It may be hard to imagine we have something beautiful and creative to offer if we haven’t a voice to sing or a hand to paint. – A Million Little Ways: Uncover The Art You Were Made To Live.
I’ve always wondered if my creative offerings are enough. I’m not the best singer, but I can carry a tune. I don’t get picked to sing during special services or conferences, and I wonder why I am even signing in the first place. And even though my paintings are unique, I am still plagued by thoughts of “not good enough”. I constantly put my art on display before the art of others, and judge it through the lens of one who is still insecure in who she is. If my singing is for the Lord, then why do I compare myself? If my painting is to reflect His glory, then why do I feel it pales in comparison next to those of others?
In searching for my own unique expression of art, I’ve had to ask myself this question many times, “What is it that makes me come alive? What is the art that I was born to make?” Singing connects my heart to the Father and I feel close to Him when I worship. In painting, I feel His overwhelming presence as I become one with Him and try convey His heart onto canvass.
But what else is it that makes me come alive?
Perhaps the answer is that I’m not fully living. I can get so wrapped up in the doing, and the how, that I forget that all is art. Whether it’s cooking dinner, teaching my children, volunteering in children’s ministry, or sifting through piles of dirty laundry, isn’t it all supposed to be for His glory? And if that is the case, then it is all beautiful, and it is all art.
In order to fully live, I must be fully alive, walking in the freedom of who He has called me to be, with Christ confidence, safe and secure in His love for me.
Who or what am Identifying with?
God, the Master Artist, made man in His image. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it was because they wanted the glory for themselves, to be like God. They traded their identity — who they were — for who they wanted to be. When they traded their identity, they no longer were able to do the work originally designed for them in the garden.
What is it that I am looking at while striving to make art with my own life? Is it the singers or painters that are more skilled than me? Is it the moms who get to stay home with their kids? Is it the couple who managed to buy a new house and two new cars this year? [Tweet “The more I look at the art that others are making, the more I lose sight of my own identity.”]
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)
God made us each image bearers and has gifted us with unique talents and abilities with which to do His work. We cannot function in our own identity while constantly looking at the art of others. I struggle with this in my writing when I fear that my words have no purpose, or that everything I have to say has already been said by someone with more followers and a bigger ministry. When I compare myself to others, I have to take a hard look within and ask myself if I am after what they have. If I am truly content with who I am and what it is He has called me to do, why would I ever doubt that He can use my work, no matter how small, to reach the multitudes?
The art you were made to live will not and cannot look like that of another. Living a life of comparison is not living at all. It will only lead to despair, depression and art that no one wants to look at. It’s time to look up, to lay hold of our image-bearing identity in Christ, and embrace the art that we were made to live.