Must I Paint You A Picture? (Part 2)

“Must I paint you a picture

About the way that I feel?

You know my love for you is stronger.

You know my love for you is real.”

From “Must I Paint You A Picture?” by Billy Bragg.


This forms the second part of  two halves.  The previous post can be linked here.  It explains an exercise we did when half of those gathered at a meeting a few weeks ago were asked to face a wall, unaware of who would then stand behind them and to ask God to reveal a picture, verse or impression that they should share with the person behind them.

I was stood behind someone I’ve never met before, but whom I know is held in high regard by many in our congregation.  He said that he felt he had seen a picture of a fruit tree –  a peach tree –  and that the fruit was really ripe.  What does it mean?  I think I know what it relates to, but I’m not sure what the interpretation is.

I guess I’d been thinking ahead of the meeting about how my life looks in terms of how I spend my time.  It is largely taken up by work, family and church commitments.  Despite the pressure of work deadlines, I am trying to find time for the things of God in all of that – whether it’s to work with all my best efforts, to influence the office culture or environment or to catch up socially with people I ought to.  I sometimes I wonder how much of a witness I am at work as I often just have my head down trying to maintain focus and get things done…Right now things are very demanding and many evenings are spent back in the office (after I’ve made it home to have meal with my family and be their for my daughter’s bath time) with me eventually making it home only to collapse into bed.  It’s not always like that, but right now is one of those periods.

Family life is great and there’s loads to be thankful for, but, it still demands (rightly) a huge amount of my time and energy.

Church life is also busy with organising, preparing for and facilitating a weekly small group, preparing and leading the music parts of our evening services once a month, helping drum at a friend’s church service once a month and assisting us find a property solution to our growing congregation.

Maybe the picture means that as I grow older, I am growing into the person I am meant to be?  Maybe the fruits of the spirit are more evident in my life than they once were? (that sounds pious and unlikely as I know I still have a long way to go)  Maybe, as I use these different skills I have been gifted with, it is pleasing to God?

Maybe the picture means that the fruit is ripe and is to be enjoyed by others – the benefactors of my efforts?

Maybe the fruit is ripe and ready to fall?  Maybe I have grown to fullness in some of these areas of life and it is time to hand those things over before the fruit gets over-ripe and rots?  Maybe the tree was overladen?  My gut instinct is that it is this latter interpretation that is more accurate of how life actually is right now.

We then went to pray in groups of three.  As we shared something for prayer, we were encouraged to wait in silence for a minute or two – again asking God to reveal whether there was anything He wanted us to share – a picture, a scripture, an impression, etc and then to share that with the person being prayed for, to see if it resonated and then to pray into that. 

When asked what people could pray for for me, I shared something of the above (not the picture – just the question about whether I am doing all that I ought to be or whether I should do less and do it better?).  One of the guys praying said that after the moment or two of silence he just sensed the word “blessing” and that is what I was to others.  He talked particularly of my role in leading music at church (which was an encouragement as I’d been a bit frustrated and discouraged by the previous Sunday night’s service). 

My wife was also in the group and she thought she saw a picture of a jigsaw which had a picture of the sea on it.  The corner piece was missing to complete the picture and there were a few final pieces piled on top of the bigger picture, so she couldn’t see exactly what the picture was…

One of the most helpful things I have done in my Christian life of late was a thing called the Network Course.  It helps explore, establish and affirm natural abilities and spiritual gifts,  From it I learned that my gifts are creative communication, faith and encouragement.  At the time I was leading worship once a month and that seemed like a natural outlet for these things.  I used to try and tell stories or set the scene or use DVD clips to help communicate and encourage us all into God’s presence.  As church has grown, I seem to spend less time doing those things as others try to cram loads of announcements, testimonies, DVD clips, etc into the space we have.  I spend more time just getting lost in my drumming and I concentrate on doing that as well as I can.  I found myself leading worship when our church was a very different place to what it is now.  We were really short of gifted musicians back then and short of folks who wanted to see something more contemporary happen musically.  I stepped into  a gap, explored it, felt anointed and forgiven when I made mistakes.  I wonder if that was a role for a season and whether there are others who could more naturally organise and lead that whilst I revert to just getting stuck back into my drumming?  Is that what this is all about? 

Maybe my blog is a good means of communicating creatively for someone as softly spoken as me?  Maybe hosting our small group and helping facilitate something like the art project linked here is more fitting just now?

Would that give me more time to feed my soul in other ways?  As an individual and as a family we love being near water.  Would that give me the time to spend with my family on the beach or by the sea?  To enjoy the view?  To walk and shoot the breeze?  The sea is a powerful image for me due to my love of padlling about and falling off my surfboard and also because of a recurring dream I had when I was going through a particularly difficult period about 10 years ago.  There is something about the vastness of the sea that enables me to see how big and awesome God is and how small I am.  Why is that picture incomplete?

What does it all mean???


11 Responses to “Must I Paint You A Picture? (Part 2)”

  1. 1 Maria February 27, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Very good blog! To me very pleased!

  2. 2 anna February 27, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    thought you might like this….
    some sweet pics of the inside of waves..esp #5

  3. 3 brunettekoala February 27, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    are there ways in which your smallgroup family can encourage, support and release you?

  4. 4 thestatethatiamin February 27, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    At Anna – thanks for the photos. Man, they must have totally wrecked themselves hitting the sandbar on that second shot – ouch! I think there are a few surfers at MBC now – we just never seem to pluck up the gumption to introduce ourselves to eachother (but we probably all can see the tell tale signs in the t-shirts, etc) Probably time to break the ice and see who is up for heading down to Belhaven or Peasebay sometime for a session.

    At BK – I’m just tryiong to figure it all out. I guess I’m missing Colin McArthur and David Crooks. Josh did a fantastic job this month and is totally gifted in worship leading, but sadly will soon be away from Edinburgh till September. I’m just wondering if it is time to focus on the drums rather than co-ordinating and organising and leading? I think the small group clan could help me prayerfully discern whether that is right or not and affirm or correct me.



  5. 5 thestatethatiamin March 1, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Ok, so we had a church leadership conference yesterday morning for all those who host small groups to hear how the vision for church is emerging. It was exciting, inspiring and likley to be a bit messy.

    We are suggesting that much of the existing structure ceases this summer and is replaced with a new model. Inevitably this may mean some of us setting down certain roles and giftings to take on new ventures or to let others take on new roles.

    As we broke into discussion groups, various things that were said resonated with my thoughts about the picture. Maybe the fruit of leading music is ripe and some friut in my life is in danger of rotting if I don’t free up some time to re-prioritise?

    One of the ideas is to organise ourselves around expressions of mission and to spread little lights throughout our neighbourhoodsm people groups, sub-cultures and tribes. How about a beach mission? Not in the traditional sense, but how about a group of folks heading to the beach one Sunday a month? Surfers could surf and interact with the surf community. Could we start a Christian Surfers UK presence in Scotland (one of the few regions where there is no such presence). Could others who’d like to learn join us and integrate with my friend Sam’s surf school. Could families come and enjoy the beach and the kids play together? Could we volunteer beach clean ups every so often? Maybe that’s just my moind wandering….Maybe it’s the germ of an idea? Surfing and family time and church community time and natural spreading of good news and modelling an extended family into a surf/beach community might just model something of the kingdom. It would certainly feed my soul.

  6. 6 thestatethatiamin March 1, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Maybe I should proof read my comments prior to posting – sorry for typos in previous comments – hope you got the idea, though…

  7. 7 brunettekoala March 1, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Surfing beach stuff sounds cool – at least for during the ‘summer’ months. I wonder if we could have the camper van for surfing in summer and use it for different purpose in winter? Hmmm.

    I got asked today what I wanted for my birthday, I was like ‘surfboard!’ my family just looked at me and went ‘Aye Right…’ Sigh. A surfer is never recognised in their own home. 😦

  8. 8 thestatethatiamin March 2, 2009 at 10:58 am

    If you really do want a surfboard, then I can put you in touch with Sam who runs the surf school at Belhaven. He’s a really decent guy and I bought my board through him. He can get good deals on stock from contacts in Cornwall and also sells on second hand stuff from the C2C surf school or those associated with the Belhaven Surf Club.

    If you fancy getting lessons or just hiring a board and splashing around, let me know and I’ll let you know when I’m next heading down.

    There seem to be a few others in MBC who surf too, although I’ve not spoekn to them. Simon Steel? Anna and I think Phil English might do so too??? Maybe we just need to see who does and if anyone fancies it?

    As for summer – yup, more pleasant for getting changed but winter months actually often give better waves…This is Scotland after all and we tend to have this weird fixation with things being more hard core when it’s freezing.


  9. 9 Fin March 3, 2009 at 1:19 am

    B. Enjoyed this post a lot and it struck a nerve with me. God lets us only see a little bit of the puzzle at a time I think because we couldn’t cope with seeing it all at once…
    I guess the bit thats fun and intereting (and sometimes frustrating!) is when you are working on the puzzle and trying to decide what goes where. When the puzzles finished wheres the fun?!
    This little bit at a time I think is a bit of a relief – we couldn’t cope with all Gods plans, blessings and his goodness at once. A glimpse is all we get and I think its enough…especially for my small mind!
    As a Highlander I have a little bit of the Gaelic and one of my favourite words is the gaelic for butterfly – An dealan de…this literally translates as “A glimpse(or glimmer) of God” How beautiful is that?!
    Keep on keeping on bro. Your blog certainly encourages and inspires me.


  10. 10 thestatethatiamin March 3, 2009 at 7:19 am

    Thanks so much, Fin.

    Hoping all is well with you and that you are enjoying this new developing season of life.

    I love that translation of the gaelic for butterfly. I’ve never heard that before.

    Also, please let me know if you would consider exhibiting any of your work at our art exhibition. It’s beginning to take shape and we are also looking at some other ideas. More on that soon…



  1. 1 The Question Is Complete. « The State That I Am In Trackback on December 26, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

RSS What I’m Listening To

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
Blog for Amnesty - Protect the Human

%d bloggers like this: