How do you keep your values front and center in your life? Last month, a friend helping a local group of social workers review their core values approached me about creating a painting. During their brainstorming, the team brainstormed words and some images that helped them visualize their values. The group generated images of a child under a tree, an artist painting their future, and Rosie the Riveter. After seeing the image of the artist, my friend generously thought about my paintings and called me up, seeking a commission. She asked for a painting that incorporated the images and the words that the team had brainstormed together. It was a joy and a learning opportunity to do this painting for Katy! She plans to hang the artwork in her office and make prints that the other team members could view daily.
The Sabbath day came into practice when the Israelite people were suffering under the harsh conditions of Pharaoh and his leaders. They were constantly working and never meeting Pharaoh’s expectations. So God came in a commanded something transformation. He commanded the Israelite people take a day of rest. This day of rest became an act of resistance to the ways of the world. It stood up for the value of people that went beyond how many bricks they could make each day.
Working in campus ministry, I witness many students whose lives are filled with work and expectations. There is expectations to get high grades, to join campus groups and participate faithfully, there are expectations to be physically fit and look beautiful each day, and expectations to make money so you are not living of loans or your parent’s dime.
All the while there is an expectation that you stay mentally sane and balanced while all these different pressures collide.
A grad student at our campus ministry recently took a day off after becoming violently ill. They said it was the first time they had EVER taken a sick day. “I feel so much more alive,” they reflected at work today.
Taking a day of rest is not an act of laziness. Taking a day of rest is not a sign of failure. Instead we must honor our days of rest, first because they honor God and second because they allow us to rise boldly for the week ahead of us.
Do you need to rise boldly? Consider taking a day of rest.
Join me this August for a two day retreat to reflect on Sabbath, Creativity, and Faith. Learn more here.
In December I was invited to lead a confirmation class. The theme of the class was exploring our faith by painting. Most of the students were new to the idea of intuitive painting. We started our a little slow, but soon students began to experiment with color, texture, shapes and words. I encouraged students to incorporate a path to represent that faith is a journey. Some students chose to incorporate a symbol that was important to their faith journey.
When reflecting afterward one student remarked, “At first I thought my painting had to look like everyone else’s, but then I realized it could be whatever I wanted it to be.” I’d call that a success!