Welcome to the Kingdom Art Life, episode 16.
Well, first of all, Happy New Year! Can you believe we’re in 2017? That is incredible! So much has happened in our world and in my life personally since our last episode in 2016. Before we launch into our conversation for today, I want to encourage you to join our mailing list at thekingdomartlife.com. Things are moving forward in awesome ways and I want to keep you informed! One exciting bit of news I want to share is that I have started working on my next book. The title is Harmonizing the Artist of Faith: A Manifesto for Christians with “secular” art careers. That will be out in March 2017. So get on the list so I can keep you posted! Alright, enough about me.
As this podcast is about building harmony between faith, art, and career, I wanted to spend our first episode back digging deeper into this process of harmony. The Lord is continually unpacking this idea for me and the most recent thing He helped me understand is that this process of harmony we’re in is an internal one. What do I mean?
Well, first let me give you our working definition of harmony. It is:
Where all parts of yourself (as an artist in Christ) are accepted and honored, and are working together as one, toward one end in agreement with God.
As an artist of faith working in “secular” culture, you are a Christian, you are an artist, and you are a cultural participant. And harmony is about all three of these parts of you being honored and allowed to have full expression in the same place. This is an internal process because this same place we are working on is within you. Building harmony between faith, art, and career is about helping you come to a place of assurance, where you can stand flat-footed in the reality that, one, God is pleased when these parts of you work together, and two, that they can in fact work together in a way where each part is honored.
So how does this happen? The Lord gave me the image of pruning, but first He told me that harmony is a natural process that has already been started in us. Our life coming together in God started when we said yes to Christ’s invitation for salvation. However, that natural process has been blocked, much like a tree is hindered from continuing its natural capacity for growth.
I told you that the Lord gave me the image of pruning as an analogy for harmony. What is pruning? It’s when you cut away dead, decayed parts of the tree so that it can continue growing unhindered. The Lord asked me, does pruning make the tree grow? The answer is no. Pruning doesn’t make the tree grow. The tree already has the capacity to grow, and as long as it is unhindered, it will grow. What pruning does is remove things that are hindering the tree from doing what Is natural.
What does that mean for us? The three parts of you as an artist in Christ working together is something that is natural. It’s something the Lord started working in you from the moment you gave Him permission with your yes. Yet, even though it’s natural, even though God is in it, we, as Christians with “secular” art careers still experience hesitation letting these parts organically live together. Why? Because there are blockages that must be removed.
What are these blockages? They’re our thoughts, our perceptions, our understandings. How did they get there? Some of them came from what we’ve been taught, what we’ve seen and experienced. But other blockages have come from us, ourselves, through what we’ve accepted, what we’ve assumed and concluded.
So this process of harmony is one where we’re removing dead, decaying, erroneous, unproductive thoughts, assumptions, and understandings. When these are removed, the ease, the fluidity, the symtriosis (which is a new word I made because symbiosis only speaks of two things and I need something that speaks of three), but the harmony God invited you into can actually be experienced by you.
Building harmony between faith, art, and career could probably be restated as unblocking harmony between them. And that is what our time here on this podcast, and all my work through the Kingdom Artist Initiative is about, helping you remove the blockages so you can exist effortlessly as an artist in Christ working in “secular” culture.
That is the freedom I enjoy, and I know it is not a freedom only for me. So let’s get to hacking.
Tell me where is the difficulty, and/or why is it difficult for you to allow these parts of you to co-exist, unquestioned.