I don’t think I know one talented artist who hasn’t lived through some sort of pain, confusion, or a “dark night of the soul”. Artists are prophetic. They reveal the voice of God that speaks through their own perspective on life and darkness and hope. I have seen dance choreographers, musicians, visual artists, etc., reflect the beautiful human side of God… the side that says, “this is my journey with God. The crap. The ugly parts. The joyful parts. This is what my heart looks like and because He made my heart, what I have to bring is beautiful.” Artists and prophetic people are sensitive, which means I’m sensitive. Wow…. am I sensitive. I feel everything around me and sometimes it is overwhelming.
I was thinking about all of this this morning. I went to bed late having wrestled with God for most of the night. Getting up early to sit before Him didn’t sound super appealing after four hours of sleep. Words were no longer formulating on my tongue. I didn’t know what to say anymore. I didn’t know what to write in my journal. The normal stream of consciousness wasn’t flowing freely. But I got my pen out anyway because the thoughts that were coming to me were so tender that if I said what I really wanted to, I would completely lose it. Instead I wrote lyrics. My lyrics magically knew what was going on in my heart without pounding me over the head with it.
Art is prayer. An artist may not be praying to the right person in their art but inside they are begging for something, communicating with Someone, directing their soul toward something they can’t see.
Jesus, I love how you let me communicate to You in this way. I love that even though I’m not saying out loud exactly what I’m thinking, you see what I’m trying to say through my art. You see my heart behind it and it reminds me that You know me.
Lately, I’ve been feeling pulled in a zillion directions in terms of creative projects . The lack of focus on any particular area of creativity has me frustrated. I have so many things I WANT to do yet very few things are getting done. So many of these projects are on the verge of being finished yet the last steps to completion have yet to be accomplished. That song I want to finish writing? Yeah. Need to organize some time with a certain guitar player for the finishing touches. That novel that has been sitting on my hard-drive for what feels like decades? The thought of finishing the editing process has me breaking out in hives. That dresser that I keep saying I’m going to paint? I can’t seem to scrape up some extra cash in my budget to buy supplies (oh, and what’s a budget again?).
I keep wondering what it is that is causing me to procrastinate. Maybe it is that these last steps are just way too boring for me to hold my attention. Maybe it’s my fear of failure that my work might actually stink… stink really bad. Maybe it’s that I am scared of letting people see inside a little piece of me… a little vulnerable, somewhat broken piece that influenced both my song and my novel.
But as I sit here and ponder all of these excuses, one little whispered phrase keeps penetrating my psyche, “but I love to do these things with you. I take pleasure in seeing you do what you were made to do.” And that right there is motivating enough to remember what I love about creating characters and scenes and adventures on a page. If that is all that happens with finishing a book… if I just get to partake in His feeling of pleasure that I finished what I started… I finished an idea that He gave me, than I suppose that is all of the motivation I need.