One of my favorite things about living in Asheville is the artistic community. We have painters and sculptors, musicians and dancers. I’ve never lived in a city where the arts have been so vibrant.
I love walking through downtown during the early evenings. Street performers are everywhere. Poets on the corner, musicians next to the bus stop, and acrobats juggling on unicycles line the sidewalks. These people have incredible stories, and to me are full of inspiration. Performance of any kind is hard, and takes lots of stamina and patience to not only please your audience, but to make enough money to make it to the next town.
Being in a place where art is so easily accessible has forced me to re-evaluate what ‘worship’ looks like. Already this is a topic that people argue about back and forth about when it comes to a church’s traditional worship environment (is it worship if the music is to loud? Are you really experiencing God if you don’t engage physically in song? etc), and sometimes I feel like we are so focused on the right way to worship that we forget that there are many ways to worship.
Recently, I read a quote where Francine Rivers said her writings are a ‘act of worship’ for our creator. In our church, we have a worship artist who paints spontaneously and beautifully. Never before have I recognized these art forms as worship, but I’m realizing now that they are more powerful then I would have thought.
When we use our talents for the glory of our creator, we are engaging in worship whether we know it or not. When we write to encourage others, when we play piano to soothe souls, and when we paint to release our emotion God rejoices that we are using the talents he gave us specifically.
For me, it’s helpful knowing that I can engage with God in multiple ways throughout my day. Lately it’s been a bit hard for me to sit still in a quiet time, focusing on praying prayers that I feel like I’ve uttered hundreds of times before. I realize it’s just a season in my relationship with Him, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find a activity that allows me to pursue his presence differently.
Recently I’ve started bible lettering. I know this looks a bit different for every person, but when I write scripture down from my bible readings I’m intentional to use lots of different colors and to be creative in the way I write verses down. At first I felt guilt for caring about the colors and how the words looked, but re-tracing words and drawing arrows oddly reinforces the ideas in my mind, and helps me dwell a little longer in his presence.
I also was gifted with a copy of the #scripturedoodle coloring book. And, guys, Jesus time with paper and colored pencil was so sweet. Tracing out bible verses and giving color to a black and white canvas is soothing (even though I am not incredibly talented in this area) and allows me to silently dwell on the goodness of our father, even while picking colors and tracing lines.
Bible lettering and scripture doodle is not my talent, by any means, so how much more delighted is our father when I take the gifts he’s given me in pursuit of his love? For me, I think of photography, of writing, and of conversation. What are ways I can use where I’m gifted to glorify his name?
Friend, I hope you don’t see worship as limited. I pray that you can experience your Father and Creator in a way that speaks to you through your own creative outlets.
I know some of us don’t recognize our own talents. It’s easy to claim that we’re not creative- after all, we don’t read music or paint or know the difference between a bass and guitar. But if your talent is problem solving, organizing, technical know-how or mathmatics, you are a creative thinker and not to be underestimated.
Rest today in a activity you love that draws you closer to God. How can you use your talents and passions to pursue him more? If you are already using your talents to draw closer to Him, what’s a new art you can try to experience him differently?
Want to try out this #scripturedoodle I’ve talked about? Check out April’s shop here to find lots of fun, worship-oriented product, and also consider following #scripturedoodle on Instagram for inspiration from other artists!