Excitement is one emotion I’m feeling as I type these first words. But I’ll admit…they are laced with doubt and a “why” question in mind, but hey…that is just fear talking, right? You see, I wouldn’t label myself as a “writer” or even among the very wise. English was not one of my “comfort zone” subjects in school…it took a lot of work! So why write?? Well, I pray this blog becomes an answer to a call: To live the art I’m called to offer.
I recently finished a lovely book entitled A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman. About halfway through, daughter asked me what I was reading, and as I tried to explained the soul feeding truths I had been gleaning, she asked me if Emily was my friend. After giggling a bit, I actually said “yes, yes she is,” though I haven’t been given the chance to meet her in person (yet!). You see, the art that Emily lives out is encouragement. She has a beautiful way of helping her readers (and listeners…more on that later) connect with who they are, how they are designed, and cheers them on toward living more fully in those prayerful revealings. Like a good friend.
One of the first things in her book to catch my eye was this: “How are we to know what things we should or can pursue? Maybe those things bringing you joy do so because they are one of the many ways in which God wants to declare his glory through you.” So, in response to that, I set out to discover what brought me JOY! Ponder that yourself if you will. What brings you joy? What makes you come alive when you are doing it?? This just may be the art you were made to live.
Emily fleshed out this idea of an artist beautifully in her book, and one of my favorite ideas was this:
“An artist is simply anyone who is brave enough to move toward what makes her come alive. And whatever comes out as a result of that, be it [music, faith or lessons learned], these are simply the evidence that art has happened, proof of people willing to bear God’s image in the world.” (my list was inserted here, but yours could contain anything!)
At this point, my blog is called “Music, Faith & Lessons Learned”. This is because I truly find JOY in music. Singing, playing piano, leading worship, composing, listening…I love it all! My music is directly influenced by what I’m learning in my faith journey and life lessons God is teaching me along the way. My hope and prayer is that I can give you a glimpse into the life of this “artist” and share my music with you as I’m able to record and develop it. This is where the doubt enters in. Why?
Why should I take the time to write? Why should I take the time to share my music? Free time isn’t something I feel I’m graced with these days. But, I was able to overcome these questions in two different dimensions recently as I listened to an episode from Emily’s current project, The Next Right Thing podcast. I’d encourage you to look this podcast up…seriously good stuff! In Episode 5, she shared this:
“What if you desire to do a particular thing because God created you a particular way, not to tease you or to make you miserable, but to actually mold you into becoming more like him, for his glory and the benefit of others? Could it be possible that the thing you most long for, the thing you notice and think about and wish you could do, is the thing you were actually made for and are being equipped to do?” (emphasis mine)
Catch that?? The dream inside isn’t there to tease. What if walking toward that dream in faithfulness means “becoming more like” the woman and men God designed us to be. AND, when we are faithful in that, it is for His glory. He is equipping us to walk toward that dream, that idea, that art. And not only that, it is for the benefit of others!
Henri Nouwen in his book Here and Now says:
“The more I think about the human suffering in our world and my desire to offer a healing response, the more I realize how crucial it is not to allow myself to become paralyzed by feelings of impotence and guilt. More important than ever is to be very faithful to my vocation to do well the few things I am called to do and hold on to the joy and peace they bring me.”
There is a lot going on in the world right now. There are hurricanes, fires, flooding, people displaced from their homes…and that is just in my nation! Closer to home, there are thieves breaking in everywhere it seems and tragedies to raw to even talk about. Dear friends of mine are walking through some tough stuff with medical issues, family issues, financial issues…the list never seems to end. Something I am continually drawn to do is to encourage and to help. Have you ever tried to help everyone though? Can’t be done…believe me. I can’t even help everyone within my little circle of personal connection! Guilt casts quite a shadow when I consider all of the people hurting or struggling…I just want to help.
We can’t let guilt seep in though. We should help where and when we are able, but when we feel like there is nothing more we can do, there is still a job we CAN do.
It is more important than ever to make art! We are each called, by our creative Creator in specific ways. We, as a whole, make up the many parts of a body. Without each other, we are just a piece. We need each other to function, to live more fully, and to thrive!! As much as I would love to do big and important things for the world, my hope and prayer is that could at least do my own thing well and present it as an offering. So friends, this is my offering to my Creator, and to you.