Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. – Proverbs 3:5 (MSG)
When I arrived, my friend had a canvas on an easel, a nearby container of multi-sized brushes, and a massive set of acrylic paints that’d make a rainbow feel uncolorful. Sensing my intimidation at the intricate art space, he soothed my fears of inadequacy as he began sharing his passion.
For months, he’d been inviting me to paint, finally caving when he offered to create a joint piece. He effortlessly dipped and swirled his chosen brush into the globs of paint squeezed onto the palette, telling me he didn’t always know how things would turn out and relied on the process of discovering while he painted.
As his brushes left colorful trails across the canvas, I eventually joined him—not quite as naturally—with my own, each layer using smaller brushes to introduce different shapes and finer details. The perfectionist in me judged every stroke, belittling my efforts as we went. Frustrated, I stepped away to get water (and briefly nurse my disappointment at my contributions).
To my surprise, when I returned, the canvas full of my mediocre brush strokes ruining his professional ones magically became a whole piece of beautiful art! Taking a moment to rest and tend to my very real feelings allowed me the opportunity to get back into the work with renewed perspective beyond the frustrating details obstructing my vision.
I’m still learning how to trust The Process. Imperfectly.
Redirect us—from perfecting how to do things right, toward trusting you to guide us in imperfectly doing the right things. Remind us that we’re all essential contributors to the beautiful world you envision. Amen.
The Rev. Phiwa Langeni is the Ambassador for Innovation & Engagement of the United Church of Christ. They are also the Founder of Salus Center, the only LGBTQ resource and community center in Lansing, MI.