You Are An Artist, Too!
Finding the Creativity In Life and Worship
Creativity is creating something from nothing. It looks at the blank page and says, “What if I put some words and letters onto this page…could I turn it into a story?” It takes a blank canvas and says, “I wonder if I could turn these colors into feelings?” Creativity takes a country road and makes you ask, “I wonder where that goes?” Creativity takes twelves notes and turns them into a symphony.
Creativity never says, “I don’t think so.” Instead it says, “Maybe!”
An artist looks beyond what is to what might be. And then dives headfirst into the unknown, using their creative tools to go on an adventure. Many times the destination is unknown, and the way through appears dark. But the artist believes the journey is worth it, even if what is “created” is of no value to anyone, even themselves, because in the process our perspective is expanded, our hearts our cracked open a little wider, and mystery has been explored (and that’s never a wrong choice!). In the journey of creation, the “can’ts” and “shoulds” are thrown out the window, and we say a giant “yes” to what could be.
I believe God is continually saying a giant “yes” over you, not only through the creation of your self-ness, but in the gift of every single breath you’re given.
God is a grand Creator—the ultimate example of how to create by breathing life into nothingness. Just look around you. It’s quite hard to miss. Nature shouts the wonderful creative work of God. And I choose to believe that God is asking me…asking us…to be a part of this great, life-giving, soul-enriching process.
I am choosing to be a creative artist. Maybe you wouldn’t call yourself an artist just yet, but I believe you are.
“Each creature is a unique aspect of the infinite Mystery of God. Until we experience each thing in its specific ‘thisness,’ as artists so often do, we will not easily experience the joy and freedom of Divine Presence.”
This quote taken from theologian John Duns Scotus, encourages us to see that God is expressed in everything and everyone. And it’s our opportunity to see that.
But so often we’re too busy looking at the detail of the road, trying to find our way, that we miss the remarkable scenery that fills our periphery.
Sometimes we look at photos and we don’t know what we feel.
We just know we do.
Can we learn to respond better to what we see, hear, or feel?
For me, the best response is usually, “Wow!” And then I can say, “Thank you,” directing gratitude to God for the surprise of beauty I just encountered.
This is worship, to me.
Then, by capturing the image, I’m able to share it with you and say, “Look!” I’m inviting you into the experience. And we can say “Wow…and thank you” together.
I spent many years working as a writer in Nashville. I was hired to spend time with someone and then write words that would capture that person’s essence, purpose, and mission. I would take a snapshot— usually on a tape recorder, but mostly in my soul— and then develop the photo onto the blank page. Awkward and frustrating, rewrites would chip away at the rough edges until the piece had a song to it.
This is worship, to me.
Seeing, beholding, being in the moment, and experiencing all it has to offer. The Person, the place, the meal, the beauty… offering itself to me to be seen, to be held, to be appreciated. And then the artist returns to the studio to recant the experience so that others can share in it.
I see, I feel, I respond.
“Wow, thanks, look!”
My worship is not usually in a church sanctuary with music or a sermon.
My worship is seeing the beauty in what some may call ordinary. To find the mystery in what may seem mundane. To find the hope in the hopelessness. To see light when surrounded by the dark. To be present to the moment so I don’t miss the wonder-full-ness of it.
To live with open hands, open eyes, and open heart, to receive and respond to what’s being offered to me, with humility and awe.
To listen. To ponder.
Releasing expectations of what I’ll get from this moment or the next.
“When we are receptive we let go of our agendas and expectations. We allow ourselves to see beneath preconceived ideas. Rather than going after what we want in life, or ‘forcing,’ we cultivate contentment with what actually is.”
—Christine Valters Painter, Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice
Listen, ponder, respond, share.
You are an artist, too.
I believe we are all invited to be creators—to bring creativity, awareness, inspiration to everything we do. To live with eyes wide open, willing to live in wonder, and experiencing the beauty in and all around us.
Here’s a piece of art I created. It started as melody and lyric, then I added music and all the other instruments. Then I created this video while driving through Colorado. I pulled over and found a deserted plateau that was glorious, and set up my phone to shoot the video. The goal is not to get you to stare at the video and be any level of impressed by me. But to help you feel something that you might not feel otherwise—to help guide you on your journey of understanding that you are also the Beloved. This came from nothingness. A blank slate, which I said a grand YES to.
I’m curious what you feel when you hear and watch this?