Two weeks ago, I sat in a beautiful sanctuary over a century old. Stained glass splashed color on each missionary-white wall. I looked upward and huge carved beams like hulking man arms stretched from wall to wall across the vaulted sanctuary’s center. From the pews to the altar to the sculptures of Christ’s march to the cross, I was surrounded by craftsmanship—worship, really—made by saints who had long gone before me.
I was just back from a writer’s conference, and if I am going to be honest, I was still nursing the burns of rejection. As I marveled at the artistic talents of those who had long gone before me, I wondered why the world would possibly need my art. Everything here had stood time’s test. It was still sacred and beautiful and pointed us all to Christ.
I thought of how we have millennia of art, of raw honesty made beautiful, of creatives reflecting the Ultimate Creative. What would the point be to add mine, especially as puny as it seems in comparison?
Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever looked at yourself and your abilities, and felt beyond ordinary and not quite good enough? Have you ever thought it wasn’t worth the effort it would take—that you weren’t worth the effort? Like you were just a small girl with grass-stained knees staring up at the stained glass windows in the cross-section tower? And it took your breath away how they hung there like pear-shaped jewels across the neck of a regal queen giant—so high, so perfect, so up-there?
See, I had tried to sculpt words. I had sat at my modern day typewriter and done as Hemingway so famously said of writing—I bled. And then I went to the writer’s conference carrying my [he]art, and, well, it got a bit beat up. I didn’t know I had empty hallways in my soul, but the words of the critics are still echoing, still bouncing around, trying to knock off the candlesticks that light the way. I think those little lights are hope. I think those words would snuff out all the lights if I’d let them.
Before I left to pitch my project at that conference, I had knelt in prayer and took my manuscript and held it up. It felt vulnerable and tears watered my whole face. It was my drummer boy moment: “My gift I bring to you, bah-rum-bah-bum-bum.” It’s not much, but it’s all I have. I’ve poured my whole heart into it just for You. Will you take it? Can it honor You?
Art is scary. Giving of yourself is scary.
But as I sat in that old church building lifting my hands and my voice with the congregation, I remembered this truth about what happens when we give. We open our hands, we fill our hands with what we have, and we lift it up. It’s in the release that our hands are open to receive, it’s in the emptying that we have nothing but room to be filled.
The only way we become more like Him is by making more room for Him.
Creating for God is really the same thing as creating with Him. It is the delicious leisure He has afforded the redeemed: to give our best, to give our favorites, to give our all. He, the Father—we, the daughters—and how He longs to apprentice us into His work. To spend time creating with us. He doesn’t want a sacrifice; He wants a relationship.
And He already made the ultimate sacrifice to have that relationship with us.
We ask ourselves the question, “Who am I?,” like we want someone to answer back with all the reasons we belong, reasons we aren’t imposters or posers, and tell us how wonderful and worthy of the task we are. We want to be great, or at least a little bit great. We want assurances we won’t face rejection or let anyone down. We are terrified someone's going to laugh in our face and say, "Really? Why would you think you could do this? You just wasted all our time." But the real question isn’t who am I? Dear heart, it’s not about your talent. It isn’t about your hopes and dreams. It isn’t about how good enough you are. The real question—the only question—is who is HE?
Could there ever be enough worship, enough of our fragrant offerings, enough of our bests to quantify His greatness, to encompass His magnitude?
A million times no.
Is the God who spoke through donkeys, who parted waves, who used men and women like Rahab, Gideon, and David able to use even you?
A million times yes.
And the best part is that this mighty magnificent God whose height we could never obtain not even on our tippiest tippy toes, whose breadth we could never get our arms around no matter how we stretch, that Great God sent His Son to be Immanuel—God with us. Because with has always been the point.
It’s not about what you—singular—can do.
It’s about what He—the Great Creator—longing to be known by you—can do. Really, it’s about what He already did.
Anything and everything we do can only reflect what He has already done. From Creation to Redemption, He is our muse; He is our source.
In case you weren’t clued in, this is my own pep-talk. And maybe you need it too? Dust off the words of rejection, the words of misunderstanding. Grab the hand of your Savior and go on and create. Reach in and pull out your all that He might fill you more. Let His words be the only ones that matter—for by His Word only was everything made.
Could there ever be enough praise of our Good God? Dear heart, of course, there’s room for you.
How do you create? (Photography, food, writing, painting, helping others feel beautiful, teaching—your trade, your hobby, your passion…?)
And now, what I really want to know: have you ever had your work rejected? Have you ever wanted to quit? What kept you going?