. . . and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure ,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:3-5 NIV
Today, we return to the journey of finding nourishment for our souls through words, art and the practice of journaling.
Join us today, as Lynn shares how God introduced her to collage as a catalyst for expression and transition. This is a two-part series, so come back tomorrow, to view some of her collage work and the discoveries behind her process.
Art of My Heart
(Lynn D. Morrissey)
Collage for me is art-of-my-heart, my soul made visible in living color on the journaling page. I love its vibrancy and free-wheeling whimsy, its colorful playfulness and startling juxtaposition, its generating of spiritual insights and soul surprises.
But I didn’t initially gravitate to collage. I thought it was silly at best and occult at worst. I’d heard so many Christian warnings, whether from Puritanic admonitions against idolizing images or from Bible teachers’ concerns about name-it-and-claim-it visualizing techniques, sometimes called manifesting or the Law of Attraction.
But just days after my beloved father’s death, God used the art-form of collage as a significant means of launching my healing journey from grief.
Shortly after Daddy died, I attended a poetry-and-journal intensive in Denver. One of our assignments was to collage a cover for a new journal. It was at the end of a long day, and I was physically and emotionally depleted from the pain of grief. The *last* thing I wanted to do was cut pictures out of old magazines that I never would have read in the first place, in an attempt to make (so-called) art. It seemed like just about the most ridiculous Mickey-Mouse undertaking I could imagine. Though I know now that my grief overshadowed my attitude, it still wasn’t the kind of activity that remotely appealed to me.
But because I had invested so much of myself, time, and resources into the seminar and because I knew that Daddy would want me to pursue my journaling-facilitator dream, I chose to cooperate in this learning experience. I took a stack of magazines back to my room around 5:00 p.m. and didn’t emerge until the next morning!
After eating an early dinner alone in my room and getting ready for bed, I began leafing through the magazines, page by glossy page, randomly cutting or tearing out pictures, words, and slogans that seemed to speak to me. As I underwent this rhythmic process of slowly scanning and cutting, something happened that even today I cannot fully explain. The process calmed and soothed me, and my emotional pain momentarily subsided. Words and images of hope, beauty, and comfort emerged that resonated on a deep heart-level. I had not set out to find them, but God knew just what I would need to see. As I began arranging and rearranging the extracted words and pictures that I would later glue to my journal covers, it was as if God were using them to rearrange my broken heart into a multi-layered mosaic of meaning and hope. The juxtaposition of a kaleidoscope of words, colors, shapes, and images registered somewhere deep in my soul that even journaling my angst at that time couldn’t do, because my despair was beyond articulation.
Since that time I have gone collage-crazy and consider myself a Christian-Collage Poster Girl. I want to be clear to say that God speaks through the Bible, and nothing—absolutely nothing—replaces His Word for providing direct, inerrant revelation of His character and will. But God can also speak to our imaginations (which He gave us!) through Creation, art, song lyrics, books, poetry, friends, and the circumstances of our lives. One significant way He has spoken to me is through collage. God has used collage-journaling (where I collage onto journal pages and write to Him about what He shows me) to spark my creativity, help me solve problems, teach me insights and truths about myself, help me to set goals, and implement dreams.
I am not worshiping images, but God who speaks through them, the God who speaks at times through the art of my heart.
Question: Have you ever tried to use collage as a means of artistic creation and self-expression or to explore your “inner landscape”—translation: what God is showing you about your life circumstances, thoughts, dreams, goals, memories, conflicts, etc.? What were the results? How have you made collage-journaling a part of your spiritual practice?
Please come back tomorrow and read about and see my “transition” collages and my thought process behind creating them.
(Copyright 2013. Lynn D. Morrissey. All Rights Reserved.)
Lynn D. Morrissey, is a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF), founder of Heartsight Journaling, a ministry for reflective journal-writing, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, an AWSA and CLASS speaker, and professional soloist. She and her beloved husband, Michael, have been married since 1975 and have a college-age daughter, Sheridan. They live in St. Louis, Missouri.
You may contact Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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