Some express art through form and order and discovery. Others express it in ways more wild and adventurous, colorful and raw. Art’s expression can manifest in as many ways as there are people. Art is in the way we arrange our books to sit on their shelves, or how place we place the potted herbs by the front door, or throw together our own version of lasagna, or write a love letter, or describe a theory, or discover an equation, or figure out a solution to the sump-pump problem, or teach a child a poem. It is the magnificent application of the inquiring mind, and the motivated intention of the inventive spirit.
Art is what we make and what we give back to the world, whether it be constructed with fabric, or paint, or food, or words, or business plans, or maps; and there is most definitely art involved in the very practical details of raising children, and establishing a home. Art is part of the fabric of life; it is design, beauty, purpose, intention and invitation; it is optimism mixed with delight, possibility and hope. Art is part of what makes being alive so intoxicating and full of wonder; where we hope and dream we open ourselves up to God’s creative hand upon our lives. The life of faith consists of essentially committing ourselves to God’s artful hand upon the earth, and in turn becoming a new piece of His expression.
Art is part of what we were made for; it is us participating in an aspect of God’s glory.
Art assumes the value of curiosity. When we are curious, we explore, ask questions, wonder why, and engage the world; we don’t stay static – we are no longer satisfied by the status quo – we begin to contemplate that we are a part of something greater. We begin to push back at limits and hone in on impossibilities that all of a sudden seem like they might actually be possible.
Art is established in safety, but it delights to nurture the risk-taking exploratory mind. Here again is a paradox: we require safety as a foundation to grow as artists, yet we move into spaces involving exploration into uncharted, unsafe territory!
Art engages us with our surroundings. In an age of consumption and consumerism, which foster a passive position towards life, art and creativity have now become counter-cultural. When we settle into a place and make it more lovely, pull intention into our surroundings and invest in something – be it a person, event, or idea – we mark it with the brush of our Creator.
Art does not take and take and take, merely consuming the offerings of others. Certainly, there is exchange and goodwill-stealth inherent in inspiration, but essentially, art gives. At its most elevated, art opens doors, inspires revelation, breathes expectations into what could be, and brings life to others.
Art helps to remind us of our identity. As we practice exercising our unique voice and applying our particular perceptions of life, we experience the joy of being those whom God made us to be! This is a type of true wealth: to explore the depths of our purpose, and revel in the magnificence of our new identity as children of the Creator.
Art helps us develop lateral thinking; it forges pathways of hope where the world says, “No,” or, “Don’t go there.” Art runs into the wilder places of faith when the world would stay rigid and linear and controlling.
Creativity presents solutions to problems, whereas our culture lives in a perpetual crisis-obsessed gridlock. We confound this appalling cycle of fear when we refuse to play the grief-game and simply sing a different tune. When we immerse our lives, surroundings and relationships in love, beauty and hope we begin to create and establish new realities and possibilities for the future.
Creativity is ultimately an expression of hope. We create when we believe that more is possible, that the future can be better, and that we were made to experience even more of God’s greatness on the earth here and now.
Creativity is active, not passive; it is participatory and alive. And in one of the characteristically remarkable features of creativity, the process of making art to change the world around us changes us too.
Art challenges rigidity and fear, unproductive-mindsets and anxiety-induced limitations; art tests new possibilities and takes a chance at failing. Art is brave. It is not merely a concept, or even an expression; it is an essential element to the awakened life.
When we are alive to who we really are – who God says we really are – we begin to flourish and create, grow and inspire, naturally. The creative life is part of the atmosphere of Heaven and we have the great joy of manifesting it here on earth, if we would be bold enough to own it as part of who we really are.
We each have offerings to bring to this world. This season, it might come in the form of baking casseroles for neighbours, learning to crochet, helping a child understand a new concept, writing a song, planning a garden, tinkering with wood, or building a shed… whatever the passions currently on our hearts, we are each a critical feature of the fabric of our emerging culture; we must lend our voices generously to the world!
We are not designed for tiresome, same-old, resigned living. We were created for adventure, discovery, growth and expansion; this is the life we can live and model within our homes. After all, our children are future solutions to problems that have not yet appeared, and they are answers to needs not yet recognized. Like Adam and Eve, our children are stewards of forthcoming gardens; it is our great honour to prepare them for the high calling of establishing hope in their Father’s world.