Tuesday, September 28, 2021

When It's Time to Leave It Alone

I’d nearly finished another small painting a few days ago when I noticed something weird in a lighter area of the painting—tiny fissures in what seemed to be the gesso coat under the oil paint. I held the painting up to the blaze of the afternoon sun--those same imperfections surfaced in other areas of the painting. What was going on? I’d never experienced this before.

I’d begun with a pre-primed canvas still in the shrink wrap. As you might imagine, after putting the work into the painting, disappointment dogged me.

No oil seeped through to the back side of the canvas so at least the marks were superficial. The way I’m wired, I like to find the underlying cause of things, and am given to pondering a situation so much that it can become larger than it is. I tried to run down something about the problem in a search engine. Should I cover it up or scrape the paint off and see what was happening underneath? After a while, I decided to do nothing. It is a vast understatement to say that is counterintuitive to me. But I moved on and started a new painting just like the one I’d nearly completed.

When I’d finished the next painting, I took another look at the first one. I can’t tell you what happened but by the time the first one had dried, the tiny marks had all but disappeared. I have no explanation for it.

The experience reinforced what God has often brought to mind.

Sometimes, we need to move on from a situation without getting all the solutions and let God do the work. We can get in there with our questions, queries, and plans of action, then before we know it, we’ve got a mess on our hands. If we’d left it alone, God would have worked it out for us.

Recently, a situation so burdened me, several times I reached for my phone to intervene and offer my advice. Every time, God reminded me that the most wonderful things he has done for me were done without my interference. God does a good job of running the world without me sitting on His board of directors. I continued to pray and a few months later, a breakthrough came—all without me butting in, which if I’d done may have caused much more harm than good.

Often, our part is to pray and then pray more. And to leave it alone.

Lately I’ve had on repeat “Be Alright,” a song by Danny Gokey, Evan Craft, and Redimi2. The lyrics include a snippet of that old children’s favorite, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” I play this song remembering the times when our family used to drive around with the kids in the backseat of the minivan singing at the top of our lungs. We’d sing verse after verse of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” inserting someone’s name in the place of the “Whole World” phrase. We ‘d keep going until we reached our destination.

Try this with whatever is weighing on you right now. Sing this song at the top of your lungs. Pray. Then try leaving it alone.

Who knows what God might do?

"Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). 

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is available wherever books are sold.  Also consider her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2021

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