The Arts

“True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.”

-Albert Einstein

Recently, I’ve seen so much creativity in the people around me. Between the series at my church where people are creating art for whatever Sunday’s service is about (if you want to see these follow @Avenue_Church on the Twitta or Instagram) and just discovering new music. Anyway, I LOVE art. And not just physical art but everything else that comes with it: music, dance, writing, etc.

MUSIC

These are artists I love:

Gavin Degraw

Justin Timberlake

Coldplay

Sara Bareilles

Katy Perry

John Mayer

Ben Rector

One Direction (which is a new obsession, TOTAL FAN GIRL.)

Beyonce

Hillsong United/Live

Bethel

All Sons and Daughters

Cory Asbury

Jenn/Brian Johnson

Just to name a few. 

When I really think about this range of music, how amazing is it that we can have such joy listening to a beautiful combination of music and lyrics. Our desire to hear musicians create melodies and harmonies with THEIR VOICES or through instruments is a great and praiseworthy thing. And now we’ve discovered that we can make our voices sound like instruments. My favorite thing is when musicians sing a capella. The way  harmony and melody accompany each other is simply breathtaking.

I also love that musicians are willing to share a little piece of their mind and creativity with the world. Some artists are so honest about their feelings, thoughts, frustrations, joys, trials, etc. This vulnerability is not typically recognized as a good thing. With every thought-provoking song there is a song that doesn’t have a lot of substance to them (like with some of the artists above) but they are still willing to let the world hear their voice, instrument skills, etc. It shouldn’t be overlooked. Music ROCKS. Literally. Here’s a song that I can always rely on to put me in a good mood:

DANCE:

Dance is completely underrated. Not only is it an intense sport that requires a lot of coordination, but the fact that dancers can perfectly time moving their bodies to the beat or movement of a song.  I can’t get enough of it.

I am blown away by the fact that they can think up routines in their heads and then implement it through movement. What really blows my mind is when choreographers create dances with 20 people in them. I mean really. The fact that someone can create movements for individual people and make it look good with an entire group. So incredible. Check out this DOPE So You Think You Can Dance group routine from season 9.

The other beautiful part about dancing is the story that can be told through the routine. I love the symbolism behind a routine. How certain movements can create an instant reaction by the song choice and the message the choreographer wants to portray.

ART

This is one that I don’t know much about because I am by NO means artsy in the respect of actual art. I color and craft. But I seriously respect people that have an image in their head and are able to use colors, paints, pencil, etc in order to portray their thoughts. There is so much beauty in that. Artists have this crazy ability to use these tools (and others that I’m not really familiar with) to create an insane masterpiece that is totally unique to them. Art is extremely personal and is usually driven by an instinct within the artist that is desperately trying to be heard. It is shown through the stroke, colors, or collaboration with other forms of art such as 3-D art. Artists, if there is anything I’m saying that is totally off the wall, please share. I’m not an expert in this field by any means! On that note, check out this AMAZING art piece my good friend Krissy Vickers created a few weeks ago:

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Even if you don’t know what this is you can still appreciate the beauty in its colors, structure, etc. CRAZY good, right?!

WRITING

This one’s easy. Lots of people do it. I mean that’s what blogging is all about, right? A way for people to organize their thoughts in a creative manner to share with other people who may share similar ideas. It’s a huge phenomenon in our culture right now and some people can argue against it but you can’t argue that sharing thoughts is one of the most personal and exciting ways to communicate with others. It’s therapeutic. But I do see the issues with some forms of writing, people love to complain, argue, whine, and be as negative as possible through this unique art. We haven’t done a very good job of keeping this extremely personal way of communicating as special as it is because we have abused social media with our so called “unique thoughts”.

But even before blogging, writing was around. Shocker, right? I love that we are able to take time to reflect on the world around us and make connections to other experiences in our lives. This is the most typical way that people think of “self-expression”. It’s the safest version for schools to use, which shows that it is timeless expression for the human race to process information. What a great gift we have!

Throughout this blog post, I couldn’t help but think of God and His endless gift of creativity. Look at all the ways He has given us to use this gift. We are creative because of the Creator. (That was a lot of forms of create, but I think you get the point!)

Here are some verses that support this characteristic of God:

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.”

Isaiah 64:8

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”

Psalm 19:1

I love these pictures. Creativity is good. It is God-breathed. We are literally a masterpiece from the works of the Lord. Think about it as He was creating Adam. He probably tilted his a head a few times trying to decide which aspects would be the very BEST for this creation, added a little this and a little that, and probably smiled at the end of this great work.

There are probably a million and one more ways to cover what art really looks like. Think about that as you come across the arts in your daily lives. It’s a beautiful gift from the Most Creative One.

The Ugliest Trait

“Jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses many different kinds of feelings that range from fear of abandonment to rage to humiliation. Jealousy can strike both men and women when they perceive a third-party threat to a valued relationship, it can be a problem among siblings competing for parental attention, or envy for a wealthier more successful friend. Conventional wisdom holds that jealousy is a necessary emotion because it preserves social bonds. But jealously usually does more harm than good to relationships, and can create relationship conflict and violence.”

-Psychology Today

This truly might be one of the ugliest traits to possess. According to the definition above, we feel jealous when an outside person (or inside of a friend group) does something to take our place in the relationship. If the valued friendship seems to be disappearing because the time we think we deserve is being used by someone else, we feel instant jealousy. That time should be MINE. I EARNED years of friendship and trust with that person. Why doesn’t he or she want to spend all their time with me? I want this person all to myself.

Jealousy is dirty. It’s ugly. It destroys. It disables. It’s possessive.

And it’s gotten a lot of people in trouble in the Bible.

Joseph’s brothers hated him because of the love his father gave him that his brothers thought they deserved. After all, why would their father love the youngest brother the most? Out of their jealousy, they wanted to get rid of the so called “problem” by doing so. Ultimately, they ended up selling him into slavery, which was better than just getting rid of him, but if we’re being honest that is still a low blow.

The good news, is that God used this for Joseph’s advantage (many, many years later) but just take a minute and soak this in. Joseph had the love of his father that each one of the brothers didn’t feel like they were getting from their father. They thought they deserved that time and attention.

Look at the pharisees. They are a really good example of jealousy. They were incredibly jealous of Jesus. They saw all of the followers he had been gathering through his incredible teachings and they felt slighted that they weren’t receiving the same kind of attention. They believed that the people should have been following them because they had all the “right” answers. They acted on this jealousy and used a lot of people to get Jesus killed.

Once again, God used this circumstance for His goodness. Ironically, Jesus’ death meant freedom for all people. The Pharisees thought they were getting rid of this “false teacher” when really he was coming to take away the sins of the world. I can’t help but laugh at this, because it shows how stupid we can be at times.

I’ve been pondering this word and action of jealousy. Then I recalled several references from the Bible of a God who is jealous. Wait a minute. According to all of these previous examples of jealousy, it’s a terrible quality to have. If God is good He can’t be jealous.

After researching and trying to find out this word in relevance to our God, here’s the conclusion I discovered: there is a righteous way and sinful way to approach jealousy. The jealousy talked about in above examples is extremely selfish. It’s powered and fueled by selfish desires and needs.

God is jealous for His people. He wants to spend time with His creation. He created us, therefore, demands that we spend time with Him!

Now that you’ve had a sufficient Bible lesson, let’s look at this practically. The most practical way of looking at this is through marriage. If a man marries a woman and is jealous for her, it could be two things. If he sees his wife talking to another man in a casual conversation and begins feeling jealous and angry that she would have anything to do with him, his motives are clearly selfish. He could be intimidated that his wife may ultimately leave him or have an affair with this man. Self-inflicted insecurity.

If this man sees another man hitting on his wife, seducing or trying very hard to get with his wife, then this husband has a right to be jealous for his wife. She is his, every part of her. He has the right to intervene because they are committed to each other and he desperately wants to protect her from any outside harm.

Now go back and read this, but you are the wife and God is the husband. This is how He sees us. A jealous God who wants us to spend time and community with Him. We are the Bride of Christ.

Zeal. Eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence.

This word may be more helpful to think about in place of jealousy. Our God is zealous for us. He has an eager desire to spend time with His people and feels saddened by His people’s lack of desire. A one way relationship with God never works. He is zealous for time with His children.

Is that not our ultimate purpose? To love and be loved by the Most High?

God is showing me a lot of hate that is in my heart. These questions come to mind when I think about dealing with this.

Whom or what are you jealous of?

What ways do you need to let The Lord into your heart to fix this ugly, tainted sin of jealousy?

Let him heal your heart.

“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer to the bones.”

–Proverbs 14:30