This weeks SPV email is written by Kid City Children's Pastor Amy Coyle.
"Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." - The Man In Black (Princess Bride, 1987)
As we grew, most of our parents did their best to shield us from the harshness of the world. They made us wear knee pads and helmets, had us call "when we got there", and implemented curfews. They also told us not to talk to strangers and encouraged us to make good friends.
They wanted us to be safe; physically, as well as emotionally.
But for all of us, at one point or another, pain won and all the helmets and phone calls home couldn't undo what had happened.
I'm fully convinced that trauma and disappointment are unavoidable and inevitable. If you trust others, the potential for betrayal is there. If you open your heart, the risk of heartbreak is there. If you jump out of a plane...ok you get my point.
The strange thing is that without that possibility of danger or pain, the beauty of life would dull significantly. Trust is valuable because it's rare. Love is magical because heartbreak is all around us. And if skydiving were 100% safe, it would be just another way to work.
The even stranger thing is that in these moments of pain, we often turn to God; not for help, but for meaning. "Why did you let that happen, God?" "Why can't I find work?" "Why did they have to die?"
Each of us is the artist of our lives. Getting mad at God when life doesn't go as planned is a lot like yelling at the art supply store that your painting doesn't look right. It might feel good, but it doesn't change a whole lot. And complaining or continuing in unhealthy cycles is a lot like an artist blaming his paint and brush.
You've been given the tools (the skills, character, and opportunity), the knowledge (your past), and the blank canvas (your life). Yes, life is painful and messy and difficult sometimes, even a lot of the time. But it's worth it! And the messiness of life doesn't mean it's not beautiful.
If you don't believe me, just try comparing the value of one of those Paint-by-Numbers to a Jackson Pollock.
You are the artist. Go paint!