Why We Need God to CreatePosted on August 22, 2016
Curve after curve, our eyes widened and underwhelming words like "wow" and "ahhh" stumbled out of our mouths as the fog, then waves, then sunlight, then redwoods presented themselves before us on the CA-1 highway. It was as if God was preparing our hearts and minds with the thrill of His beauty before He rushed in with the overwhelming truths of Himself later that weekend.
We packed up our trusty Honda CRV, loaded with sour gummy bears and Starbucks Summer Indie playlists with expectation and a need for a little getaway up the California/Oregon coast. Beyond needing some RnR, the real purpose of this trip was to attend the Canvas Conference, a first time event hosted by Humble Beast, where they paired concepts of creativity and theology together through amazing guest artists and speakers. It. Did. Not. Disappoint.
What I write below are key messages that stood out to me from Canvas. I take no credit for these insanely brilliant and necessary truths. Iâ€™m just the messenger, so please read. This is worth your time.
1. We Are Made to Worship Something
You don't realize what you worship until someone calls you out. Canvas called me out. Only an hour in, and God quickly began showing me who and what I worship and how those things are weighing me down-choking the life out me and my work.
"What we worship is what we become." - Ekemini Uwan
I became caught up in the world's narrative, again. My focus blurred with Love in Transit and ME in the foreground and God somewhere on the horizon. And so frustration, discontentment, irritation, jealousy, and comparison ensued.
I believed in the lie that the bigger the platform I build, surely the more glory God will receive. (concept from Sho Baraka)
Are you building a platform for YOU? Or for your Creator? The one that gave you life in the first place.
"We have exchanged the glory of our Creator for the glitter of creation." - Joe Thorn
2. What I Make Reflects What I Believe
It's impossible to not create out of your beliefs. Your art reflects your worldview.
"When you experience the living God, it will be infused in what you are creating." - Aaron Ivey
Protect Your Heart:
- What are you consuming? As Christian artists, I want my God to come out through everything I do. So what comes in is imperative to what I produce. I had to stop and assess what TV shows, music and movies I am currently consuming to infiltrate my heart. Is that worth it to impact the work God created me to do? (concept from Aaron Ivey)
- Be aware of the cultural narrative. Stories have a way of contributing to who we are so we need to be aware of what stories are being told to us whether we want to hear them or not and what stories have made their way into who we are as a person. Our culture's stories like "Love is the answer" or "Success equals the latest and greatest" are stories that are nowhere to be found in the Bible. (concept from Mike Cosper)
3.Pursue Humility and Excellence
The moment AFTER you see a friend post a video they made or see another wedding they were asked to shoot or stumble upon an amazing Instafeed, is the worst moment. It's the twinge of jealousy and pure pout. From that moment it's a climb up to humility, partnership, joy and support for that other artist. It's painful but necessary because the alternative is deadly. As we daily look to the cross for humility in our own work, the encouragement and partnering with others flows much more freely.
"True humility frees us to pursue excellence." - Bryan Winchester
Remember who created you in the first place. True creativity does not come from within yourself. I can't produce anything without the One who created me.
God has a purpose for every single heartbeat on this planet. It doesn't matter how large or small the mission is, if it's been given by your Creator, than let's celebrate in humility about the mission we have and experience the freedom and joy that mission brings.
"Keep striving to express ancient truths in fresh new ways."- Matthew Westerholm
As Christian artists we have the responsibility to not only share the Good News but to do so with excellence and in truth. Being creative doesn't forgo mind work. I believed this lie until last weekend. As an artist I thought I was exempt from deep thinking and only focused on the emotional and spiritual. We need both creativity and theology to give God the glory in the most excellent way.
I came to this conference weary and God faithfully reminded me of who He is. And that's all it took. The weight is lifted-creativity restored. There's a desire to pursue excellence out of the only life-giving source I have-my Creator.
I can't wait for next year.