Angel Cloud
“Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”    ~Luke 18:17 (NIV)

We rarely see successful artists who aren’t pouring themselves daily into their work, so I’ve been encouraging my son, who’s been gifted in artistic ability, to sketch regularly.

When a friend posted pictures of beautiful oil paintings that she’d completed in one day, from start to finish, I presented them as evidence that he, too — with practice — might one day produce artwork with the speed and ease of a Xerox machine!

That’s when the excuses, insteadspewed forth with the speed of a Xerox machine:  I don’t know what to draw; I don’t have time; I don’t have a proper work space; I don’t know what to work on because I have so many things started; The light bulbs have an orange glow…

It’s funny how quickly we can come up with excuses for not striving for growth and improvement.

But he’s not alone in that boat; I’m likely the captain.

A Childlike Wonder

Chase might have inherited some unfortunate  personality traits of the so-called “creative” person.

I too, tend to delay artistic endeavors and juggle many unfinished projects.  Because we creative types bore easily, I have to dig deep for motivation.  Self-discipline is a battle.

Does anyone else wield an oar in this boat?

But, there’s a flip side.  Along with the aforementioned characteristics, we can also be curious, passionate, and innovative; we usually don’t mind a little ambiguity or mystery; and we love to learn and can learn from our mistakes, even using them to our advantage.

And our creative nature influences our spiritual journey; it is what often propels us to take steps in our walk the Lord, so that even when we make a move in the wrong direction, we’ll likely learn from the misstep.

Even if we don’t see the whole path laid out before us, we’re okay with that.  We’re usually don’t mind too much that we don’t get to see the whole picture.

Adult “creatives” possess a childlike wonder.  We’re the ones who see angels in the clouds. We hear God’s voice — His wisdom — in random occurrences or phone calls from friends.  We feel God’s loving touch in a gentle breeze.  We find hope in rainbows.  And we believe that a hummingbird carries special meaning when it hovers in our path (Romans 1:20, Isaiah 55:12, Psalm 19:1-4).

Maybe it’s easier to have the faith of a child when we can embrace the mystery and truth held in each piece of the puzzle, as they’re revealed to us…

And if we’re in relationship with Jesus, don’t we see evidence of God’s love and faithfulness all around us?  Our talents and gifts themselves are given as a testimony to His promises (Hebrews 2:1-4).

God wants us to continually pursue Him and to be receptive to His pursuit of us! He wants us to have an unshakable faith.  And He wants us to be all in!

Striking a Balance

Just as successful, productive artists are able to maintain a balance of creativity and self-discipline, I think walking with Jesus requires a healthy tension of fixing our gaze on the Divine while anchoring our feet to His unwavering Truth, so that we don’t fly away.

Evangelist Oswald Chambers said, “The Christian life is a life characterized by true and spontaneous creativity…But Jesus Christ was always consistent in His relationship to God, and a Christian must be consistent in his relationship to the life of the Son of God in him, not consistent to strict, unyielding doctrines.”

Chambers added that, “People pour themselves into their own doctrines, and God has to blast them out of their preconceived ideas before they can become devoted to Jesus Christ.”

We want to be open to growth and change as we pursue a relationship with Christ because we want to follow the Lord, not just the rules.

But it takes self-discipline, daily work, and commitment to a maturing relationship for us to be fruitful — to become successful followers of Christ.

In 2 Peter 1: 3-8, we read that He “has given us everything we need for a godly life.”  He adds, “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

So, to my fellow “creatives,” there is Good News:  As long as we commit daily to becoming more like Him, He will steady our gaits when our heads rise to the clouds (Psalm 143:10).

And if we want to become proficient in our craft…well you know that boat we’re in?  Maybe we should abandon ship and learn to swim.

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