I’m not one for small chat so lets cut to the chase. I think as artists we live under WAY TOO MUCH PRESSURE! I mean, there are a lot of categories that we fit into where there is pressure, but being an artist is a big one. Let me count the ways!
You’re not really an artist because:
…you don’t have enough skill
… you don’t have the right style
… You don’t have anything to say
… you don’t get paid
… you don’t make enough money
… no one ever sees your work
… your work has never gone viral
… you’ve never been to art school
… you don’t have art friends
… you don’t look like an artist
… you don’t spend enough time on your art
… you didn’t become an artist soon enough
And the list goes on and on and on. But you know what. I think most of these questions can be eliminated from ever having our attention again with a simple (but oh so powerful) perspective shift.
Being an artist is not about what you do. It’s about being. Just as you are. Right where you are. With whatever situation you are in right now. You are an artist. The actual creating of art is just a natural side effect of you being you. And it’s a lot easier than the voices have made it sound.
As an artist you literally think differently than someone who is not. Your eyes catch light and color and symmetry. You hear patterns and waves and songs hidden in the wind. You use the same 26 letters everyone else does in patterns that are coded to unlock even the most closed off heart. You don’t know where it came from. It just sort of spills out of you.
And this, my friend is the key. The overflow. All of us have an overflow that manifests itself as our gifting’s. It’s an overflow of Gods heart into ours. It’s the spilling over of his work in our lives onto something or someone else.
It’s as effortless for us as it is for the cup. The cup just sits there while someone fills it up. To overflow. The cup has no arms or legs to pull the water in faster or turn the facet on itself. It doesn’t have the ability to expand or contract to hold more or less water and control when it overflows. It doesn’t have a brilliant mind to think wonderful thoughts that will make the water want to fill it up more. The only way a cup can overflow is if it accepts that it is a cup. And it’s job is to use the structure it was given to hold whatever is put into it. And when it can’t hold anymore it overflows.
You have no control over who God made you. You only have control over who you accept yourself to be. And even if you don’t accept it- it doesn’t change it!
Art is not a factory that God put inside of you with the expectation that you churn out deep and provoking work that depicts his heart to save the world. Because he is not worried about saving the world. He already has. Art is not a sterilizer that is meant to wash away darkness from the world. He is not worried about the darkness. He has already overcome it. Art is not a last ditch effort to say something that there are no words for. Because he doesn’t need words to know your heart. He made it.
The word “artist” describes a set of tools that God has given you that allow him to speak to you in a way that most ministers to your heart. It’s a language of heaven that you have been invited to learn. Because it is fun. It is a piece of Gods character that he wrapped around you like a glove and then let sink into your DNA.
Art is simply a manifestation of Gods presence in your life. And as all other manifestations it will change in the different seasons of your life.
The first work of art you should be looking for is those one on one conversations with you and God. Imagine the time he takes choosing the words and creating the images and orchestrating the sounds that work to together to be his voice in your life. Receive the gift! Embrace your roll in the conversation.
Then look for the artistry in your own life. Your everyday, normal life. Every person you meet is a living work of art. God is painting their story with every breath they take- and the same is true for you. Join him and create with him. Make your bed as an artist. Appreciate the texture of the cloth. Wash the dishes as an artist. Meditate on being washed clean. Carry yourself as an artist while you go about your day. Walk as one who sees beauty.
Relationships with others is one of the most powerful ways to create with God. Create a friendship with him. Learn the other person. Be vulnerable. Be faithful. Build a history. Get dirty and draw out some gold. Weave a marriage. Give birth to a mother. Garden a child. These works echo in eternity. Give them all that you have. Hold. Nothing. Back.
When you have seen God begin to pour out on those things in your life. When you are in awe and in partnership with that work. You will begin to see an overflow. Extra beauty pouring out of your life that is looking for an extra outlet. Then perhaps you will paint, or dance or sing.
Do not allow the enemy to trick you into discrediting the plenty that you have all around you for the little bit of extra that is coming. Do not underestimate the amount of art that is being poured into you. You can hold a whole lot of beauty and you need to- before the overflow comes. Honor yourself and be at peace with all that you are already creating with him. Steward the art he has already given you. Your life and how you live it with him.
We don’t need to work to create art. We need to open our eyes and see that we ARE art. And trust that he is pouring into us all that our hearts desire. And then some.
Give yourself permission to call yourself an artist by meeting the one and only criteria. You are one.