“I have come so that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Lent is often a season that sends us spiraling into a series of questions:
“What could I do better? What should I sacrifice? What will be fixed over these 40 days?” We are a people who long to love God faultlessly and to know Him clearly, and these desires are beautiful ones to have. But, I wonder: How often am I missing out on Christ’s true abundance because of my focus on self-improvement and its required to-do’s? This season, I find myself rejecting my behavior-based goals and asking this instead:
Am I living the REAL life?
For years, I have been drawing broken-down boxes (always colorless and never perfect) like the ones you see displayed in white frames. They have always been, in a sense, my “artistic handwriting,” and a reminder of both my yearning for progress as well as my inability to grip progress perfectly. These forms speak to the modes of control and achievement that surround me (and all of us) daily. From our to-do-lists, to our calendars, to the keys on our computers, boxes guide our busied lives.
Take a moment, however, to lift your eyes from those frames and observe the paintings that drape behind them. Do you notice that those same boxes line the edges of these massive works? Do you see how they deconstruct and fall inward, toward a mass of color and vitality? When creating these paintings, I wanted to allow those boxes to lead into something greater, more alive. The process itself was one that constantly drew upon my faith, as I never know what an image will end up like and am thus left dependent on my Spirit to guide me. We—the body of Christ—are positioned in the center of two paintings that throw the concept of knowing and of striving on its head, opting to uplift what it means to have abundance of life instead. We are at the center of an ode—not to humanity’s checked boxes and accomplishments, but to the freedom we receive from those things. From coveting control to embracing release, from leading colorless, linear lives to living fearless expressions of faith, we are enabled to move.
My hope is for THIS movement to be the one that saturates our Lenten season. Just as my lines have been transformed within my canvases, let us see how our hearts may be transformed within our bodies—together, as the body of Christ.
–Taylor O. Thomas