“…When a child who has been conceived in love is born to a man and woman, the joy of that birth sings throughout the universe. The joy of writing or composing or painting is much the same, and the insemination comes not from the artist himself but from his relationship with those he loves, with the whole world.”
M. L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet
I love L’Engle. She just GETS things. I almost never walk away from a session with one of her books without being encouraged in some way.
Part of my “go” this year is accepting that I am an artist, and that, as L’Engle also said in what I read last night, “all real art is, in its true sense, religious; it is a religious impulse; there is no such thing as a non-religious subject.”
This is not something I grew up believing; in fact the conservative Christian subculture in which I was raised generally avoided art and artists for their focus on materialism and their non-conservative political bent. I grew up wary of anyone who wasn’t quoting only Scripture in their writing or their work – and then I encountered the real world, where God proved that He could use anything or anyone to reach the hearts of His people, and subsequently transformed most of my ideas of right and wrong.
I have learned much about “the renewing of your mind.” When I came into Christ, I became a new creation. I did not simply adopt a new creed or a new set of standards so as not to live as I did before – or as the “worldly people” from whom I was sheltered lived. My heart was literally renewed, and my whole perspective changed as I began to see things through Spirit eyes.
In Christ, God can – and does – redeem even the smallest elements of my life, because “without Him, nothing was made that was made.” He has a personal investment in His glory, giving me back His creation through His firstborn.
Jasmine Star tweeted a Nietzsche quote yesterday that is going to stick with me this year as I go: “The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” Nietzsche is right – it is when I am most thankful that I create the art that means the most to me.
As I’ve grown in grace, my art – more than my sense of duty – has become my response to His presence in my whole life and in my heart. It is a product of my growing, deepening relationship with the One who created me and recreated my heart; it is also the result of my relationships with others who get into my heart. It is work and it is life, and it is worship, like birthing a child.