The Heart of an Artist

So I’ve spent the last two weeks thinking. A lot. And I’ve spent the last two weeks sheding many many tears.

I’ve never really thought of myself as a negative person. In fact, I’ve ended two significant friendships because their negativity having such an affect on me I knew I had to get away for fear of being sucked in. But when at rehearsal last week our keyboardist seemed unusually frsutrated with me, I asked a fellow team member when we had a moment alone if I was difficult to work with. I couldn’t figure out what I’d done wrong, and naturally I assumed it was me, and I wanted to know what I could do to prevent it in the future. What I didn’t expect was the answer I got.

I have to change who I am. ‘Cause what I am’s not good.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Just change who I am.

But it’s who I am. And whenever I think about that, the tears come.

That’s not okay with me. Who I am is who I am.

Can you just wake up one day and decide to be a different person? It’s one thing to change a habit – like vowing to drink only 2 cups of coffee before 8am, eating more vegetables, going to bed earlier, keeping the house cleaner… But how do you change how you feel? How do you change your mannerisms so other people don’t take you the wrong way? How do you change the everyday tone of your voice so it makes people happier? How do you change the frustration you have for no one understanding who God made you? How do you change who you are?

So steal my heart and take the pain,
And wash my feet and cleanse my pride
Take the selfish, take the weak,
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
My sin-soaked heart – make it yours
Take my world all apart
It takes all I am to believe
in the mercy that covers me.

I discovered this article the other day and I felt like the author had a recording device in my mind.

Artists have great strengths—and extremely complicated weaknesses. It’s part of how God created them. They feel things deeply and therefore can craft moments that tap into what others feel but can’t seem to express. Yet this very strength—feeling things deeply—can drive artists to self-doubt, perfectionism, and fear of failure.

Single-mindedly devoted to their craft, artists can slip into self-absorption and lose sight of the big picture. It’s rare to have a simple conversation with artists or a simple decision about approach and ministry. Artists often see the world in shades of gray rather than black and white, and they resist quick or simplistic conclusions.

Why is this so hard for non-artists to understand? When did feeling things deeply and passionately become taboo in this bizarre little sub-culture the church has created for itself? Did we fall somewhere between the line of being a professional faker and a honest human? And why isn’t the latter appreciated more than it is?

Where do I find the balance between being the one who is “enough” because God made me who I am and being the person God created me to be?

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