My dad is an artist. He doesn’t paint pictures to sell or sculpt statues but he does tell detailed, captivating stories in a way that come to life in people’s minds when he teaches about Jesus. He doesn’t build things but he does craft their yard into a healthy, lush, manicured garden of wide variety. When he taught me piano lessons as a young child, he would draw pictures in my notebook each week so I could fill in little circles in the drawing with my practice times. While our girls were young he would decorate birthday cakes for them according to the theme of their party that would rival any professional bakery’s work. I know a lot of my appreciation of colorful, beautiful, original things and words comes from him.
In all these things that he does, in each artistic touch, He resembles his heavenly Father. God is THE artist, the original creator and crafter, the master of all that is intricate and beautiful. He puts in us the ability to create and beautify, to imagine and design. Any creative idea we may have is from Him. He is the infinite source of art in all expressible forms. Think of all He has made, about the detail of each creation, about the ways systems in his more complex creations work together in harmony and precision. Did you know there are more than 250,000 types of flowering plants alone?? Each one unique from the others.
Sometimes as a writer I get frustrated trying to come up with a new idea or express things in a new way. I may feel I’ve exhausted all my ideas or that nothing I think of is really new. Sometimes I feel I’m forcing words out through my fingers clunking on the keyboard resulting in a bunch of meaningless drabble. I need to remember that God supplies the thoughts and ideas. He inspires. I just write.
Sometimes in churches I think tired pastors and leaders feel as if they must copy what some other successful pastor has done because they can’t come up with anything else, anything original. Each one should call on God who never runs out of original ideas.
I watched a video today of a speech given by Elizabeth Gilbert, a popular writer and author of the best-selling book “Eat, Live, Pray”. She was expressing the need for the artist to separate themselves from the process enough to not be unduly pressured regarding the outcome of all their time and effort. Perhaps, she shared, the “stuff” that makes what we do special or stand out doesn’t come from us. This quote in particular really moved me:
Maybe it doesn’t have to be quite so full of anguish, if you never happened to believe in the first place that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you. But maybe if you just believed that they were on loan to you from some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along when you’re finished, with somebody else. – Elizabeth Gilbert
I especially love the part about not believing that “the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you.” In my opinion, the unimaginable source she mentions is God. We are God’s handiwork. Everything about us and in us came from Him. The skills and inspiration we need to do whichever job he’s placed before us will come from Him, not from within us.
When we do draw from Him to help us create something or dream up something new, there will be moments of breathtaking beauty, life-changing impact, far-reaching blessings…all because we remember that all that is good, all true art and creativity is held in the hands of our Father, the Artist.
If you want to watch Elizabeth’s speech click here.