I have been praying about something. Something moving wildly in my heart and mind for quite some time now. Asking the Lord for grace to put words to these movements. Maybe if I can put words to them, God will be glorified even more, I will be delighted and more solidified in my thinking, and the people around me won't think I'm so crazy.
This wild and crazy passion has been awakened in my heart to do something meaningful, to make something beautiful, to point to the wonder of our great and glorious God. I wrote about the beginning of these passions here. They have only grown in measure and might.
I find myself thinking and dreaming and praying and longing so often over the work of my hands. I talk about it ALL. the. time. The words flow from a passionate place of love and excitement that what I'm making matters and impacts the Kingdom in such a unique way.
This passion - I felt it so fully when I put up the Christmas wood collection on the shop - creating some of my most favorite things from a few materials, laboring like crazy for days in a row, capturing them in a way that declares their beauty and meaning, and sharing them with my people.
I saw it so evidently Thursday when Ben prepared the Thanksgiving meal. He is anincredible chef. He created some of the tastiest things I've ever put in my mouth, worked his hiney off for hours, set up the table just perfectly so that we might capture and share the beauty of the work of his hands (before we gobbled it up!).
I see a glimpse of it when my niece and nephew and nanny girls draw a picture for me and come running to me with it wailing in their hands - "Lala, (or Mrs. Lauren), look what I made you!!!" All the while they beam with confidence and delight that what they made matters, and they have found an expression of love that brings joy to the one receiving and to the givers themselves.
So here's what I've been talking to the Lord about - There is something about doing what you were made to do. We long to do what the Lord has gifted us in. We feel alive and full and purposeful. We want what we make to be pleasing and enjoyable - to the eye and to the heart (in my case or any other artist realm). We want it to go beyond fulfilling the purpose it is serving. We want it to go deeper than simply what you can see and touch. We want it to be meaningful.
And we have a burning desire to capture the moment when it is all ready and finished, and the work is complete. We want to capture that feeling. Because that is the feeling of life as it were meant to be.
And we yearn to share it because to keep it to ourselves is impossible. When you have worked so hard and passionately over the work of your hands that you love so much, you cannot keep it in. It explodes from within in joy!
But here is one tricky part. We are sinful, broken human beings. And for me, I can get all twisted up in whose glory I'm working for. If I'm sharing via instagram/fb/blogging for my own glory or for approval from others, then I see myself caring more about what others think about the work of my hands. But when I am dreaming, then creating, then finishing, then sharing - in the power and fullness of the Spirit, for God's glory - things are different.God truly is glorified. His work and creativity are on display.
And I am free and full. Free from the sting of any sort of criticism or rejection. I get to receive things things with grace and consider what would sharpen my skills and bring greater glory to the Father. Free from comparison because I enjoy the beauty of being created uniquely for the purpose of bringing Him glory in accordance with the gifts He's given me. Free in the sense that I feel ALIVE. That freedom points to the One Who bought it for me with His own blood. That freedom points to my identity being found in Christ and not in the work of my hands.
Full of joy and overwhelming delight that I have just gotten the opportunity to reflect the Creator Himself and to enjoy that finished work before giving it away. Full of a sense of purpose and meaning that uniquely bears witness to the beautiful Kingdom. That fullness points to the One Who told me that He came that I may have LIFE and have it to the full. That fullness testifies to the fact that we were made for more, that brokenness really can be beautiful when redeemed by our Savior Who lived perfectly that we might be fully approved. It testifies to the gospel itself. That breathtakingly beautiful gospel.
I don't know if anyone feels like me ever, but if you do, I'd love to have a conversation - receiving any and all wisdom or dreaming about each other's passions. (I'm hoping Lara Casey's book will be an avenue of shepherding in my life!) I am definitely still figuring things out (it's been less than a year - I am so a baby!) and working through sin that comes from me with regards to working with these hands (see my battle with perfectionism here and falling short of my expectations here). As with all work there is definitely toil because of the Fall (i.e. packaging, pencil erasing, etc. haha). But I am working, knowing that the true and most important work was finished on the Cross. I am working to point to that work - and that is the ONLY reason my work matters.