I have been wondering lately if my brand and my business and my desire to be kind and godly and non-offensive has tamed me. My passion is missing, a passion I need to push me out of bed in the morning, passion required to make art and to make it well. I haven’t been taking risks; I can’t tap into desire. Living a boring life isn’t time well spent, I want to do things that will make me feel excited and to do that I need to make some changes. These changes don’t always have to affect the type of person I am, but just the way I handle things with much more confidence.
I tell myself I have too much to lose if I… well, fill in the blank. But if I’ve got too much to lose, then I’ve already lost sight of the most important thing: The God who is big enough to hold me together even if I do lose.
I wanted to live recklessly. Why oh why do I keep waiting for a dare? Why do I so consistently pass up abundant life?
When I was away in Texas for a week last fall, Pete planted me a garden. When he planted it, everything was rather uniform in size – I guess plants come that way from the nursery, kinda like babies. But in less than a year, the garden has taken on a life of its own. The mums are fighting to survive the summer heat, the variegated trivet is filling in the garden floor with some crazy, and the purple butterfly flowers have been drooping over the sidewalk haphazardly all year.
But none of them have done what the sunflowers (or whatever these things are) have done, growing up tall (it’s over three feet now) and making a statement. This thriving perennial has been daring me for weeks to photograph it, but I’ve opted to ignore it. Still, it teases me with its vibrant un-Kelly colors until I laugh at its audacity.
It is not a well-behaved plant.
I rebelled this morning. I looked at Pete and told him that I hate my job right now, accepted the fact that I have failed (and OH so gloriously) at something I wanted. And when the sun came in on my monitor to force my morning break, I went out and misbehaved right along with my plant.
I used my old camera. I broke compositional rules. I shot colors and not neutrals. I zoomed in close and tapped into a life that plant has been teasing me with for months.
It is not a well-behaved plant, but it is a Kelly plant. It is chasing the light, living real life just as it was meant to live without care for anyone’s approval. It’s filling up my garden with passion.
There are too many “right” ways to live. Everybody has an opinion about what is okay and what isn’t okay, and some people may be able to fit the “okay” mold just fine. But for me? I can’t stay the same height as all the other plants. I can’t pull off the sweet-and-wispy droop or the elegant filler.
A friend asked me on Friday what I have to lose by living passionately, by saying what I think, by letting go and just BEING, wherever I am. I didn’t have an answer for her.
“You’re living out of fear,” she said pointedly. She was right.
My heart begged an explosion, reached again for the God who wants me free, who called me to GO.
Reckless living requires reckless trust that I am – and can be – love with a reckless love right where I am. It demands growth undaunted by heat, full-out abandon to the light. It thrives on questions and third-day hairstyles and tears running out my nose when Pete tells me I am “the most beautiful mess” he’s ever seen.
Abundant life, real life – it isn’t tame, behaved, organized, or branded. But it IS exquisite. And it is worth it.