Humanity bears a distinct signature mark upon us that no other living thing in all of creation has. It’s the imagination. This inner sanctuary is given to us as a sacred place of communion with our Creator. No one else can see into this sanctum except Him and you.
Along with this imagination, we were given an incredible tool to communicate these things of the inner soul. Creativity. It is the conduit to bring the deep things from the inside to the outside and gives us language for conversations with God. Creativity can help us discover and reveal things about the human condition that are hard to express like lament, sorrow, loss or even the question of our identity. It is the language God gave us to communicate these things of the deep. Through his own of acts of creativity in the creation of the world, he communicates the deep things of himself and invites us into the relationship. There’s a reason the ocean waves seem to call us or a mountain view calms us. It’s the song of creation singing back to it’s Creator and we’re invited to join in. One of my favorite quotes is by pastor Tim Keller. He says, “The observer of beauty always receives a passion to share that beauty with others.”
Creativity allows us to participate and share that beauty and also reminds us why beauty matters. We are giving worth to whose image we bear when we reflect and appreciate the beauty around us and in us. To be creative is to be human by divine design. No other living thing on earth bears this mark. It is the highway where heaven and earth meet and these two realms intertwine to open a portal for us to experience God in vivid, tangible ways. Through creative acts we can communicate the heavenly things we carry in our imaginations, this inner sanctuary that communes in the deep places with God. Creative expression recalls and reminds us of our divine identity as image bearers, fearfully and wonderfully made, and that life is precious and worth celebrating.
Each creative act embodies our purpose and echoes the good news of the gospel to the world that there is hope.
In the Old Testament, King Solomon lamented that there was nothing new under the sun. However, when Jesus came, he said he is making all things new. As we sow seeds of beauty into the soil of this earth, we participate in this restoration process. With our time here on earth we are to be celebrating this one sacred life we’ve been given by responding to the deep calling out to us and the eternity set in our inner sanctuary. Our very lives are a restorative, creative act designed to be in deep communion with our Creator as he moves us toward being made new each day.
I’ve been thinking about peace lately and what it really means to live a life knowing “sweet peace” like the title of one of the songs in the playlist refers to. Jesus said, “Consider the lilies, they don’t labor or spin” to become what they were already designed to be. (Matthew 6:28)
Jesus suggested we should be taking our cues from them on living a life of peace and surrender. The cycle of nature has a surrendering season. In order to regenerate, the trees and the flowers must completely give themselves away. The seed pods fall and blow in the wind to multiply and the petals of the tulips eventually float to the ground to return nutrients to the bulbs buried beneath the soil.
The blooming season is beautiful and glorious and causes us to stop and linger a while but the blooms are the result of the surrendered work that had been done in a resting, dormant season. God designed transformation to occur in these dark, unseen places. A caterpillar’s cocoon actually becomes its tomb as it dies to what it once was. Yet there are no words to explain the transformation that occurs when a glorious butterfly emerges from what looked like a death trap the caterpillar had wrapped itself in.
Watching this transformation take place over and over again in nature is starting to make me wonder…maybe peace IS in the surrendering to resting in these dark, dormant seasons. A tulip cannot force its flower to emerge before its undoing takes place underneath the earth’s surface. It does not worry or strive, it simply allows the undoing and transformation to occur and then eventually, we see it bloom.
Libby John is a creative artist of many forms. As a singer/songwriter, she debuted her first album in Oct. 2017. Libby is also a choreographer who teaches hip hop and modern dance classes. She has a passion to spur others on to be an influence on the culture through their faith & artistry which led her to create the podcast “Art & Faith Conversations”. Libby is a lover of small beginnings and finding beauty in the ordinary. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband and 3 daughters. Libby can be found sharing her creative journey and prayerful devotionals through songs at www.libbyjohnartandsong.org.
Psalm 100 Shout for joy to the Lord,
all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations.
In the hustle and bustle of life, shouting for joy to the Lord doesn’t feel like it comes naturally. Entering his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise can seem like a strange concept in our fast-paced world and busy lifestyles. How is this shouting and joyfulness supposed to fit into our daily lives? Thanksgiving, however, is vital to our relationship with God and was designed to be our lifeline. It is not merely a word of gratitude but true thanksgiving is our spirit agreeing with all who God says He is. It is our need and God’s supply lining up perfectly. This is what we were created for. Our hearts align with His when we come before Him joyfully. When we worship Him with gladness no matter what comes our way, then we are able to take advantage of our circumstances rather than our circumstances taking advantage of us.
Our default mode can be anxiety, worry, fear, anger or frustration because of our situations and oftentimes those things become greater than Christ in us. However, when we intentionally fill up with thanksgiving, then it begins to rise up out of us. As it rises up out of us, it leaves little room for the overwhelm of negativity. It doesn’t mean all the problems go away but rather, they are put in their proper place. They are no longer shackles that hold us, prisoner. When we worship with gladness, it is the ultimate form of engagement with God and we are set free from the lies that bind us. All else fades away when we come before Him with thanksgiving until it is only us and Him left. It is there where our hearts are able to receive the revelation of knowing He is the Lord our God.
This portal to our hearts to receive allows faith to rise up in us and we can experience the revelation of how wide and high and deep His love is and always has been for us. His perfect love is what drives out the fear, the anxiety, worry, anger or frustrations about our life’s situation. Be intentional and ready to give thanks. I’ve created a playlist to help do exactly that. Take some time to come before Him with joyful songs. Do not hesitate to give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever. Know He is the Lord your God and you are His.
Give thanks playlist
Libby John is a creative artist of many forms. As a singer/songwriter, she debuted her first EP in 2016 and her first album in Oct. 2017. Libby is also a choreographer who works for local universities and high school musicals and she teaches hip hop and modern dance classes. She has a passion to spur others on to be an influence on the culture through their faith & artistry which led her to create the podcast “Art & Faith Conversations”. Libby is a lover of small beginnings and finding beauty in the ordinary.She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband and 3 daughters.