A few years ago, I took a trip to Italy and got exposed to the beautiful art of mosaics. I wanted to learn how to do it and so I have taken a few classes. Little did I know that God would use the process of creating a mosaic to challenge one of my long-held beliefs that is one of the primary drivers of stress in my life. That belief is simply this:
I must always strive to do things perfectly,
or at least as perfectly as humanly possible
Yes, the pressure to try to be perfect is the driver of much of my mental and emotional angst in life.
And I am thankful that the art of creating a mosaic has challenged my unhealthy drive toward perfection!
Please let me explain a few things you need to know about creating a beautiful mosaic that will help you understand how God has challenged my wrong thinking.
In order to create a beautiful mosaic, these steps must be followed:
Step 1: Gather some imperfect materials
Go to the Goodwill and buy some old dishes that are unwanted and have been discarded. Then break them into small pieces of pottery shard so that they are completely useless from a practical point of view.
Step 2: Work doing the best you can in the time that you have
Envision a design. Then apply adhesive to the mosaic surface and place the broken shards on the adhesive according to the design, making extra cuts as necessary. Sounds easy, right? Not really. Cutting the small shards to a specific shape can be very challenging. And even when you think you have all of them glued down in the right place, you step back and take a long look and you see just a bunch of broken pieces of pottery with many irregularities and rough edges. The temptation at this stage is to try to spend hours re-cutting and rearranging the shards to get them just right. But the adhesive is drying, so there just isn’t that much time. This is the point of discouragement in mosaics. What you have created so far just doesn’t look right. But the adhesive is drying, so there just isn’t enough time to fix everything that could possibly be fixed.
Step 3: Trust the grout to do its work
Give the adhesive a good week to completely harden and then mix up the grout and spread it evenly over the shards, being very careful to press the grout into every nook and cranny. Give it a few minutes to dry. At this point, the piece looks nothing short of horrible. Then take a towel or a piece of newspaper and rub away the dried grout from the tops of the pieces of shard. The results are amazing. The grout has performed two very important functions:
Creating a mosaic is a great representation of how God’s grace is at work in the lives of those who love Him as we go about building and creating in our lives.
Because of His love for us, we are freed from the pressure to be perfect as we trust Him to take our work and bless it, making it useful for that which it was intended.
It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Psalm 127:2 (NASB)
But he said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
As I do creative and building work in my life:
I start with imperfect materials. I have many shortcoming and weaknesses.
I often become discouraged in my work, even as I do the best I can with the time and resources I have. Even when I am trying my best, there are many irregularities and rough edges in my work. I want to keep trying to make it perfect, but there just isn’t enough time. Why can’t I seem to get it right?
I am always amazed by how when I put my trust in God, He covers my work with His grace. As I trust God with the energy and effort invested in my work, the discouragement fades and the Spirit takes over and gives me joy. The result of my work is something more beautiful and purposeful than I could have ever imagined.
It is trusting in God’s grace that sets us free
from the unhealthy drive of perfectionism
and all the mental and emotional angst that goes with it.
In doing mosaics, I’ve learned that there is grace is in the grout.
In life, I’m learning that God’s grace covers me as I diligently work despite my limitations, doing the best I can with the time and resources that I have. His grace overcomes my weaknesses and limitations to produce something useful, purposeful and maybe even beautiful. Only God can do that and only He deserves the praise and honor for anything good that my hands create.
How about you? As you create and build in your life, are you trusting in your abilities and your drive for perfection or are you trusting in God’s grace?
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About the author:
Hello! My name is Ginger Hill and I am a Christ follower and a wellness professional. Over the years, I have personally and professionally seen the benefits of healthy living and I have also seen the hardships of struggling to practice good health habits in the midst of a busy and sometimes stressful life. I am passionate about helping myself and others to live a healthy lifestyle and I believe that good health is essential in helping us to do the good works that God has called us to do. Because I am a work in progress, I write these blog posts to encourage myself and I share them with others in the hope that they may be encouraged as well.
Psalm 92:12,14 (NLT)
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