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Painting a New Outcome


By Deacon Tammy Devine

ELCA Wellness Manager
June 2017

"Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!" Luke 10:23

At my first painting lesson, my teacher instructed, “Paint what you see, not what you know.” Six hours later, painting in hand, I felt thrilled, exhausted — and changed. The world looked different through these new eyes. I began noticing scale, shades of color, shapes, and shadows. I even became aware of what I didn’t see, but rather had assumed was there. It felt like for the first time I was truly looking with intention.

That intention kept guiding my vision over the next weeks. In particular, on my daily walk I kept noticing my shadow. At first I wanted to ignore it. It reminded me of the shadow thoughts (like self-doubt and grief) that have plagued me in the past. But as I work on living in the present, I am trying to grow from my shadows rather than be haunted by them. That day, I assigned my shadow a home within me and accepted it as part of what makes me who I am. With new eyes, I am trying to be grateful for the ways these shadows have shaped me to be more compassionate and understanding.

My instructor’s direction to paint through a lens of what I saw rather than what I knew reminds me of Michelangelo, who said his job was “to carve away the excess, freeing the thing of beauty just waiting to be released.” Michelangelo saw the sculpture waiting, already complete, in the uncut stone.

God sees us each with perfect vision — with our shadows, imperfections, and flaws — and still calls us beloved. We each have the freedom to choose what we see — in ourselves, our families, and our congregations. May God’s direction guide you to look with intention at the beauty that lies in front of you, within you, and around you.

Painting a New Outcome

Tammy Devine's monthly reflection invites you to consider how your faith and health are intertwined. She shares her personal journey to help support you in new ways as you strive to live well in Christ — for the sake of ministry in God's world. ELCA organizations, feel free to print or link to Tammy’s reflections in your publications.

Since joining Portico in 2004, Tammy has provided whole-person health promotion, education, and inspiration to ELCA rostered leaders and lay employees. Contact Tammy Devine at

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