I liken my life to that of Peter. Hearing the voice of the Lord calling to me from the water, I rise up and with confidence and boldness I begin to walk toward Him. But then the storm clouds come, and the fear of getting wet or drowning overwhelms me.
So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14:29-30)
Like Peter, when the wind comes and threatens to throw me off course and take me under, I often become fearful. And in that place of fear, I lose sight of the One who waits for me on the other side. My vision becomes cloudy and my mind becomes filled with doubt.
In that moment, it’s either sink or swim.
We are all familiar with Psalm 46:10: “Cease striving and know that I am God.” (NASB). In the original context, cease is a verb that means sink.
Sink and know that I am God.
As I begin to wake up to the art that is alive within me, sinking seems counterintuitive. No! I’m supposed to float! Isn’t that why we’ve been uncovering my passion and desire? So I can succeed in life? My flesh tells me I don’t want to sink. I don’t even like getting my hair wet. Fear and logic tell me I need to stay in the boat to make things happen, not step out into the water and risk drowning. But my spirit knows that there is something sacred in the sinking, something I want to know more about. – A Million Little Ways, pg. 78
When I take my eyes off of Jesus, I will most certainly drown. But when I fix my eyes on Him, refusing to be swayed by the storm, the sinking has a different story. It’s only then that we realize in and of ourselves, we cannot make art.
[Tweet “Alone, my art is empty and useless. But with God, my art brings healing, hope and life to others.”]
But I stumble and get caught up in my own way of doing things, allowing myself to drool over the achievements of others, thinking that I’d like to do that too, just like she did. I can often hear that scared little girl inside of me crying out, “Look at my art!” “Do you see what I’ve just done?” “Look at what I’ve created!” “Is it good enough?”
But whose opinion am I seeking?
At first you want to point to it and headline it and say, This! This is what I was made for! And you delight in the big-city experience of discovery and movement. But soon, you begin to want appreciation and attention for your efforts, billboards to light up your plans, more time to work all hours of the night in the city that never sleeps. Before you realize what has happened, you’re looking at you more than looking at God and you start to sink into self-effort and expectation. But being an image bearer is about reflecting God as a human, not about become a god myself. – A Million Little Ways, pg. 82.
It was never intentional, but I found myself walking in a place of self-effort and expectation. I realized I had been riding on the coattails of those who have gone before me, hoping I would shine in their shadow.
Sinking into Smallness
But when you are walking down that path of self-effort and expectation and you meet God along the way, you sort of get knocked off your horse as you are hit with the reality of your own smallness.
We sink heavy into our own smallness and it’s in that place where we lose our life. And also find it. – A Million Little Ways, pg. 83.
And this is where this chapter took my breath away:
There is a difference between embracing your smallness in the presence of Christ and feeling like a nobody in the presence of others. – A Million Little Ways, pg. 83
I have to stop comparing myself to others.
I have to stop waiting for permission to be qualified.
I have to stop seeing my art as having no value.
The reality is, I don’t have what it takes to make art. Not without Him. And the only way to find Him in the chaos is to sink deeper into Him.
The upside-down mystery of God is that you can still be a miracle gift even when you have no idea where your giftedness comes from, even when all you can bear to do is know you are loved and live like it’s true. You are art, and you make art, but you are not your art. You are God’s art. – A Million Little Ways, pg. 84
So I take my desires, my passions and my art and I sink, deeper into His presence. I will allow myself to be still, to wait, to listen and to know that He is God.