make art, not war

{photo credit}

There’s been a war going on in my soul. It’s the age-old battle of whether or not to fall into line, do what’s expected, follow the routine. Or muster up courage, take a risk, and try something new. It’s the conflict of following my mind or listening to my heart. And it’s got me into a bloody mess.

You see, whenever I attempt to be dutiful, I lose all delight. I feel caught and trapped and pinned down for good. I lose all sense of joy and delight, and I know this is not the way. This is not what I was created to do. Created to be.

At least, that’s how it has been as I’ve searched for my calling this past year in our new hometown. It’s been painful and good and hard all over ten thousand times. It’s been an important process for me to go through, though.

One day I was walking the halls of my children’s new school, and I passed a teacher with her class. I’ll call her Ms. Frizzle. At least, she seemed every bit like Ms. Frizzle to me and all her students who were held captive by her every word. I knew deep, deep down in my heart that she had found her calling. Her joy. Teaching was where God’s greatest need met her greatest strength. And I also knew deep, deep down in my heart that I did not have that same joy, and I needed to discover my unique calling. I needed to wait and watch and pray. I needed to rest and listen and seek God. I needed freedom to be me.

I’ve been in this process for almost a year now, and I don’t know much more except for this: When my work is my duty, I die. When my work is my art, it is life giving.

Being made in the image of God is important. It means we are His art, and it means we are here to discover His creative purposes in our life. As image bearers, we are called to make art, and often the war within indicates that either we have missed the calling, or we are narrowing in on the path. When I wrestle with this tension, I want to remember that God is creating something good and right and holy in me. Even if it takes another year.