Out On a Limn

“True enough” says Maxfield Parrish when told that only God can make a tree. He then adds “but I’d like to see Him paint one.”

I would like to add that order, design and overall creativity—from its earliest nodes and impulses, to the finished product—comes from God, too.

Sure, our brains process the images our eyes take in (after turning it right-side up) and somewhere in the recesses of our minds, and hearts, the creative impulse turns reality into our version of it. This is the wonder of whatever art it is you do. You see the world unlike anyone else. But the bedrock? When we endeavor to create, we are taking after God. The God who made us. And at this level, it’s vital that the Christian substantiate his or her inner eye on the tenets of Jesus.

What do you want your art to do? Your (visual) art, writing, music, will follow your heart’s intent. If you want to write a song to show off your chops, fine. But if inside, you haven’t surrendered your talent to the Lord for Him to build it up at His leading, then no matter how you shred, those who aren’t already inclined, won’t be drawn to worship God. The same goes for the author who looks to implant in another’s head, the image in their own. Words will do that—if you write, you know this. The connotations and implications are literally painting a picture. Love? Peace? Integrity? Even shades of gray, when rendered from a renewed mind, will cause the reader to think along lines which have been laid out by Jesus. We literally wear our hearts on our sleeve when we create. And this is why we need an audience. We might like what we’ve done, but most (if not all) creative types must have outside validation. We literally step out on a limb, only to find it sawn off while we hover, buoyed by another’s admiration and adulation. It’s a dangerous place to be when we’re not anchored in God.

Whatever your particular ratio of practice to perseverance to creativity, the whole disposing thereof should be saturated with Jesus. Our gifts are meant to draw people in and enshroud them in His love.

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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