October was rich month of reading and learning. Three books: The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown, a million little ways, by Emily Freeman, and The Irrational Season, by Madeleine L'Engle. I ended up with random thoughts, notes scribbled on papers, un-tied connections, similar themes. I am a visual learner, part of the reason I write out notes and copy quotes. I needed something to pull it all together, to make sense out of it all, to connect the dots.
Mind-mapping. This tool helps me take a jumble of thoughts and weave them together into a thought tapestry, a way to "see" the thoughts in an ordered visual that makes sense to me.
First, I had to define one word that tied it all together. Well, I ended up with two words.
This phrase took thoughts from all three books and gave me a center, a point to start from. After that, I browsed through the notes from the books, picking out main ideas and consistent themes from them.
As I was writing out the sub-topics, they seemed to flow in a clockwise pattern.
- reflect the image of God
- rhythm of the Spirit of God
- show up
The imperfect gifts I create and offer to others are a reflection of the art God has created in me. (Clarification: not that the gifts I receive from the Lord are imperfect - this is about what I do with His perfect gifts to me, in me)
I am looking for a quote from each book to include here. There are too many - like three whole books' worth.
The Irrational Season is the third book in a series called The Crosswicks Journals. They are each written in a particular season of Madeleine L'Engle's life. For each, she picks one word as a theme. My theme word for this year is "quiet." Her words for her three books are: "Ontological, Ousia, and Anamnesis." And she doesn't consider herself an intellectual. In this last of the three books she thinks and writes through a full year of Christian celebrations with living memory - anamnesis - She writes, "...As I understand anamnesis in my writing, so I understand it in the Holy Mysteries. When we are truly remembering, when we know anamnesis, suddenly the mighty acts of God are present." (These are out of print, but are available on Amazon's used book lists)
Emily Freeman says, "[God] invites you to move with the rhythm of his Spirit. This is a mystery and wonder that is the gospel. He doesn't wait until we are conformed to a version of ourselves that we are pleased with. He comes in to transform us from the inside out."
My gifts, imperfect now, entrusted to Him, offered as I show up and practice imperfection.
Brene Brown writes, "It reminds me that our imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we're all in this together. Imperfectly, but together."
My mind-map is not complete, not finished. Neither am I. More to learn, more to grow, more to understand. It was intriguing to me that "listen" showed up in three different places on the chart. A reminder to pay attention, to hear and see beyond my limited perspective. This tapestry of thoughts, these lessons, weave creatively into my heart, speaking to me of the Lord's love and extending into my days to give me confidence and courage to reach out.
I am linking with Emily's blog, Chatting At the Sky, sharing a piece of the art created in me this month.