Creating Beauty While Living In A World of Chaos

I live in the world, but as a Christian, I am not of the world. My identity is formed in Christ in me. I am seated in heavenly places. I am a new creation in Christ. There are many verses to substantiate these claims in previous blogs. So let’s rest on this sure foundation – we are in Christ in the world.

Walking towards the lightThis world thrives in the midst of tension and chaos. Unsettling on every front, current events drive us either into a sense a fear or subtle escapism. In Christ, I choose to bow my knee to neither.

Perfect love casts out fear. As the love of Christ flows into my life, fear evaporates in the glory of His presence.

Escapism is also not an option. I am a creative realist – taking what life seemingly throws at me, I keep on moving. Life is too precious in Christ to admit defeat AND if there are days that get me down, I rise up and stay strong as soon as possible.

So many of my thoughts are flowing from an excellent article written by NT Wright, The Bible and Christian Imagination.

Here we have the world at large – both beautiful and ugly.

“Seeing one does not defy the existence of the other.” NT Wright

PaintbrushSo, it seemingly depends upon my spiritual vision more than my natural vision to live creativity, manifesting beauty through my life. If I gaze upon the reality of ugliness, which abounds on every side, beauty is hidden from me. Beauty does exist and it is beauty that I must gaze upon. It is beauty and truth that capture writers. It is beauty and wonder that excites the artist. We live by gazing upon the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ and reflecting His glory through our life and our creativity. I move in an opposing spirit to that which tries to weigh me down in chaos, death and destruction. It is beauty that astonishes the eye. Beauty grabs the heart to dream. Eternity calls us to come into its reality, here and now.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV)

I struggle. I suffer. Yet all things are working in Christ to display an exceeding weight of glory in my life, now and forever. I choose to look at the reality of eternity to interject beauty and truth into people that are downcast, distraught, abandoned or feeling insignificant and small. In Christ, I am light in the midst of darkness. Eternity is my reality. I am passing through all of this as a Christian. I keep my eyes focused on Christ and keep walking, being sure that I am called and chosen for such a time as this. Of that I am quite sure.

Imagination flows through an informed study and meditation of Scripture. That brings eternity right into the midst. It does not yet take me out of the world but opens my eyes to see by faith. I walk in my sanctified imagination to bring creativity into the earth.

While ministering in the poor areas of Eldoret, Kenya many years ago, the Lord specifically told me to preach on beauty. This astounded me and left me somewhat bewildered. As I looked around, I saw only poverty and lack. Many people living there hardly thought about beauty. Their concentration was on daily subsistence and living one day at a time. At least that is what I thought.

Deep inside I realized how wrong I actually was. Despite poverty and lack, people hold dreams and visions within their hearts. They often don’t realize it. They don’t feel the freedom to even accept the fact that they can dream in the midst of life’s trials. To preach on beauty seemed irrelevant and superfluous. Yet God kept telling me to preach on beauty so I did, off the cuff, which means flowing in Holy Spirit. I preached on gazing on His beauty. I preached on ascending in worship. I preached on displaying His glory right where they lived.

We are called to co-create with God and in God through revelation, ideas, and directions given to us in Holy Spirit.

To create beauty in the midst of tension, poverty, or lack.

To dream in the midst of encroaching darkness.

To engage with reality right where we are, living, moving and having our being in Christ.

To take our little corner of the world and to manifest heaven on earth, stirring up hope and possibility everywhere we are.

No one is beyond manifesting beauty and truth right now. No one. No matter how deep the inner and outer poverty we live in, we are called to gaze upon His beauty and reflect His glory. To show forth His beauty through the creative expression of Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Rise up today from fear! Creativity takes courage to rise up and to actually create! Start right where you are in Christ. One idea may challenge us to move out in a Holy Spirit faith direction. Lacking money or time does not divert our sense of purpose. Rejection does not hinder us. We live by faith in the Son of God who consistently tells us to dream big. He whispers that nothing is impossible in Him.

I write to inspire today. This subject is part of my DNA in Christ so I can’t shut it off or turn it down. Each time I write, I give small pieces and ask you to run with it. To finish this story within yourself through your own life. I always desire closure when I get close to the end of a blog post. I almost never get it for it is bigger than me right now. Creativity is my passion, my life. Enjoy! Think. Meditate. Dream.

Debra

In Christ, Debra

I would love to speak at your conference, gathering, church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!

Biblical Imagination – Michael Card (The last one slipped away on me!) Read on!

The last post slipped away by mistake before I even started. Read on!

“I would be cautious of using the word ‘imagination,’ for with an UNINFORMED IMAGINATION Jesus is merely a FIGMENT of our IMAGINATION.. But when the imagination is surrendered along with the heart and mind, it becomes a unifying bridge that opens the scriptures in a new and meaningful way.” Michael Card Biblical Imagination

I am getting my thoughts from Michael Card’s article on Biblical Imagination. My study time is taking me into a deep well or revelation. What prompted this journey? To some it may be an obscure subject, somewhat inferior to other forms of expression. NT Wright says it better than me:

“The arts, the imagination, our capacity to create beauty ourselves, is not simply incidental to what it means to be human. For generations now, many Christians have really believed, and acted on the belief, that the arts, the imagination, are the pretty bits around the edges, the kind of decorative border, whereas the middle, the main bit, whatever it is, is the kind of solid, stodgy, chunky bit in the middle which is Christian truth, dogma, belief, and ethics, and all that stuff, and then you can kind of go away and play sometimes around the edge if your lucky.” 

Tunnel_Of_LoveWithout freedom of expression in the lives of Christians, we might as well relinquish our passions to Hollywood or Madison Avenue to convey creativity. Wait, they already are doing this. Why? The church has either copied the form of the world or retreated so far back into a shell of ambiguity that we have lost the luster, the grace and the glory of Jesus Christ manifested in us and through us.

I was a frustrated creative who allowed this passion in me to be subjugated/crushed under people’s opinions, deep rejection and insecurity. Now….I am enjoying this journey, hoping to see creativity restored to Christians so that God’s glory will amaze and astound us in unique expression.

Michael Card’s article above is worth reading. Some great quotes moved me right into Holy Spirit revelation. As I am read, my notes do not always reflect what is being said but what I am hearing and what Holy Spirit is revealing to me.

The subject of imagination can be quite touchy. Many Christians would rather be entrenched in routine week by week as a spectator in a performance based church setting.  I know there is a better way but it will take brave leaders who are surrendered to the glory of God, without trying to legislate it or manipulate the flow of meetings. It will take creative leaders who raise up new expressions in a gathering besides just the usual: songs, preaching, maybe altar ministry.

ColorfulLooking at Scripture, I can see that imagination is generally presented in a negative sense. Yet, as I read the article, my eyes were opened to SEE that it is not the word imagination but actually the problem with the heart as most references in Scripture reference heart or imply heart when speaking about imagination.

“When we imagine, we are working with our hearts and minds to create images. Working in concert, they are connected by a bridge, which is imagination. Imagination seeks to re-integrate and reconnect the mind/heart from the Fall where they were fragmented.” Thoughts from Michael Card

Well there you have it. Imagination is excellent but as in all things, our focus is Jesus. We desire to bring Him glory. We follow the leading of Holy Spirit who seeks to glorify the Son. We engage with Scripture, alive and real, allowing its narrative and story to grasp our heart. This is done through study, prayer, meditation, and in worship. Images come, Thoughts form and the Word of God is alive.

So here is what I imagine. A group of people flowing in unity in Holy Spirit as the divine leader. One mind, one accord to being glory to the Son. Preaching flowing from interpreting the dance. Artists revealing process as they talk of dreams and revelation. Prophetic songs flowing from psalmist who open the heaven’s wide so that corporates we may ascend into His presence. Step by Step……..I love walking in this direction. Some of this will be flowing in Kenya on the next trip.

There is so much more to come as I am just starting out. More study on imagination. Then at some point, Holy Spirit directs me to study the Renaissance.

DebraIn Christ, Debra

I would love to speak at your conference, gathering, church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!