Art. Poetry. Music. Dance. Film. Food done well. Literature.
Art is something essential to the human soul. There is something about a moving piece of music or a beautiful painting that resonates in the deepest parts of who we are. We can get lost in an amazing book or swept away with a beautiful movie so easily. Even if we are not artsy-types we still appreciate it in varying forms.
This weekend I enjoyed watching my daughter be moved by a piece of art in Hobby Lobby. It spoke to her. She stood, enraptured by the painting of a fall road with a scripture that gave her comfort. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 47:10. For fifteen minutes she stood, transfixed, contemplating if she wanted to spend every last cent she had saved to buy this framed painting. It was on sale. But $40 is a lot of money when you are 12.
I didn’t know which way to encourage her, to be honest. It would take every cent she had. But if it was art that would inspire her, bring beauty to her room, and make her smile, wasn’t that a worthwhile way to spend her babysitting money? However, it didn’t match any colors she desires to paint her room. It didn’t match anything, really. But did that matter?
Lately I’ve been dealing with the concept of art thanks to an amazing book—A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman. This book has been refreshing inspiration, breathing life into my dream of becoming a writer.
From the very start this book captivated me. One of the points she makes is so eloquent. She talks about Ephesians 2:10: “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.” That verse spoke to me at my conference last summer. God has plans for me—amazing works he already knows about. But then Emily kindly goes on to give us a language lesson:
These English words used in this text—masterpiece, sometimes translated workmanship—these are translations of the original word used in the letter to the church at Ephesus, the Greek word poiema. Our English word poem comes from this same Greek word. (A Million Little Ways, page 25)
We are a poem written by The Great Artist. What an amazing image. Whenever I hear it translated workmanship, it feels like something functional, something solid like a chair or a house. There is artistic freedom in thinking of myself as a poem. There is unique beauty in that word. Yes, houses and chairs can be beautiful too. But a poem is beauty without needing to be functional. It is beautiful because it is.
I’ve had a hard week, an emotional week. God has spoken with such gentleness into my heart about the kind of writer I should be. He’s spoken to me about being careful with my words and the stories I choose to tell. There has been correction and guidance and redirection as he’s continued to write the poetry of me.
Seeing my daughter captivated by a piece of art today made my heart calm from the turmoil of the week. God is captivated by us. Sometimes he needs to redirect the art that we are living. He needs to paint over the mistakes we make or erase a line or two of the poem to make room for rewrites. But when we submit to his direction, the art becomes more complete each day.
What kind of art has God called you to create? If you aren’t sure, let me recommend Emily’s amazing book. Whether it is the art of baking or raising amazing kids, the art of making numbers move like a symphony across a spreadsheet or the art of painting a sunset, God has created us in his image. And God is an artist.