It’s hard to feel proud of an accidental victory. Sometimes things just happen to be right first time: a coffee spill that forms the shape of the British Isles, a mis-hit shot that becomes a hole-in-one while playing mini golf, or a baking mishap that turns a chocolate cake into the best cookie you have ever eaten. Happy accidents are unusual and delightful, but they are rarely satisfying.
I wanted to tear the page out, when painting a waterfall with my six year old daughter today. The paints behaved strangely, I didn’t feel inspired by the image and I felt as though my hand was operating independently from my brain. I didn’t give up though, because I have learnt to trust the creative process. Things never look like they are going to work out until they do. My painting was not the best piece of work I have ever produced, but when I stopped, the result was pleasing enough. Perseverance took the scene from a blotchy blue mess to a recognisable image of a waterfall viewed through the trees.
My daughter had a worse time. Her attempt to add shadow meant that black paint gobbled up all the other colours and she left the table dejected and in tears. After a little pep talk and some guidance, she learnt that with acrylics, you can paint over what you don’t like and rescue virtually any disaster. When she gave it another go – with some help and instruction from mummy – she discovered the little artist inside herself and spent the rest of the day grinning with pride and showing her work of art to anyone who would look!
This year has been a lot like our painting. There have been moments when I thought that things had gone so wrong that there was no way to rescue anything. Mid-process is never the time to judge an outcome though. Only when we walk things through to completion can we really stand back and feel satisfaction. Sometimes the result won’t be good but other times the outcome will be better than we could have ever hoped. Abandoning the task half way through only guarantees that we will never know what might have happened if we had just persevered.
I think I would rather learn from a mistake than always wonder, ‘What if…’
Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Transforming Hearts for Christ, to Transform Hearts In All Generations