talk to God but I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to write but I didn’t know what to write. I wanted to talk to people but I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to serve God but I didn’t feel like I could.
I didn’t feel like me. I didn’t have any boldness anymore. I had a message I believed in that I wanted to tell the world: Be yourself and give what you have because we are here for others. But when I drew this picture I felt like I no longer had a message or the courage to share it.
When I was at a youth conference we were asked this question: If you had unlimited time and money, what five things would you do? It was a question to help us dream bigger. We were given a pen, a piece of paper, and some time to write our answers. When the time was up I had a blank piece of paper. Usually I would have struggled to keep my answer to five things, but at the time I didn’t feel like myself. I felt half here. Faint.
I was trying to figure out what was going on, why I felt like this. I couldn’t find the words to express myself so I tried to find a picture.
I felt like a bad person, so it was hard to give, to put energy into serving, and to be with people and look them in the eye. No matter what I did, it didn’t matter because I was bad. I felt like I couldn’t do anything or say anything. It was better to be silent and passive. It was safer that way. That’s why I felt like a ghost, and I just let life happen to me instead of participated in it. My hands and feet felt chained and my mouth was covered.
At the youth conference, one of the speakers talked about how God takes away our shame but he doesn’t take away our humanity. It’s my humanity that I was struggling with. My anger, selfishness, pride, jealousy, bitterness, judgement, manipulations, meanness, weakness, and brokenness. I felt like all this bad stuff was in my head and in my heart – in me.
I wanted to have peace, freedom, love, humility, selflessness, servanthood, safety, acceptance, healing, wholeness. But they seemed unreachable, as if they were outside myself like a balloon I’m holding by a string.
The reality, though, is that I do have these things because God gave them to me when he took all the bad stuff on the cross. It’s just that knowing how to live in this reality can feel like quantum physics. God is a stronger master than my humanity but I keep submitting to my humanity. I bow to my humanity instead of God. I’m learning how to bow to God and live in the reality where the balloon is in me instead of on a string.
Sometimes it feels impossible. And that’s okay. It’s okay to struggle with this stuff. I don’t need to hide it. Instead I can express it.
So there’s my picture. When words wouldn’t come, finding a picture to describe what I was going through helped. This is art therapy.