Going With the Flow

Flow Rider550

Need to absorb an important life lesson? Get it down on paper. I painted this watercolor to remind myself of the ease that comes with surrendering to the flow of life. For as long as I can remember, I have tried to manipulate events to get what I wanted. Career planning seemed a crucial part of directing my path as an artist. This process seemed to be working until the recession hit eight years ago. At that time, I couldn’t get an art director to look at my portfolio to save my life. Even my portrait commissions dried up. It became clear that all the listing, visualizing and pushing toward my goals wasn’t helping them to materialize.

During that frustrating time, the assurance in Matthew 6:33 came to me. “But you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things shall be added to you.” Translation: the Divine takes care of His children. For this to occur, all that’s required is to draw near to Him. After that, all of our other needs will be met. This was radical thinking for a wheel gripper like me, but I felt defeated enough to try it. Relaxing my hold and shifting my focus meant living where God lives – in the now.

Being in the now, means no longer trying to make things happen. I began letting problems work themselves out. I stopped trying to pry open doors that were nailed shut and began walking through the doors that were open. I discovered allowing God to be in control feels much better than trying to force solutions. To my surprise, my artistry was pulled in a direction that I never conceived of. I began writing (something I’d never done before) and illustrating a blog that now runs in the Huffington Post. My next step is to compile my posts into a book. It’s an undertaking that never would have come to me if I were still clinging to my “five year plan.”

Today the original “Going With the Flow” painting hangs in my studio.  It calls to mind the acronym for FROG – Fully Relying On God. I need to be reminded daily of the power of surrender. My little frog rider illustrates that truth perfectly. Like me, she has learned that it’s a waste of time to try and redirect the energy of life. Not only is the present moment missed but you’re too preoccupied to notice the gifts that lie around the bend. Relax and enjoy the ride. The current will take you to places that struggle never could.


My friend Karli was happy to model for the fairy in my painting.


The frog is based on this photograph by Gigi Embrechts.

*Click to buy a signed print of, “Going With the Flow.”

Text and images © Sue Shanahan. All rights reserved. www.sueshanahan.com

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13 thoughts on “Going With the Flow

  1. Lovely post! It immediately brought to my mind the little acronym: FROG – Fully Relying On God. Thanks for the reminder.


    • Oh my goodness! I had no idea. It is proof to me that God is behind the scenes orchestrating everything. Thank you for being His mouthpiece. I had to add the acronym to my post. xo


  2. As always, I love your message! I have discovered that if I trust in The Rightness of All Things and try not to control everything, the most amazing opportunities come my way! Love the feel of being ‘in the flow’. Thank you. 💜


  3. There’s something about that picture, Sue. The moment I saw it, I realized how tired and spent I was. The weekend’s coming up. I think I should try and ride among the lilies, for a change.


    • Sue! You’re not going to believe this. After leaving your post, I looked out at the trees. There was a cool rain wind weaving its way through the leaves. I remembered riding among the lilies and not wanting to wait for the weekend, I took a moment to savour that beauty and the delicious wetness of a coming storm. It was just a moment. Later, something tugged me back to my post, An Asking of Roses. Something suddenly became clear. I’ve rewritten the ending. Take a look, Sue. It was the beautiful picture of riding among the lilies that wrought that little miracle. Thank you!


  4. Sue. Isn’t it amazing how your pictures and words are helping so many different people..at the Same time…me included…keep it up I love it…xo


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