For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. (Proverbs 2:10)
It is my pleasure today to have Lynn share her passion for collage as a catalyst for change. I give Lynn the credit for my own discovery of collage as a tool for interacting with GOD+ART. Enjoy!
(Note: If you have not read Lynn’s previous post called “Art of My Heart” about how she began collage-journaling, read it here.)
Collaging My Transition
(Lynn D. Morrissey)
In an online journaling class I attended about life transitions, one of the assignments was to collage and write about what stage I was currently experiencing.
This was a fun and fascinating process for me. Because I am such a perfectionist and had a collage collection of forty-million magazines in the basement from which to choose, to save time and curb my perfectionism, I decided to limit myself to four used magazines I had recently purchased from the library. What intrigued me is how God used these limited resources to speak to me in a powerful way.
In a journal write, I described my current state in “butterfly”terms. At this time, I was metamorphosing (transitioning) from full-time mother, author, and speaker to journal facilitator. I explained to the class that I was still in the chrysalis, but it had split and the butterfly was ready to emerge. The butterfly, fully formed, revealed my true colors: my passion for teaching journaling. I needed finally to shed my chrysalis to which I was still clinging and to pump up my wings with God’s blessing: my skills (álà the online journaling course), courage, business savvy, etc. I also needed to shed bad habits, attitudes, and sins which were impeding my flight.
I had no idea how I would depict this phase of my transition through collage images, because I didn’t expect to find butterfly life-cycle photos in the magazines. But interestingly, other pictures emerged which powerfully represented this phase of my life and informed my next steps. I have no doubt that God led me to these particular pictures and words at this particular juncture.
I found an image of what resembles a red British telephone booth. The woman had one arm and leg inside the booth, and the other arm and leg were forcefully breaking through. What a perfect image for my “emerging” mode. So I glued a big E (which stood for *emerge*) onto the booth (my chrysalis). I realized that God had revealed my purpose to facilitate journaling classes and that part of me was moving forward; yet, oppositely, part of me was lagging behind and clinging to my comfort zone and bad habits.
Interestingly, just days before when I had been prayer-journaling, I told God that I had met a wall of resistance in some areas of my life, and I needed a breakthrough. When I serendipitously found the telephone booth for my collage, I realized that I had found a “red wall of resistance,” which the woman was breaking through! This definitely conveyed significant spiritual symbolism and meaning for me, and confirmed to me that God was speaking.
Then, of all places, in a women’s magazine (!), I found pictures of cups labeled with words for sins referenced in the Bible: wrath, envy, pride, lust, gluttony, greed, and sloth. I realized that I had committed those sins at various times and was still struggling with some. I knew that if I were to have a “soul revolution,” I needed to ask God to help me to empty the poisonous “contents” of those cups through confession and repentance. (You’ll see in my collage that I have pasted those words above the cups). At the bottom of the page, I had fun juxtaposing the words from two different magazine ads to make my own slogan. “Let the secret” + “of passion” + “out of the box.” As I began to emerge into my purpose, I wanted to let the secret of my passion (for journaling) out of the box. I knew that “There is a side of [me] destined to be revealed.” Yes!
On the second collage, I depicted not just the emerging, but stages of what would become my flight in progress. Amazingly, I found a slogan which read, “What will happen to the emerging?”under which I included another phrase:“How do you get all the nourishing?” I was also stunned to find the nourishing phrase, because my teacher had asked our group how we would nourish and nurture ourselves during this transition. It was delightful for me to see three groupings of words about nourishment in the very magazines I was poring over. This, too, was no happenstance. You’ll see these phrases near the bottom of the collage: 1) “Nourishment is savoring every bite” (I wanted to savor my journaling coursework, bite by bite, and not just be a quick, thoughtless consumer). 2) “Nourishment is forgetting perfect” (I definitely knew that I needed to leave perfectionism behind; it was hindering every aspect of my life). 3) “Nourishment is laughing out loud” (I love to laugh, but I knew I needed to do it more; perfectionists can be far too serious). I realized that I needed to make some conscious efforts (which you’ll see in other words I captured in the collage, like: “I will live brightly “and exuberantly (I can be prone to depression, and so I wanted to focus on joy). I will “pump it up”! I can’t believe that I found those words that directly applied to “pumping up my wings”! I will “do everything I can to help my dreams come true.” I also added that “small steps take me from where I am to where I want to be.” Because I am a perfectionist, so often I won’t start needed projects because I think if I don’t have time to finish them, I’ll need to wait to start when I do—and then I never do! (Perfection + procrastination = passivity and paralysis!). So this is a very crucial reminder for me. There is really nothing small about small steps. They add up to big ones.
Finally, I created a new definition for “journal change,” all because I found words that leapt out at me from my magazines. I simply played with and rearranged them. This is not what the magazine ad said, but this is what my heart knew: “Journal change is something beautiful about to happen.” So often, I dread change. So suddenly to see a little tearing-and-pasting exercise transform a word of dread into a word of hope was nothing short of miraculous for me. I added the word “journal” to the words “change is,” because I think that “journal change” is a true transformational catalyst. Whenever I pick up my pen and/or collage pieces to seek the Lord for insight, change, self-knowledge, and guidance, I can anticipate that “something beautiful is about to happen”! Every time I journal, I change. And that’s beautiful!
As I completed my collage assignment, it was my hope that as I fully emerged from the chrysalis waiting period into my new beginning as a journal facilitator that my life and my purpose would become a work of art! You’ll note that phrase at the bottom of the collage.
God continues to use collage-journaling, this art of my heart, to give me insights into my soul and ways that I can grow, change, and rejoice in Him and His purposes for me.
How has God used collage to do the same for you?
Feel free to leave comments for Lynn.