“My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.” Proverbs 8:19
While looking up at the big silver tree in front of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on a field trip today, my son’s English teacher challenged her students. She asked them to examine the structure and try to view it as anything other than a tree. They stared silently, examining the sculpted stainless steel, tracing the edges with their eyes from the smallest winding branches to the rounded wide base, writing down ideas in a sketch book. Ideas like a river being formed by its tributaries and blood vessels breaking into capillaries. Next they sat, contemplating how perception draws us into conclusions. Conclusions that are sometimes inaccurate.
What did the artist actually create?
After her students listed their ideas, my son’s teacher shared how the artist, Roxy Paine, in a series of his work, welded sculptures inspired by anatomy elements to look like works of nature. This particular sculpture, titled, “Yield”, often referred to as the Silver Tree, actually upon closer observation resembles a science book drawing of a nerve ending.
“Yield.” The title abruptly changed my train of thought from art to the word itself. For two weeks, I’ve been meditating on the word yield. I’ve prayed for my spirit to yield to God’s desires for me. Yield- to give up control, to relinquish power. What an odd contrast thrown into a lesson on perception.
Later, as my son and I sat discussing something he had written, I shared my thoughts on yielding and my experience with the collision between an art concept and a meditated word. I also shared how I was glad to visit the museum with him. Knowing I like art so much, he asked me if I enjoyed viewing the art selections. I did, but found myself intimidated by some of the pieces. Feeling inadequate about my own artwork. My son responded with, “Mom, your perception of yourself is wrong. You are a good artist, but you don’t believe in yourself. I wish you created more often.”
Yay, son! Way to really listen. I have yielded my beliefs to a false perception. A perception that I’m not worthy to create. Kind of silly isn’t it? Art is about the experience of expression. It’s a form of speech, or in my case, often my sermon or interpretation of a Bible verse. Art is also a dream I’m often to afraid to chase. All because of the lie I’ve chosen to believe. I’m not worthy or good enough.
Upon further examination of the word yield, I have learned something else. In scripture, yield is often used in describing a harvest’s production. As in the wheat havest yielded a crop to feed the people
Yielding a harvest in my life has more to do with focusing on the fruit I’m producing rather than emotion control. If I would focus on the task, instead my insecurities, my emotions wouldn’t block my production. I’ve been working on the wrong yield or maybe I’ve been yielding in the wrong place. My yielding to God’s will means I choose to seek his truth. I’ve had it backwards. I’ve been focusing on me, but trying to follow Him. I can’t follow what I’m not focused on. Fruit doesn’t come without blooms and blooms don’t form without leaving the dormation of winter. I can’t do God’s will if a stay locked in myself. I have to bloom, get out and focus on bearing fruit so my harvest will come.
This applies to all areas in life. If my focus is inward, fruit won’t grow. For example, raising kids. I need to focus on the fruits of nurturing, loving, and encouraging the child, not wasting time worrying over if I’m good enough to raise a kid. When cooking I need to focus on the food preparation not my past cooking failures. When putting together my collages, I need to focus on the verse I’m illustrating not the fear of it looking poorly.
My learning to yield to God’s will has had a perception change.
Surrendering my focus to the task at hand, not the emotion. An examination of perception by seeking truth.