Saturday, June 27, 2015

Going With The Flow

My daughter and I were working on a Father's Day gift for my husband.  We decided instead of purchasing a ready made gift, we would get a couple canvases, and have fun putting our creative minds together, and painting his Father's Day gift.

Did you read what I wrote about having fun, and putting our creative minds together? Sounds like a great idea doesn't it?  But, somewhere between purchasing the canvases, and painting the canvases I lost sight of the fun, and togetherness my daughter and I were planning to have.  When it came time to start painting I had all these great ideas in my head.  Another words, I had come up with a plan, and exactly how I wanted "our" paintings to look, but I wasn't considering the ideas in my 6 year old daughter's head or, her willingness to wing it.

I am a planner.  I like everything laid out before I begin a project.  In fact, I have a really hard time starting a project if I don't have a full plan, and all the tools I need to execute my project.  I don't necessarily think this is a bad quality to have.  It means I like to get the job done, and I like it done right...the 1st time.  Where this can cause me much grief is, I often don't start things because if I can't see the end result, then I feel like I will fail.  Or, if things aren't going the way I planned I get frustrated, and want to quit, and/or ruin the whole experience for myself, and anyone involved (especially my family).  But, over the years God has been gently trying to teach me that with every failed attempt, you can learn what not to do when you start the project again.  You see, for years I've looked at my failed attempts as nothing more than failures.  While there are definitely times in our lives we need to walk away from a situation, and not return, there are also times in our lives that just because something doesn't go the way we plan it to, it doesn't mean we should quit all together.

My husband has this amazing quality to improvise.  If he starts out doing something, and he figures out after getting started his original plan won't work, he can step back, take another look at his project, and usually within a short period of time he can start again with new ideas.  Anthony has no problem with stepping back multiple times during a project, and improvising how he first envisioned what his project will look like, or how it will end up.  I say all this because thank the good Lord, my daughter has the gift of improvising too.  Not that my daughter and Anthony never get frustrated, but they are both much better than I am about going with the flow.

My husband's, and now my daughter's, "go with the flow" personality has driven me nuts many times.  Because I am always trying to plan things out, I often times miss out on the fun we could be having by trying to control how I think our situation should go.  And, unfortunately my daughter and our painting project was turning out to be the very same not enjoying our time together because of my plan.

I had laid out all the supplies we were going to need for our Father's Day project.  I had this great plan on how both canvases should look.  I explained to my daughter on one canvas we should paint an outside scenery with bees and flowers.  This spring my husband started bee keeping.  He loves it, and my daughter has so much fun going out to the hive with him to care for the bees...she has no fear.  So, when I mentioned painting bees and flowers my daughter was all for it, plus she wanted to paint my husband in his bee suit, and the hive.  "Ok, ok", I said the my daughter, "but let's be careful, and not get too crazy, we want the painting to look good."  (I am am rolling my eyes, and laughing at myself as I type what I said to her)

As I began to paint the first canvas, I started painting the blue sky, showed my daughter how to do it then she finished.  As I put green paint on the plate before loading the sponge to paint the grass,my daughter said, "let me paint the grass on my own".  Reluctantly, I loaded up the sponge, and handed it to her.  Right before she started, she said, "I'm going to paint a hill", and took the sponge and started painting.  Below you can see what she did, all on her own she painted the hill.  I was so impressed.  Not because I didn't think she could paint a hill, but because I was going to paint a flat ground that would have looked very boring, and, well, very flat.  But, my daughter envisioned so much more than flat and boring.

While we let the 1st canvas dry, we started on the next one.  I would love to tell you that I saw how creative my daughter could be, so I let her do whatever she wanted on the next canvas, but that wouldn't be the full truth.  I wanted to do stripes.  But, not just any stripes, I wanted to have the stripes over lap one another, so the color from one stripe would carry into the next stripe.  My daughter wasn't very interested in that idea, she wanted to paint a heart, and after the heart anything else that came to her mind...she was going to go with the flow.  

I was watching her paint the heart for her daddy, and I was thinking, "I really wanted to do stripes."  Remember what I wrote earlier?  When I have a plan it's very hard for me to deviate from that plan.  So, I walked over grabbed the other paint brush, and proceeded to paint stripes.  My daughter didn't have a problem with the stripes, she was totally fine with us both painting our ideas, but I was becoming very anxious.  After she finished painting the heart, she began to place random brush strokes all over the canvas.  My daughter painted some stripes here, some squiggly lines there, some dots and a very random big blob.  I took a picture of her painting the random big blob because I wanted to show my husband later what all I had to "endure" during our are project.  But, after taking the picture I felt the Lord gently speaking to my heart.  I knew I needed to walk away from the painting, and allow my free spirited child to paint whatever master piece for her daddy that she wanted to.  I told her as I put my paint brush down, "I'm going to walk away." And she said, "good cause you're distracting me."  OUCH!  I thought I was doing a pretty good job of holding in my anxiousness about our "chaotic" art project, but obviously I wasn't.

You see, my little family is getting ready to embark on a new adventure, and we are all very, very excited about it.  But, what I discovered from my daughter, and our little art project, is if I'm not careful, I will take all the fun, and all the adventure out of our adventure.  If I get so caught up in making plans, and getting frustrated along the way because they don't work out, I may want to quit, or if nothing else I may steal all the joy out of it for all of us because I am so focused on "The Plan" 

I believe with all my heart God created me to be a planner.  I also believe God put my husband, and I together because of his more go with the flow personality.  And, I guess I needed more of the go with flow people in my life, so He blessed us with our daughter (Praise God).  

As I write this blog I feel a bit silly, and very vulnerable because I don't like for people to see my anxious, and sometimes "controlling the situation" ways.  I want to be that free spirited person that can just go with the flow, and not get derailed because my plan doesn't work out.  I, also, don't want to be the one that ruins my family's fun because I get so caught up in how "it's supposed to go".  I want my husband, and my daughter to be proud of me.  I want my husband, and my daughter to know they can trust me with their ideas, and that I won't blow them off because I think my idea is better.  I want the Lord to know He can trust me with His plans for our lives.  I want the Lord to know I can start out with one plan, and when it doesn't work, I don't have to have a pity party, and quit.  I can go back to the drawing board with my family, and we can think up a new way to execute our plans.  Unfortunately,  that's really been my problem all along.  I've been trying to do it all on my own...trying to come up with, and execute my own plans expecting my family to just follow along.  But, what happens is, when my plans don't work out I get frustrated, feel like a failure, and want to quit.  However, when I team up with Lord, my husband and my daughter, yes, we might make mistakes, and, yes, we might have to start all over again...time and time again, but at least we're doing it together... at least we're doing it as a family. 

"Two people are off better than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.  Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.  Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken"  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Please note that my daughter is not scarred for life from our painting project (See her beautiful smiling face in the picture below).  My husband loved his paintings.  Anthony even remarked how he loves that he can see both our daughter's, and my creative skills in both paintings. (See our finished paintings below)

In His Grip,