You have a place.
Episode 26 explores how our art careers in secular culture are valid, God-honoring ways we participate in Kingdom citizenship and community, make Christ known, and communicate the gospel.
Hello, hello, and welcome to Episode 26 of the Kingdom Art Life podcast. I am Marlita Hill, here to help you flourish in faith, art, and career.
In our last episode, we talked about two things that hinder our ability to walk unapologetically as artists in Christ working in secular culture. Those two things were our inability to answer how our kind of career serves God, and our mindset about the relationship between our faith, art, and career.
In this episode I want to tackle a specific mindset that tends to stifle us and hold us back from soaring ahead in building the career God has planted in our hearts.
How do I build this art career without compromising my faith?
This really plagues us. For some reason, we are really hesitant to believe that we have permission to go forward and enjoy building a career with our creativity. We are even more hesitant to believe that that enjoyment could coexist with living a committed life for God. So we’re always checking for land mines. Always pulling ourselves back when it feels too good, or flows too smoothly.
Ok, I’m about to use a terribly crude example. But it’s almost like when we have to go to the bathroom in our dream. In our dream, we want to let go and let it flow so badly. And if we ever do, it feels amazing…but that’s how we know we’ve messed up- because it feels so good and the feeling triggers us to snap to, and wake up!
And that’s kind of how we treat our art careers sometimes as Christians. When it feels too good, it triggers a suspicion that something doesn’t feel right, and breaks the flow.
So let’s spend some time on that. How do we build a serious art career without compromising our faith?
How far can we go?
How high can we reach with our artistry without forsaking the way of life that we’ve committed to, without dropping the ball on the responsibility to this way of life, and without dishonoring the one to whom we’ve committed?
How do we do it?
The most simplistic answer to this question is mindset. Mindset is the way that you build your art career without compromising your faith. The things you believe about what it takes to build a successful career, and about where your faith fits in that, is going to be the determining factor for whether you make compromising decisions to move your art career forward or not.
So, over the next few episodes, I’m going to give you several mindsets, ways of thinking that will help you trample that struggle.
The first mindset that I want to share with you today is understanding that your creativity, your artistry that you put to use in your career are valid, God-honoring ways that you participate in Kingdom citizenship and Christian community. They are God-honoring ways that you fulfill your Christian responsibility to worship God, to live for him, to honor him, to glorify him, to make Him known. They are valid, God-honoring ways that you participate in communicating the gospel.
Now you might say Marlita, wait a minute, how is that even possible? You know the kind of art I make. You know where my art lives. You know what it does and doesn’t talk about, and you know who I make it with. So, how is that even possible that my kind of art life could do this?
Well, its because you have a life in art, not just a message in art. And your life in art communicates the gospel, participates in building the Kingdom, glorifies God, and makes Him known even when the content of your art is not talking about God directly. It does these things even when the purpose for you creating art is not focused on evangelism. So we’re gonna look at how.
This life in art consists of 3 P’s: Person, Process, and Product.
Person is who you are. This is how you participate in Kingdom citizenship even when the art you create is not talking about faith or is not living inside the church walls. The Bible says that you are the light of the world. You are the salt of the Earth. You are the way that God diffuses His fragrance throughout the Earth. And you are an exhibitor and dispenser of His love. That’s who you are. It’s not what you do, it’s who you are. Before you ever do anything, and regardless of what your art talks about, this is who you are. This is how you come into the room . This is how you show up in whatever space you enter, including your career. You are the representative and ambassador of the living God and of His Kingdom in the Earth. You don’t have to do anything to accomplish that. You are already that.
The second part of this art life is process. Process is how you do things: how you go about creating your art, how you make career decisions, and how you interact with the larger art world and the people around you. Your process is about the how. You honor God and make Him known, and demonstrate the gospel at work by the way you go about making these decisions, by your disposition in embodying these decisions, and by what leads and influences you in making those decisions.
And the last part of this art life is product. Product is the actual art work. And again, you may say Marlita, Wait a minute, I don’t make art about faith.
And to that I say that it doesn’t matter so much what you talk about. It’s the perspective that you present on what you talk about, because you and I as Kingdom citizens in the world are contributing the Kingdom perspective to cultural dialogue. Even though we’re Christians, we’re still sexual beings, we still have feelings, we still deal with loss and grief, we still have awe, we still fall in love, we still make mistakes, we still engage in the human experience. So, what does that human experience look like from a Kingdom perspective? How do you address, confront, and look at being human and living in this earth in all its messiness from the Kingdom perspective?
Regardless of what you make art about, you’re still letting people know how the gospel informs your perspective on the human experience.
Through your art life, you communicate the gospel through your embodiment, even though it’s not through your conversation. You show what the gospel looks like put to work, what it looks like lived out. You show the gospel expressed, demonstrated, and applied in every day life. You show what the impact and the effect of that gospel on a life looks like, which is the responsibility of every Christian.
TALK TO ME
What did today’s episode release for you, or release you from, as you heard more about how you honor God with your kind of career life?