I read and hear things being written or being preached but there seems to be vast areas of my life that have become normal to me that I just don’t hear articulated very much. Keep in mind I’m not sharing a comprehensive Christian outlook or in any way am I teaching something that is absolute, but I find myself speaking about fringe things that are sometimes common in riding the life of faith. I just share them to encourage anyone out there to keep being different, keep being abnormal, and keep being courageous enough to be how God created you to be.
This idea came up a couple days in a row and I have/had zero energy to defend or explain it. Let me introduce you to the idea through my paintings first then life later. So I paint. I paint at events, I paint at home, I like to do creative things and appreciate creativity. Often, understandably, people come up and ask me what a painting means. I have seen videos where people do art interpretation three different ways through three different observers and they pull worlds relating to their life experience and personal history from paintings. Even scripture; a sentence may say one thing, but it speaks differently to different people in different seasons. It’s alive; living through inspiration.
Life is more controllable and more comfortable when we interpret things, our reality, to mean one specific thing. It’s logical, it makes sense, and we have right answers. For some reason, years ago, God decided to slide me off the dance floor of right answers and ever since I have been swimming in a vague reality of the truth of love, three dimensionally swirling around every sort of reality and frankly, sometimes I don’t even remember which way is up. In this water I am still dancing but my dance partner doesn’t move just back and forth but now my dance partner–which is inspiration–moves in ways I didn’t know I could follow.
And so in regards to my art for instance. I paint what I see. That’s what I do. I don’t “do” art apart from inspiration. I’m not religious about that or anything, I just lack desire to create things I understand. So I buy a canvas as the home for something I’ve already seen in my head. And in order for productivity to be had, some would say I now have to interpret it and clarify it in order for it to speak. But inspiration speaks regardless of explanations. And so I will go through a whole creative process, of seeing, creating, and passing along, without ever understanding what I’m doing the whole time. It is to my benefit and the benefit of other humans beings around me if I trust inspiration and follow. He knows every heart and every circumstance and is logically far more effective.
Am I against understanding? Of course not, it is the spirit of God. Do I think there is power when we move outside of the borders of our understanding in response to Holy Spirit? Definitely. In my life this applies to more than just art. What about relationships, what about our jobs, what about responding to how God’s created you or something he’s called you to?
There are seasons of my life I don’t understand. I heard a call, responded, I was myself, and left not knowing what God was doing through that and still don’t. At times He’s even reiterated it through other people. “I’m doing more here than you know at the moment.” Okay… I guess I won’t reason away my “productivity” and move on to something else. I’ll just continue being me…here.
Success in this life is so vastly different from anything the world paints as success or even the Christian church sometimes. Success is a relationship. A relationship where you care for the other person’s opinions and feelings, you listen and get to know them, you walk the same direction together, you believe them, trust them, and grow through your relationship with that person, who is the messiah of your life.
I see people sometimes debating decisions between following what they feel like God is saying or what seems to make sense from their perspective. Whenever I hear someone say they chose what they felt like God was saying to them I want to leap and cheer and give hugs and high fives. It comes down to: do you trust him?
I was challenged by God once to worship him, probably more than once, but specifically this one time. I really carried that word. Yes it means sing songs with your spirit, yes that means spend time in adoration, that is worship, but for me it meant something more at the time. How did Christ worship? Did he lead masses of people in songs and singing to the father? Did he try to gather everyone together to petition the father concerning the Roman government and social injustices?
His worship in my eyes was his laid down life; his obedience, his surrender, his yes to the father, regardless of its appearance of success or failure. He lived life in liberty and spoke the truth in order for others to participate with the freedom of life like he was. Christ, through obedience, in his vast freedom, dared to respond and fail according to the eyes of the world. God understands what he’s doing when he calls you into something.
He doesn’t misunderstand social security. He doesn’t misunderstand your expensive education. He doesn’t forget your history in that area of your life. He doesn’t not see your inadequacies or your frustrations…or your lack of understanding. But he didn’t wait for any of those things before going ahead and communicating with your heart anyway. He knows all those things and understands them completely and still believes in you, and his ways that often offend others senses of normalcy and propriety.
There’s a whole unseen spiritual reality that you are already fully blessed in. There’s a liberty in everyone’s life that’s been paid for. There’s belief in something bigger than understanding. And there’s risk to be had, and fear to laugh in the face of, regardless of having anything to show for our sowing, our response, our journey of love, or our choices.
And…I’m not waiting for understanding to come. I get to continue to enjoy the ride, I get to continue to go, to listen, to speak, to create, to express, to pray, to rest, to enjoy and he is perfectly able to lead me, shepherd me, teach me, and guide me. He’s always with me whether or not I understand. Like a kid in the backseat not aware of a lot of the dynamics that go on the world of adults, I will enjoy the wind in my hair, the sun on my face, and leave the driving to someone who created the car, knows the way, and has invited me to come along for the ride.