Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Create an Evolution

As I'm nearing completion on my second book and right in the thick of a couple of ambitious art projects, it's understandable that I'm spending a great deal of time these days thinking about creation.

I love creating.  I have said it before, and I firmly believe I was created to create.  And I have said before how much I agonize over getting even the littlest details right - about making sure my ladybug looks like a ladybug, about making sure a walking stick won't break under pressure, about getting the angles of this and the colors of that just right so that it looks in full glory as I designed it in my head to look.  It's agonizing, painstaking work.  And totally worth it.

Sort of.

There comes a point in the creating process where I have to call it finished.  I have to publish my book, ship my orders, seal the deal (and often, the wood).  It is what it is and that is how it is going to stay.  That is the discouragement of my kind of creating.

The problem is that I want my work to create a revolution.  Every artist does, I think, to varying degrees.  But I want people to read my words and be transformed.  I want someone to hold a carving and be inspired.  I want someone to see a drawing or a painting and be encouraged.  But that can't happen.  

I think about a revolution.  The word.  Revolution is the rotation around a central point.  So to say that I want my work to create a revolution is...arrogant.  It's egotistical.  And it entirely misses the point of my work.  Because I don't really want people, places, movements, ideas to circle around my contribution.  My aim is always to get something moving around God.  I want the object of my work to be the center, not my work itself.  It's a fine line.

This is what I think God has done so well, and it is in doing the thing that I cannot do.  He created everything to grow.  He created everything to change.  He created everything with this infusion of life to keep it moving so that creation itself cannot become the center of a revolution.  What is here today is new tomorrow and different still the day after that.  So when you look at something transformative, inspiring, encouraging in the world, it's hard to attach yourself to that thing.  You have to look beyond it into its Creator's eyes and see its intention.  That's what makes it beautiful.  And that's how creation keeps us focused on God.  It's the dynamic nature of it.  It's the fact that it's always changing, always moving.  It's that God, in His wisdom, created an evolution to create a revolution.

It's brilliant!

I don't have quite the same luxury.  I cannot create life.  I cannot create a caterpillar that changes into a butterfly or a flower that grows from a seed to a bloom.  That is not in my realm of capabilities, and even if I could mimic such creation in a lab somewhere, it would only be because the building blocks are already given to me.  No man has the ability to create the very essence of life.  

But what I'm trying to do, what I ache to do as I work in the gifts God has given me, is to create something dynamic anyway.  Something that moves and breathes with time, that always speaks a new word, that meets this world wherever it's at.  The words in my books are never going to change, but if I don't lock the story down but instead give it the freedom to move, those never-changing words will always have a message for an ever-changing world.  And my job, as the author, is to get that dynamism to center around that thing that I think is worthy of changing the world, of starting a revolution.  For me, that thing is God.  So when my words hit a new heart, I want the movement to be God-centered instead of coming back on me.  It's a delicate balance, and I only pray I pull it off.  (The same is true of my other artistic endeavors.)

So that's kind of where I'm at this morning, surrounded by all of these creative works in their various stages of completion.  I'm thinking about the way God creates a revolution by creating evolution, by making things to change and grow.  By creating life itself.  And I can never do that.  I cannot create life.

But it is my prayer that through God's gift in me and the work I do for Him, that I can give life.

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