I tried to write this post a few times, and I simply couldn’t. I planned to share poetry. I read through my poetry journal more than once and loved what I saw there; I wasn’t just seeing writing that wasn’t half bad, I was seeing God’s presence and His wisdom in every single day I’d lived. I hadn’t always seen Him in my day, but reading the poetry I wrote at the end of each day, from July to now. . . He’s in all of it. Do you see Him in your life today? If you don’t, someday you will think of today, and you’ll see Him, and you’ll see how He loved and sheltered you. He is here with you and with me. Sometimes we simply have foggy days in our spirits. That’s what my daily poetry journal has been teaching me. I just completed my first, and I don’t know if I’ll ever have a last because doing this helps my soul so much.
This is strange. But I just spent a lot of time going through my journal and typing a few of the poems again, and I just felt like I shouldn’t share them. Not because I’m a secretive person (I’m a gaping-wide open book, acquaintances of mine will tell you that), but because I simply felt the Lord telling me I didn’t have to. My poems are my gift to me, and that’s okay.
This week at church we were singing our own songs. My church’s worship times are so diverse and I love it; people dance, create their own lyrics, and often the Lord will speak something to someone and have them share it with us. This week all of that existed, and that’s pretty normal. I don’t usually sing my own songs, I often hum different tones when we do that because it lets me express my soul’s wordlessness, but this time I sang a song as it came. Afterwards, I had two consecutive thoughts. The first was, “I wish I could remember that song.” But the second?
“. . . I don’t have to. That song was for us.”
I’m honest by instinct, and I love being able to share in real things with people even if real is sometimes ugly and messy. I’m not sure why God made me this way, but I’m grateful He did, because He functions this way, too. But honest doesn’t have to mean emptied. Not everyone has to know your depths. There are people who do need to know your depths, and there are some people who are special enough that you want to entrust them with yourself. But not everyone needs everything. There are days when you can simply exist.
I painted today. And the first thing I did after finishing the painting? I took a picture of it for Facebook. My first thought wasn’t to breathe my art in and decide how I felt about it– it was to feel validated as an artist. Why?
I think this is something I need to grow in. I think we go from people-who-make-art to artists when we realize that we don’t need other people to tell us we’re creative, insightful, talented; when we just do it because we love it and it’s the way we breathe and it’s a joyous experience with Him. Because He’s an artist, and He doesn’t need to prove it. He doesn’t need to show someone His work in order for it to become art. He created not because He wanted a title or to be talented or to share it, but because He loved what He was creating. We aren’t something He made to show off– we are His breath. And He has art hidden everywhere: stars and planets we may never find, exotic animals deep in forests we haven’t yet explored, microscopic creatures that bring Him glory by existing, sunsets on completely uninhabited islands. No validation needed, because His art is not His work, it’s a reflection.
And if I am a reflection of His, I hope that I can learn to breathe just like He does.
Create some pieces only you know about. Write in a journal no one else will open; paint something and let it live on your bedroom wall; draw something that won’t leave your sketchbook; wear your favorite clothing items on a stay-home day; play your music and don’t feel the need to film a video of it; laugh by yourself about a funny story without feeling like you have to tell the story; spend a day with a friend and don’t take a photo; be in awe of your own insights and don’t feel like you have to voice them yet.
There are times when sharing is wondrous and even necessary. Honesty and genuinity and vulnerability are some of the most important things we can practice, and I live in them daily; I was made to and I honestly can’t function well any other way. But sometimes, I need balance. Sometimes the Lord just wants my sweet whispers, a special time with me and my depths no one else has seen.
When we create, when we experience joy, we don’t need to think about anyone else seeing or knowing about it. All we have to do is breathe.