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Welcoming challenges

Welcoming challenges

Sunlight is often playful. Today it sneaks through a window in the room where I am prepping for a meeting and selects one word out of all that I’ve written. Challenges. Is that some kind of sunny joke?

If so, it knows me. Lately I’ve been thinking about how challenging my work is. Since it is a kind of improvised art – real-time capture of what people are saying in meetings – I am beset by a myriad of micro-decisions in the moment: what to write, where to write it, what to draw with it, what color to use.

Add to this the temperamental fussiness of my markers, which often drip or stop working. Yesterday I mentally pictured it akin to a knight going into a battle with a highly useful sword – when the hilt didn’t fall off.

But every job has its challenges. We all have to wrestle with the many tentacles of problems to solve. On a typical day, we get to our computers, take a deep breath and say, “Release the kraken.”


At least I get to draw it.

Today, I am reminded that I am not alone. In many of my assignments, I work within a team of skilled people. It seems that the harder the task, the deeper the camaraderie. To bring one’s expertise to a group of highly-skilled, team-oriented people is deeply satisfying. Even joyful.

It’s what fellowship ought to be.

The New Testament word for fellowship could be translated as “the sharing.” Sharing of our lives. Sharing of the task. Of the challenge. And the resulting joy. It's why, I think, Jesus sent out his followers in pairs to do ministry in Luke 10. When they came back, full of stories and excitement, Jesus shared their joy.


So as I turn to do my part in this event, I am welcomed back to the challenge. Possibly even embrace it like an old friend.

Because, I’m not alone in the spotlight.

I am so grateful for all that you give me, Lord. You promise that “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” and challenges are a part of the good you give. Help me to welcome them. And thank you for the joy of working as a part of a team, for in the dovetailing of abilities I see a glimpse of how your kingdom works. You never intended for us to be alone.



Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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