Thursday, February 2, 2012

seeds: the need to create

I have been thinking about my word for the year, seed, and seeds as our work, our creating.

I once felt some vague need to justify art-making but now I believe that it is not only justified but an absolute necessity.
The moment that humility becomes self-conscious, it becomes hubris.  One cannot be humble and aware of oneself at the same time.  Therefore, the act of creating- painting a picture, singing a song, writing a story- is a humble act?  This was a new thought to me.  Humility is throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else. -Madeleine L'Engle
If the act of creating is a humble act than it is more humble to create than not to create, to desire than not desire, more humble to use our gifts than not to use them.  It is an act of humility and generosity to put our heart into living; to work with all your heart- it is the only way to both die to self and yet be fully Alive unto God.

Of course I am not saying that everyone is an artist in the way that we all should be painting or sculpting or knitting tree cozies.  But creating in the way of bringing redemption to some small corner or problem or ordinary day.

It is hope-seeking.

To create is to give.

Whatever the work, the act of throwing myself away in complete concentration on something or someone else is when life is most satisfying, when I discover God in new ways.

The reverse, when my creating grows stagnant I find that I do, too.  These are seasons when it is easy to become bitter, discouraged, critical.  Hubris.

{Hubris: arrogance, ego, pretension, self-importance.}

But can't even our work become arrogant?  Blogging can slide into narcissism.  Mothering can become competition.  Art can be ego.  Even my faith can become all about me.

This seems like a good test for all things: am I self-conscious or am I creating?  Am I being thrown away in the process, or preserving and protecting myself?  The seed that is not giving is not alive.

Maybe the solution to a lot of our sin struggle is to create . . .

If you have been stealing, stop. (Self.  Hubris.)
Work with your hands. (Create; throw oneself away)
Give. (concentrate on someone else)
(jesstock version: find pure joy in the process)


Kristy said...

I love to craft and often make things just to see if I can and how they will turn out, and then I usually end up giving them away. It's a good feeling - both the creating and the giving. :)

Ruth said...

I love this, Jess.

deb colarossi said...

so well said.