Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Adventure Called Life Day 205...the artist struggle...

so i've conveniently coined the phrase "the artist struggle" to describe the absolutely paralyzing paradigm shift an artist experiences at semester end. Just recently have I identified myself as an artist. Usually that title is reserved in my mind for someone with a record deal or is making money and becoming famous through their art.

this just isn't true. sometimes the most inspiring and true artists are not famous, are not well know, and sometimes they can be very under appreciated. I am slowly coming to terms with the artist ego, the desire for fame, and the push for perfection. the music i produce or even "cover" is an extension of my heart, my mind and my soul. If I am giving my best, I am giving myself in my art. Its a manifestation of who I am. Thats as vulnerable as it gets.

now imagine being used to daily, even hourly creativity. imagine living through the creation of your art. life is good. right?

now imagine that being slowly taken away. assignments sort of pile up, but you can mange to get them done, but still play guitar and write. Life is still good, but it could be better...

now imagine being overwhelmed with assignments. drowning in busy work and paper after paper. throw some serious relationships and some heavy scripture in the mix. now you don't have any time to be creative. you don't have anytime to listen to Jesus. you talk to him an awful lot now, pleading with him to allow you finish this assignment soon so you can collapse to sleep. but listening? digging into the word? impossible. your guitar lays lifeless in its case. you haven written a song in a whole week. two weeks. maybe three. its eating away at you. its destroying your productivity. its robbing your joy.

how can you stop it? can you fight it? is there a way to be an artist, a student and a follower of Christ all at the same time?

the answer seems to be a resounding NO. No, you can't see any light at the end of the tunnel. Its so dark, you've forgotten what even the light from the moon and the stars feel like, let alone the sun...

somewhere deep, deep inside you. down your soul, into the blackness, around a couple of corners to the deepest part of yourself. there is hope. there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Jesus still dwells within you. Every once in a while you see him in the eyes of those around you too. You see it in the way they look at you, the kind soft words they speak to you, the soft touch of their hand, the welcomed hug of encouragement. The quiet joy of the trees, the blades of grass, all springing to life around you echos the Father's love with a resounding yes.

"Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
       and your healing will quickly appear;
       then your righteousness will go before you,
       and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
       you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
       "If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
       with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
       and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
       then your light will rise in the darkness,
       and your night will become like the noonday.
 11 The LORD will guide you always;
       he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
       and will strengthen your frame.
       You will be like a well-watered garden,
       like a spring whose waters never fail."
Isaiah 58:8-11

just because for these couple weeks, you can't write a song, you don't spend enough time, if any, alone with God. you still see him, you still hear him. chapel helps. instead of singing your lungs out like you do in choir anyway, what if that became your time to listen? something way cool happens when you just stop singing in the midst of a worship service and listen to God speak and move through the people around you.

as cliche as it sounds, inviting Jesus into your homework time is crucial. You can be doing an assignment and it can literally change your entire mindset. allowing God to sit beside you at the computer, opening it up to his input about that sentence or this sentence. Its amazing if you do assignments with Jesus how creative they become. I'm not saying it will be instantaneous or that your research paper with touch your soul, but anything with Jesus is always more enjoyable :)

I guess it comes down to intentionality. be intentional with your time. make a list. check it off as you get done. if nothing gets done on the list, do it tomorrow. don't beat yourself up about it. ask for an extension. this time of the semester can be just plain CRAZY. don't worry about it. give it to God. ask him for focus, for productivity. He loves you. He loves us. He created us to be artists. lets embrace it, even in our mundane, routine and boring lives. creativity can come in the most terrible and inconvenient times.

like this post for instance. im in the middle of class. yup. i know, such a bad kid right? oh no. this is so much more important. this post is using exactly the servant leadership, the hope, the creativity we are talking about in class. thanks Jesus. use these words to touch your people. thank you for this gift of encouragement.

<3 carolyn marie

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