When I was in high school art class we had an assignment to draw a self-portrait using colored pencils on black paper. We were not allowed to use any skin tones, but we had to have at least three colors- a dark, a medium, and a highlight tone.
I quickly found my “zone” and focused in on my self-portrait. I didn’t pay any attention to anyone around me for the duration of the class period. When the bell rang and we turned in our drawings, I looked up for the first time and took notice of the other students around me. All of the girls had chosen pretty pastel colors and had drawn soft, flowing pictures of themselves. In contrast, I had chosen spicy colors: red, orange, and yellow. My features looked sharp and my long, wavy hair looked like flames! What had I done?! I instantly hated my self-portrait.
I got a fantastic grade on the picture, but I was ashamed that I didn’t look like the other girls’… soft, pretty, pastel. No, I was bright, sharp and fiery! It was not what I wanted to be, but that’s what had come out of me. I didn’t care about the grade, I crumpled up the picture and tossed it into the trash.
My teacher saw me throw it away and pulled it out of the trash. He asked me why I did that. I just shrugged and said, I didn’t like my picture. What I meant was, I didn’t like myself. The next day when I came to class I was horrified to see my crumpled work of art hanging inside the locked display window in the hallway outside our classroom. Why!?!? Why had he done that? I screamed dramatically when I saw it hanging in there all alone. He said that he liked the picture. It was well done and it really did look like me… on fire.
Even through I hated the contrast between myself and the other girls, my teacher saw the fire in me and wanted to feed that flame. It took me a few years to embrace the fire in me, and when I finally did… it consumed me.
“He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.” Hebrews 1:7 (taken out of context.)