Good art is never what you expect. This surprise, more than even beauty, is what makes it art. It’s the tiny blossom coming through the crack on the sidewalk, or the vulnerability in the “ugly” girl’s eyes. It is the rule that got broken because somebody realized the reason it was there in the first place wasn’t relevant. It’s the way the paint on a paintbrush can imitate the movement of hair in the wind, the way the distortion on a camera lens changes your perspective on something you see every day. If you think about it, it is the unexpected that reveals the glory in a thing, because who would have thought to look otherwise?
It is the unexpected – and the inconvenient – that drives good art, and it was the unexpected and inconvenient that uncovers the good art in me.
Many people know me as a photographer. I take beautiful pictures of the real things, pictures that talk about innocence and childhood and light and sweet glory. I have incredible clients and I’m growing into some amazing opportunities to shoot things I’ve only ever dreamed about. Every day, I recognize myself as an artist, and I make art – but art has never been easy for me.
I began taking photos from the depths of postpartum depression. When I opened my photography business, I was a stay-at-home mom with a 10-month-old and a 3-year-old under my care, and as I have grown my business, I have run into some serious physical and situational limitations. I don’t make art in a perfect world.
Perhaps this is why my good art – the art I am most proud of – it’s the art that most people don’t see, the unexpected gift that has nothing to do with talent and everything to do with glory.
The art I am proudest of is my faith, which when you think about it, isn’t really my art at all. It is an inconvenient concept for things I can’t photograph that makes up my whole identity. Because of my faith, I know that my identity is not “photographer” or “artist” or “wife” or “mama.” My identity is “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” and the rest is just gravy and good He made me to do.
It is my faith that gets me up in the morning and pushes me to live outside of my limitations. Faith is the reason I know that eternity isn’t years and years long – it is seconds and seconds stretched into eons because God works so much deeper than I do. It is “walk, don’t run” when the rest of the world hurtles along at breakneck speed when I feel I’m going to be left behind.
I get about sixteen hours (if I am lucky) to fill every day, and I get to choose how I spend that time. Ten minutes gone wrong doesn’t have to ruin my productivity for the rest of the day. A “no” from a publisher doesn’t mean I am finished as a photographer. Choosing to rest for a little while to do nothing means that I will have energy for something else later.
My five-year-plan is a shambles, and my to-do list is panic-attack-inducing, but when I live each moment as if it is a gift (in spite of the unexpected), my daily routine becomes a work of art.
I am coming to understand God a little more as an active Creator, sovereign yet deeply invested in sanctification, restoration, and renewal. As a human being who He has set free to live in Christ, I know myself to be one of His most inconvenient creations – yet He is quite interested in the endless inner workings of the deep heart He put into me.
As I massage my schedule and re-create plans to make beautiful things happen in my imperfect world, I imagine His delight as He takes “all things” and works them together for the good of those who love Him. Sometimes I think I can even hear Him chortle with glee when I look at Him and wonder at the straight path in front of me that used to be crooked.
Living in the moment (however hard it may be) is the kind of art Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to make in us, and the faith by which I live my sixteen hours every day gives me a small inkling of the glory He is going to get for it. It cracks me up how He gets so much more mileage out of the unexpected and the inconvenient walking around with His name on it.
1. Delonna Gibbs ~ http://etsy.com/shop/ClothedinLove
2. Becky Cunningham ~ Buckets of Burlap
3. Daune Pitman ~ Cottage in the Oaks
4. Anna White ~ 2Day I Choose
5. Rebekah Madran ~ http://statigr.am/viewer.php#/user/251611783/
6. Kristi Neises ~ http://statigr.am/viewer.php#/detail/569029158231195907_4868439
1. Kelli McKnight ~ The Story Place
2. Sarah Jo Burch ~ Sarah Jo Knits
3. Brenda Manley ~ on Instagram
4. NJ Rongner ~ A Cookie Before Dinner
5. Shana Norris
6. Laura Anne Clement ~ my story, His story
8. Virginia Johnson ~ Vava’s View
9. Courtney Shanahan ~ All These Bright Things
10. Julsann10 ~ on Instagram
11. Lisette Romaro ~ on Facebook
See you on Monday as we dive into Part 2, Uncover the Art You Were Born to Make & Chapter 3, Desire. If this week is any indication, readers are going to have a lot to say after reading and watching the video!
Helpful links and reminders:
- A Million Little Ways book club schedule.
- Never miss an update by signing up for exclusive emails for Bloom (in)courage!
- Need a book? Pick up A Million Little Ways for only $9.99 at DaySpring.com.
- Join Bloom (in)courage on Facebook! We’re trying to grow our community there, so we’d like to see YOUR smiling avatar.
- Tweet your thoughts about our study! When you use the#inbooks hashtag, we can find you!
- Emily’s site, Chatting at the Sky
- Jessica’s site, The Mom Creative
- Angie’s site, Bring the Rain
p.s. Hey lovies ~ Emily and I are at Allume blog conference in Greenville, SC and we’ll likely be slower to respond to comments given a busy schedule; but PLEASE shower your comment love on our wonderful guest contributor, Kelly Sauer and all the creative artists featured in this week’s collage duo!