God's Toughest Lessons

When I was a freshman in college studying Art, one of my very first classes was Drawing 101. The teacher of the class had long hair, a beard, was always barefoot with beat up overalls and always with his big black dog following him. It was the 70s. As that first semester class progressed, he noted each student's drawing abilities. Some students were very meticulous and their drawings were usually realistically rendered, staying within the lines as you might say. Other students were looser and drew with a more freeform style with interesting perspectives, broad strokes and smudges.
After my teacher became familiar with each student's style, he gave a new assignment. He went to each student individually, looked at what they had accomplished so far and asked each of them to create a piece of art that was the OPPOSITE of their preferred style. He was challenging them about their own set ways of thinking.

If a student was very realistic and detail oriented, he wanted to see how they would create an abstract. If a student liked looser, freeform drawing, he asked them to be more regimented. If a student liked to use a fine pencil a lot he asked him to use a block of charcoal.

He wanted to see what happened when each of the students created a work of art that was against their natural way of doing things.

It was a very interesting assignment and I did find it difficult to change the way I usually approached my art, but I stepped out of my usual habits and found the results interesting. I learned that there wasn't only one way of seeing things, but that all things were possible and it was up to me to open that world to these possibilities. He wanted each of us to get out of our self-imposed boxes and IT WORKED.

This first lesson as a freshman, helped change my perspective with all my future projects and eventually extended into my work and personal life. It was a terrific assignment.

Well I have come to understand that God works in a similar way with us. God is continuously teaching and challenging us on an individual basis in our life/spiritual lessons; and many times He asks us to do the opposite of what we really want to do.

In my journey with God, I have had various ups and downs in my life and in each of these episodes I have learned a lesson. One of the reasons I can have a difficult time learning things is because #1, I tend to do things in the same old way; #2, Change is difficult, and #3, the only way I really learn anything is by experience. My best lessons are from actual life experiences, because they are the ones that resonate in my heart and soul.

It took a long time to realize that many of the events in my life were specifically tailored for me by God; and much of the time, what I needed to learn was to do the OPPOSITE of what I wanted to do. When I felt angry, resentful, hateful and bitter, the Lord asked me to consider seeing things with patience and forgiveness. When I wanted to run away from certain situations, He asked me to trust Him and not just escape and hide. When I gave into prejudging, God showed me how wrong I was about my false presumptions. When I thought I knew everything, He told me to open my mind for more He had to teach me. When I didn't want to love, He beckoned me to open my heart to all possibilities. So much of what I needed to do was the opposite of how I was thinking and feeling.

But this is what learning is about.

And just when I think I have learned everything, God challenges me to look with new eyes. God's teaching is never finished and each lesson is a stepping-stone to the next and designed specifically for me.

The greatest lessons I have learned have to do with LOVE: Loving God and loving everyone around me. And I am still learning.

© 2015 Edrick

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