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.


  1. Thank you, Lauren! Such a good reminder! I'm so glad you're writing.