I’ve invited Randy Thomas to write today’s blog. Do you remember in last week’s post, when I mentioned a friend who doodled as a child and now creates art from similar doodles? That’s Randy. Randy is also the talented person who takes my words, titles them, adds the pictures, and launches them here. He’s perfectly smart to do this well!
I think you’ll enjoy learning what it meant to Randy to find out he is smart because he doodles. He’s not just artistic or creative. He’s smart. There’s power in that word. Being picture smart means he processes ideas differently from me. I’m not sure I can relate, but that’s okay. The fact that we’re smart differently actually enhances our working relationship. Take it away, Randy!
It is an honor to serve with you to help spread the word about the very important work of Celebrate Kids and to write this blog post. I deeply respect you professionally and as a dear friend. Thank you Kathy!
For some reason I have epiphanies when I am driving. This is great because, come on, “epiphanies” don’t just happen all the time. At the same time, it is dangerous because, well, I am driving.
Fictitious Police Officer pulling me over, “Excuse me sir, do you know why I pulled you over?”
Fictitious me, “Because I was driving under the influence of God dumping joy into my soul?”
I’ve never actually been pulled over for driving under the influence of an epiphany but … you get the point.
The one particular epiphany I want to share with you today happened in 2003 while driving my blue-based red Ford Focus. I was driving home from a conference where Dr. Kathy just blew my mind with her workshops. I bet some of you regular Dr. Kathy blog readers know exactly what I am talking about if you have attended a Kathy Koch workshop/seminar … Kathy doesn’t just share “good” information, it is potentially life-transforming stuff!
At the conference I tested extremely high as a random thinker. Meaning that I receive information, and process information, randomly. I understand but don’t particularly care for “to do” lists, I hate math, I don’t think in a sequential order (naturally) and am highly relational. There is much more to it but that is a good overview.
But … you see, that was a HUGE problem. My test results did NOT match what I was told I was supposed to be.
I was 35 years old and had lived my whole life believing that truly smart people were the exact opposite. I had been taught by all the authority figures in my life growing up to believe that the only truly smart people in this world were accountants, lawyers and doctors. While these voices speaking into my life said I had the intelligence to be those things, I was a constant disappointment to them and myself when I would struggle mightily with the goals set before me that I wasn’t actually designed for. More on that in a moment.
I was a constant disappointment to myself because I didn’t understand that not every person was meant to operate in this world “that” way. I saw people who did fit the “not a random thinker” bill and quietly assessed that I simply wasn’t as smart as they were and would always have to struggle with my perceived short-comings.
I was also led to believe that my drawings, that always appeared “out of the blue” were only doodles and a waste of time. I was told that I wasn’t an artist or even really good with people. They said that I was the introverted, brainy, quiet researcher type.
Heh … “quiet” ::: laugh :::
And here was Dr. Kathy, or more like God using Kathy, dismantling this limiting and heavily fortified barrier in my life through this seminar. I, a 35 year old man cried right there in the workshop when I realized that I was just as smart as anyone else on the planet. I was just smart in different, and glorious, ways … in ways that God intentionally created for me to be. That people like me were often misunderstood and disrespected by a culture that didn’t properly value the gifts God had purposefully put within us.
As I wept, right there in the middle of a hundred or so people, I didn’t care who saw or what they thought; years of lies and curses flowed out of me that day.
And that wasn’t the end of the story: back to the epiphany …
So I am driving home, some talk-show weakly coming through on the radio. I had it turned way down as I was mentally thanking God for this revelation and meditating on what it meant. Then, out of the blue (which random thinkers are quite used to) I believe the Lord reminded me of a doodle I had drawn as a child, then He reminded me of various drawings I had done over the years
- In a 10th grade art class
- All over many of my school folders
- On a guy’s face for Halloween one year. Yes, that DID happen and he DID win that costume contest.
- Lots of images flashed across my mind
And in all of them, from kindergarten to my time as an adult doodling while the tv played in the background, the same beautiful pattern(s) would emerge. Then I think the Lord said to me, “This is NOT just a doodle, this is your random brain worshipping Me…” I burst into tears, again for the 100th time it seemed like that day. He continued “I want you to embrace this, research and enjoy doing this.”
My whole life I had been yearning to draw those patterns. Sometimes they would appear so fast it felt like they would draw me into themselves and I would get lost in the creation. Before entering into relationship with God, those yearnings were just as strong as they are now but they would scare me. I had no context for them other than a dismissive and sometimes stigmatized view of what it meant to be a sensitive soul seeking to express himself in such a way. Now, here was God saying for me to embrace this exercise because I would find Him there.
I did and He was. He is.
By now you have probably figured out that the featured artwork in this post (at the top and embedded below) are two of my creations. I have produced hundreds of them over the past 9 years. (I’m 44 now.) My artwork is hanging on walls all over North America and even in Guatemala! Drawing on planes, in coffee shops … wherever … has opened up *amazing* opportunities to talk with a bunch of wildly different people.
And yes, I have embraced my gifts of communication. You think Kathy can be chatty … I can give her a run for her money!
See by accepting that I am smart just as anyone is smart but in different ways, I was able to receive grace for my natural state of being which then in turn unleashed confidence, strength, mercy, and even grace toward other people. I’ve even discovered that I can do math, analyze and think sequentially. I just approach the process a little differently than some.
Mostly, instead of a pervasive sense of not feeling like I belonged, I have taken my place and humbly estimated my strengths and weaknesses to thoroughly enjoy my communion with God and to best bless my family, friends, and community.
I hope if you are struggling with how smart you truly are, in your God-given way, that you too will find your way Home to Him and allow Him to give you your own personal epiphany.
Note: Randy Thomas also has a personal blog where you can read other articles by him as well as keep up with his art projects. Please visit www.RandyThomas.co or follow him on Facebook or Twitter. You can also send him your contact information for one of his Christimas cards through his online contact form. Thank you Randy!