While I was gone…

We the staff of San Diego have been reflecting on the life of Elijah this last year during our quarterly spiritual formation retreats, where we go worship, study some scripture and be silent in the mountains for about 16 hours.

During this time, I realized that there has been a lot to process this year. Much to have joy about. And much to mourn. And at the end of the retreat, I found myself needing more. So I decided to use take some time off this week to seek God. I spent 5 days without facebook, twitter, internet, netflix. It was a decision to spend some time off really reflecting on the past and lean into my next two years on staff.

I needed to laugh and have joy about my victories. I needed to grieve and be aware of my woundedness from losses and failures. I needed to dream again.

There’s a lot of stuff I processed this past week. Too much to write, and some of it too private and should remain in my personal journal (where I complain like a teenage girl ha). I also painted. I’ve been trying to become more comfortable with my artistic side lately, to stop cringing when people call me artistic and just… embrace it (I had a much longer thought on this, but it’s just too long of a tangent).

The painting I did seems to portray the process I was going through this week.

So instead of writing a lot, here it is with pictures.

I transformed my tiny backyard this week into an art studio. Here is my backyard:

I did the painting over 5 days, in 3 parts.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

My paintings are how I process my prayers.

The first part, I was looking for a part of me I felt was missing.

The second part, I was reflecting on the storms and crises I had been through since september… and there have been a lot. I was also realizing how much I had learned about myself through those experiences.

The third part was a reminder of how God spoke to me when He called me on staff, and a very specific image that has a lot of personal meaning for myself. It was a reminder of how things began, and a reminder to hope for the future.

And that’s been this season really… A lot of storms. A lot of loss. But still a lot of fruit… and realizing that it all distracts me from some important things that are basic to the wellbeing of my soul.

This year, I am realizing the depth of my limitations and the simultaneous depth of His grace on me. The biggest thing I’m coming away with is that in order for me to thrive in this next season, I need to stop trying to expand the borders of my ability, but to embrace my limitedness and lean upon the unending and limitless grace that God has for me.

Grace. I can’t run away from it. I can’t ignore it. And I can’t figure out what to do with it, what it actually is for me… and if I’m really allowed to have it. But it’s there, waiting to be known.

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5 thoughts on “While I was gone…

  1. Elsita says:

    D-Lui: thanks for posting and sharing. It is very encouraging to read the ways God has been calling you to deeper intimacy. Im definitely reminded of how invaluable and irreplaceable that time is with our Lord. May God continue to fill you with more of Him so that you can serve others from the overflow!

    Im also encouraged to allow my artist side to come out… love the way God works 😀

    With love all the way from El Salvador,
    Elsita

  2. daniel says:

    thanks for sharing dlui!

  3. awj says:

    this is beautiful, dlui!

  4. forsamo says:

    i love this post, daniel =) Miss you, bro

  5. Nick Johnson says:

    I love this Daniel! I’m currently “meditating” my way through Juliet Benner’s “Contemplative Vision” on the intersection of Christian art and prayer. Looks like you’ve already written the sequel here!

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