Friday, April 26, 2013

How to Boast in the Right Things

Well, here we go...the first official blog post in my series on art and faith!

"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight."
(Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Last semester, I was sitting in church when an interesting thought crossed my mind: What if the reason I have remained outside of where I think I should be so that I rely on God more than my own abilities? It's an interesting thought.

Envy is an easy thing to slip in to. If we want wisdom, we may envy those who we think are wise; if we want strength, we envy those we think are strong. And if we want to make perfect and amazing art (and somehow still have enough time to make perfect and amazing personal projects), we envy those who seem to have endless energy and skills. Speaking from personal experience, this comparison is not the best thing to have running through your head with deadlines approaching...

I wonder what it would be like if we suddenly got what we wanted. What if every artist was able to pick up their pencil and suddenly everything we imagine is able to perfectly appear on the page. Let's be honest, it'd be pretty nice.

But I also wonder how much that would affect our relationships with God? Would we gradually, or even suddenly, stop relying on His strength to get through those oh-too-frequent times of insecurity? Like the rich, strong and wise men of Jeremiah 9:23 start boasting in something that could easily be taken away? It's not out of the realm of possibility.

It's important to remember that, like these men, the skills that I think make me the best (or at the very least, competent) can easily be lost.

Another vital thing to remember as we work is that we are not owners of the skills and gifts we possess, we are merely stewards.

We don't need to boast in our abilities, because there is something better to boast in. We can boast in the fact that we know God, and that no matter what our abilities are (or aren't), He is still guiding our lives.

That fact makes those times where I fall short of my artistic expectations at lot less painful.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Taking the Time

I'm about to start a project on this blog that I've been thinking about for a long time.

To start out, I want to explain my thought process behind this. Every once in a while, I'll be in the middle of my devotions, or reading a blog and want to search and see if there's a blog that speaks on art and faith. Usually (unless I've been looking in the wrong places), I'll get kinds of results.

1) By typing in the word "artist" I'll get something that revolves around musicians, or worship leaders.

2)I'll get a blog that deals with art as more of a hobby or a passion, rather than a profession.

I have been looking for something that I can't find, because I think I have a very specific idea of what I want in my head, and as always, no one can fully understand those specifics but me.

The first time I came up short in my search, I felt God plant a seed of an idea in my mind. What if I was the person to write on the things that I'm looking for? Maybe there are others like me: someone who's art is so ingrained in their life that to not have it is to not function properly. Maybe like me, someone is wondering what God has to say on the subject of art. It's been a long time since I first thought about that idea, and every once in a while I'll think about developing this into a reality, but things have stopped me.

The biggest thing that has stopped me from doing this is the fact that I am so busy. I guess this isn't really an excuse, but I find myself so consumed with the pressures of producing art for school that I pretty much leave everything else behind. I don't work on personal projects (unless I'm feeling particularly prcrastinate-y that day) and forget about taking breaks to do nothing. Sometimes, I even forgo my mornings with God because I'm worried that there aren't enough hours in the day to fit in everything.

But today, God has nudged the idea for a series of posts about art to the front of my mind. It's true, maybe I can't always find time to work on this. But if I have to find the time to reflect on my art and my faith, then it's almost like it's an afterthought instead of a priority.

Finding the time to do something, whether it's working on my figures, doing exercises to prevent my tendonitis from flaring up, or spending time with God is not what I should strive after.

I need to take time to do this. Taking the time means intentionally planning ahead and setting aside some time to work on personal projects.

Without taking the time to do something, all of my dreams stay just as they are: dreams. Vapors.

I want to make this idea a reality.