Creating has always been a way of life for me.
Whenever people were coming over to our house, imagine little four year old Courtney would scurry off to make something for them.
This could’ve been a picture I drew, colored, or in one case, the dress I taped together for my second grade teacher (complete with matching newspaper slippers!).
It’s no wonder I grew up wanting to be an artist, right?!
In doing some research, I found that in 2018, according to news.artnet.com, “Adult coloring books have, over the past two years, become one of the biggest sales phenomena to hit the modern publishing industry. Approximately 12 million adult coloring books sold in the US in 2015, boosting the sale of adult nonfiction by 6.6 percent and causing a global colored-pencil shortage.”
So, think about it—in an age where print publications are not as popular, coloring books made a comeback. Ummmm… clearly we have an infatuation with art as humans.
Well, in my previous blog post I talked about WHY ART MATTERS…
Today I’m diving deeper…
Art matters because God is the original creative. God created us to create and to be creative. He created us to love beautiful things. Humans were created in God’s image–and not only does God love beautiful things, He literally created the whole world. Using that creativity is believing God’s faithfulness–that He lit this fire in my soul to create and because He did, He will provide and equip me for this path.
[NOTE: I want to pause here for a touch to reiterate something–I’m not a theologian. I’m simply a disciple of Jesus, and my heart beats to love Him more daily and share that love with others. In diving into my own creative practice, I’ve felt the pull of the Holy Spirit–through connections I’ve made, prayers I’ve prayed for sweet collectors and new friends, random sales on a website and learning materials that without which I would’ve had no hope of affording. In this whole experience, I’ve truly seen the gift of God’s faithfulness surrounding this adventure.]
Ok now for more on why art matters…
THE ORIGINAL CREATIVE
“Nothing ugly is ever glorious in the Bible” – John Piper
Art matters because God is the original creative, He loves beautiful things, and because He is making all things new.
God was the FIRST creative–he literally SPOKE the earth into being, and it was good.
This year through Bible Study Fellowship, I’ve been diving into Genesis–and it’s been awesome. Through everything that God created–light, water, land, animals, God said it was GOOD. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). His glorious creation is beautiful because He created it, and nothing God creates is ugly.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27
Man was created in the IMAGE of God. We are created by our beautiful God to be BEAUTIFUL beings and value beauty. And because of that, ART matters.
THE BEAUTIFUL GOD
“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
God loves beautiful things. Take a step out into creation and it’s obvious that the quality of God’s work is immaculate–there is no comparison.
The snow of the winter, the blooms of the summer, the chirping of birds, the swish of leaves falling, and not to mention that He created man out of DUST–God created every tiny detail of everything in the universe.
Many of my collection originals are inspired by just this–the beauty that God created.
Through the changing seasons, the changing tides, the overwhelm and craziness of life, everything, God is constant and is always working to make things beautiful.
Let’s dig in here a bit. It’s no secret that sin entered the world.
Adam and Eve ate the apple, were afraid, and it forever changed the beautiful relationship God originally intended for us to have with Him.
BUT–somehow out of all that horribleness, instead of turning His back on what He created, God made a way for the beautiful relationship we can have with Him through the grace of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Which leads me to my next point…
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” —Ecclesiastes 3:11
THE RENEWAL OF ALL THINGS
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day.” —2 Corinthians 4:16
God is making all things new. I’m singing the song Gungor wrote in my head as I type this–God is making me new, He is making YOU new, and He is actively working for the new heaven and new earth.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” —Romans 12:2
The beauty of renewal can be seen in the changing seasons—we need for dormancy of winter so that flowers blossom in spring, the heat of the summer creates the beginning of the transition to fall so that the entire process can begin again, and the most wonderful renewal—the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after His death on the cross.
The renewal of HUMANITY can actually happen because of JESUS.
Jesus came to save us from our sins when we didn’t do anything to deserve it (literally the most beautiful gift), AND He came as God’s creation–God and man in one.
“And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” —Revelation 21:5
If I’m being honest, sanctification doesn’t always feel beautiful to me.
The process of refining and dying to myself daily doesn’t feel beautiful, it reveals me of my humanness and brokenness, and reminds me of the darkest little pieces of myself I’d rather forget…
HOWEVER, because God loves us, He wants us to be made new.
Because we are human and sinful, this is such a difficult to comprehend but BEAUTIFUL aspect of the gift of the Gospel. We can’t fully understand the gift because it would be impossible for us to give it on our own. There’s a snippet from the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones that says “He will make all the sad things come untrue.” And because of God, ALL THE SAD THINGS WILL COME UNTRUE.
The beautiful LIGHT of GOD shines in the darkness; because of His glorious creation, His abundant grace, and unending mercy we get to enjoy beautiful things.
“Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way one foot at a time, down the path of peace.” —Luke 1:78-79, the Message
As I ready my heart for painting, I listen to the stillness. I remember the sunrise I’ve seen (since my children are up before dawn most days) and listen for the quiet whispers of our good God.
There’s not much quiet in my house, or stillness, but in those brief moments, I feel inspired and move my hand, painting what the Holy Spirit guides me to see in my soul.
The transformation God works in us is glorious. God created everything. He values beauty.
He wants us to be creative, and trusting Him with that creativity (whether you write, draw, paint, or simply color with your children), God desires us to hone our creativity and use it for His purposes.
Bottom line? Art matters because God wants it to matter because it matters to Him. We are created to be creative beings because God is creative, we are made in His image.
That’s why ART really matters–because we were created by the MOST CREATIVE Creator.
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