"Inside - Out." This has been a theme in my life.
In the 80's when I was teaching art at my children's Christian school I kept praying and asking the Lord, "What should I be teaching the children?" I kept hearing a whisper in my heart - "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" I prayed again and again, and that is what I heard - "Out of the abundance of the heart the moth speaks." Working around my classroomI told the Lord I really wanted to a good job - what kind of projects should I do? What principles should I teach the students? I always heard, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks!" Finally I just said, "Lord, why do I keep hearing that verse? I don't get it! What am I missing?" Instantly in my heart I knew that just as my words are verbal communication and flow out of my art - my art is visual communication. The Lord whispered that He wanted me to teach the children that "what's in their hearts will come out in their art." Suddenly I had the answer for all the ugly and grotesque art out there in the world! I was able to say to the children, "It's too bad that's all the guy had in heart, right?!? I'm so glad that your heart is full of things are good, and lovely, and true. Let's Think on these things!"(Phil. 4:8)
I began to teach the children that God is the Master Designer and Creator of the universe and that He created all things - and He specially designed each one of them! I talked about how He created us with the desire to design and add beauty to our surroundings. Even someone in a simple home on the other side of the world designed utensils, wove baskets, and fabricated clothing. Everything man-made that they could see, started as a thought - an idea - in someone's heart!
I taught them God's elements and principles of design, and assured them that if they use God elements and follow His principles of design they would create something beautiful. And the same thing is true of our lives— when we follow God's principles things go well for us and our lives become His Masterpiece. Think about a sculptor, looking a a block of wood. In his mind he can see the beautiful creation it will become. He sees potential and then draws it out, carving away all that is not part of his vision for the final design. In the same way, as we allow God to carve away all those things that are not part of His deign for our lives, we allow Him to shape our lives into something beautiful.
Delightful creations began to dance down the hallways of Community Christian Academy as I displayed their work above their lockers. Eventually I was asked to teach workshops for teachers, which led to an invitation to serve as adjunct faculty at North Central University in Minneapolis. It was my privilege to write a book that was used in the Education Department for the Art Methods class for many years—"What's in Your Heart, Comes Out in Your Art." You can see some of my students' work here. For information on obtaining a pdf or hard copy of What's in Your Heart Comes Out in Your Art.
"Inside-out" has become a theme in my life! Watch for thoughts on what I did to transfer my passion for design to coaching leaders to live and lead form the inside-out.