If I told you about a man named Phil Hansen, you probably wouldn’t know who that is. Phil Hansen was an art school student who experience a big problem in the middle of his college career: He developed a tremor in his hand, and someone who was known for drawing impeccable straight lines became someone who couldn’t even hold a pencil steady long enough to mark a dot on paper. Phil gave up on his dreams of becoming an artist and dropped out of art school. He tried to put art behind him and look for another passion in life, but he just couldn’t get over his love of art. He finally saw a doctor about his tremor and found out that he had permanent nerve damage in his hand. He would never be able to draw straight lines ever again. The doctor looked at him and said, “why don’t you just learn to embrace the shake?”
Maybe it’s not nerve damage for you. Maybe it’s the loss of a job, a divorce, or the death of a loved one. For me, it was a relationship with a man that I was falling madly in love with. He was a charming, Godly man and we crossed each other’s paths at what seemed like the perfect time. We got the “green light” from the Lord and all of our friends and spiritual authority, and decided that dating was our next step. We gladly took that step, and things could not have been more perfect. Until they weren’t. One day I woke up and everything had changed. He felt like a relationship wasn’t the best thing for him at the moment, and I was crushed and heartbroken. I let my guard down and trusted someone with my heart, and they just seemed to throw it on the ground. And just like Phil Hansen, I felt my world start to shake. I began to think about the future we had planned together and began to worry about what life had in store for me now that my world was shaken upside down.
I wish I would’ve heard the words ‘embrace the shake’ much sooner in this season of complete confusion. I’m still learning what this phrase means, and I am by no means an expert at embracing life’s unsteady moments. But the beauty in learning is that the outcomes are endless. We probably won’t be able to see or know what the outcome of our seasons and situations look like, but that’s what trusting in the Lord and walking by faith is all about. It’s like we’re looking at the backside of a tapestry. All we can see are random threads, knots, and snags that don’t make sense to us. Our perspective is limited. But God has a perspective that’s much greater. He meets us in the middle, takes our mess, and makes it mean something much more beautiful than we can see in the moment. Phil Hansen embraced his shake and learned how to use his limitations to become limitless in his art.
I don’t know what kind of season you’re walking through right now, but I can guarantee you that one day, life is going to get shaky. In those unsteady moments, it’s easy to question everything - God, our mistakes, and each step we have taken to land ourselves in this season. I know each and every season is so different, but if we don’t learn to embrace the shake in the swaying seasons, we’ll never be able to fully experience the splendor in the steady seasons.
My name is Julie Gutierrez and I am a 20-something living in Auburn, Alabama! I am a recent graduate of the Highlands College in Birmingham, Alabama where I studied ministry and currently interning at Church of the Highlands here in Auburn! I know that God has called me to reach my generation and bring others along side me to help raise up the next generation through my words, and I want to make Him proud through my actions. I love serving the Lord and the local church, and when I’m not at the church you can usually find me writing or reading in a coffee shop, out shopping with my girls, or cuddled up on the couch watching a movie (probably Disney.) I can’t wait to experience the journey of life with you!
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