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Solitude is for the Artist

I never realized how terrified I was of solitude until I decided to face some dark emotions and process pain.  I never realized how I glorified “busyness” as a substitute for feeling significant because deep down, I was terrified that I was lacking significance without feeling useful or needed.  I have been running around for quite some time trying to avoid this crisis.  I would have really good weeks where staying invested in people, feeling needed, feeling enjoyed, feeling purposeful for the most part, but I  wasn’t in my lane.  I was taking on too much and had all these grand intentions, but they stayed just that: good intentions.

Feeling unfulfilled and ashamed of this track record of unfinished “brilliant ideas” I kept having mini-crisis after mini-crisis after mini-crisis.  Finally after a heart wrenching disappointment and mini-crisis seven-hundred and sixty-four, my husband looked at me square in the face and with gentle-sternness said “You need to just do it! You need to stop being afraid of your own greatness and take baby-steps at your dream.  You keep distracting yourself and it’s time to stop.”

I wish I could say that it just clicked and boom, I felt super empowered by courage.  But I am even still dealing with layers of insecurity and timidity with all of this, but like he said, baby steps.  I wish I could say that this was the first time my husband had said those words, but it wasn’t.  He has probably told me similar words hundreds of times and has given me so many gracious, uplifting pep-talks in these last 3 years of marriage.

What the real testimony here is is not the embers of my dying dreams suddenly catching flame in a sudden moment of courageous breakthrough.  The real testimony here is unconditional love.  My husband’s resilient graciousness and patience.  This is the awe.  This is the real testimony of beauty.  This story.  One of many.  The tension, the sadness, the struggle, the heartache, the discouragement that set the wildest backdrop for our love to keep spelling out a vibrant, illuminating “yes” to one another.  With my most recent “yes,” I said “yes” to take this risk.  For the sake of my health, for the sake of honoring my husband, for the sake of my dreams, for the sake of trusting God, I am taking this risk: solitude.  No more chasing after counterfeit significance.  No more indulging in the addiction of busyness.  No more.

But…

While in solitude, I discovered something wonderful in the midst of all the scary insecurities and unknowns.  Solitude is for the artist.  It’s for me.  It’s rigged in my favor.  There’s so much grace in it to process and just be.  I will begin sharing the revelation of what it has looked like for me walking in a season of solitude thus far.  I truly believe this is a wonderful blueprint that gives language to those who are ignorant and afraid of solitude.

To the one who confuses solitude with isolation, this is for you.  To the one who is scared of solitude because you’re afraid of facing your truest self, this is for you.  To the one who is exhausted from going through the motions and desperate for change, this is for you.

 

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Solitude is for the artist.

Solitude is a holy occasion void of pressure and urgency.  Pressure drives the function part of us to compete against urgency & tension. Always functioning in order to complete a duty is the death sentence of artists, and ultimately, the abortion of beauty.

Solitude is sacred and essential in order for beauty to survive.  Custom, daily-grind, routine, occupation- the series of doings which requires interaction from the functioning part of us.  It initiates the “doing” part of us. Where solitude initiates the “being” part of us.

Both are important parts of our humanity, but one should never stifle the other. There must be a healthy partnership in order to thrive in excellence and purpose.

True artists find their craft as a vehicle to communicate beauty.  The kind of beauty that demands to be recreated. Solitude is the holy occasion that ministers to the emotions of an artist. Emotions are what beauty influences.

Without human emotion, beauty wouldn’t have a witness. Without solitude, an artist couldn’t recreate it.

The enemy attacks our emotions first because our emotions are the womb of beauty. Beauty is the personality of God, and its sole agenda is to communicate outrageous Love! Beauty is whimsical in essence, but the wonder of it evokes a sense of purpose.  Beauty is strategically placed.

So emotions that never experience beauty become love-anemic and enter into depression. An artist unable to detach from functioning can’t enter solitude, and stifled creativity will leave an artist feeling unfulfilled, purposeless and insecure.

 

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Artists are so important to culture.  Culture needs beauty.  Beauty is Love communicating to orphaned emotions.

The enemy is either presenting pressure to shut down emotions and exhaust the function part of us, or he is oppressing the emotions with anxiety and depression and in our frailty, initiates a lie that: our identity is in our condition.  So whenever we agree with that lie, we engage it as a concrete reality, that ushers in a lifestyle of substance dependency to cope with our emotions.  Medicating our dark emotions will numb ALL of our emotions.

Or, for a more religious ego, it appears more dignified to suppress emotions with a mindset of indifference, if there’s a fear of disappointment.  Where one might say they “care” out of caution or duty, but refuse to engage with the full depth of feeling towards a person or an issue.  But if there’s a pressure that inflicts pain, there’s a reactionary function of performance that replaces the emotional processing.  Refusing to grieve a hurt or face the root issue of why we feel urgency, anxiety or pressure will only default to a guardian emotion of rage, anger or even hate.  As much as our pride would like to get away with not falling apart in sadness for fear of appearing weak or incompetent, that sadness will just manifest in a different emotion like rage.  Rage seems like a stronger emotion, so anyone frantically upholding a strong, independent front will often hide out there.  Pride does cast a delusion that makes indifference and rage seem more dignified than sadness or tender-heartedness.  Pain is inevitable, but humans run and run and run from it.  Each human does it differently to.

God never intended for us to carry pain, but our emotions do have grace to process pain. Grieving seems scary, but grief and sadness are rigged with grace to lead us into a place of healing. The enemy wants to trick us into shutting down our emotions and “hold it all together” where God has given us grace to process our emotions. We don’t have to hold it all together because God has already got it all together. He is really great at restoring what’s broken. Holy Spirit is giving us permission to fall apart in His Presence. It’s safe there. If we refuse to face our agony, the Comforter can’t comfort us. Holy Spirit wants to be invited into our darkest emotions and lead us into a place of joy!

Comfort is beautiful. It’s a lovely quality God has & wants to express. God WANTS to express Himself. The enemy is out to sabotage the communication between God’s Love expressing beauty to our emotions. The enemy wants to isolate us from beauty and in its place, inject feelings of insecurity, unworthiness, shame and infirmity.

This isn’t something new the enemy is doing, he has done this since Eden. He tricked Eve and Adam into questioning the kindness of God so they hid when they messed up. They pulled away from fellowship with God because they felt shame. God’s response, “Who told you that? Who told you you were naked? I didn’t. I made you to be fully seen and fully accepted; basking in My smile and enjoying the Beauty of My delight.”

Detached from beauty, we forfeit thriving for surviving. We enter cycles of bondage to our pressures and anxieties. Self-preservation substitutes re-creation.

Pressure is so overbearing to anyone isolated from grace, so then the only alternative is to numb it with emotional-suppression; when actually, we are meant to be in open communication with a beauty that empowers emotional expression!  Solitude is that holy occasion where our emotions are postured to communicate with God.

God WANTS to express Himself to us! God takes beauty seriously because it’s His full investment in our emotions. He longs that we fully know who we are. He is Creator for the sake of Love. Love is always communicating as creation keeps re-creating. This is why solitude is so important, because we are creators made in the image of the Great Artist, and creativity needs rest to meditate and ponder over beauty. A healthy imagination is always immersed in the wonder of beauty.

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Let beauty possess you. Let yourself savor it. Linger in it.

Explore and express how it collides with your soul. Creativity is giving glory to God. Simply acknowledging what is beautiful releases glory. It gives praise. Praise completes the enjoyment and gratifies the emotions. It connects us to God and connects God to culture. Let God be found in beauty’s cause of wonder instead of having God be misrepresented by an overbearing religion or political agenda.

For the sake of beauty, create! For the sake of your soul, create! Creativity energizes and heals. Expose yourself to beauty so that creativity can happen. Beauty is more powerful than laws.

Art is the vehicle that expresses beauty.

Culture’s most powerful influence is art and beauty, not laws and wars.  The artists shape the future, not politics, not religion.

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So, with all my heart, I feel this conviction: to partner my role as an artist with the purpose of giving beauty a voice.  I truly feel this blog is the best YES I can say to this mandate: to give culture language for where they lack language.  To call out to the deep emotions and kiss what’s been cursed.  To love what’s been rejected.  To sanctify what’s been shamed.  And as a prophetic person, I have felt Heaven moving towards human emotion to bring revival and redemption.  The artists and prophetic creatives are rising up to give prophetic language to culture to navigate their emotions with intelligence and grace- without shame, without fear, without comparison or competition.  I feel deeply that God has it on His heart to break indifference off of the religious and arrogant, so they can feel, heal and walk in freedom in their emotions.  I also feel God is going to break addiction off of the tormented and indulgent, so they too can feel, heal and walk in freedom in their emotions.  God is after our self-esteem.  Beauty is out to minister to the human soul. Beauty is out to remind humanity that we are the crescendo of creation.  We are the baby in the cosmos-cradle.

So, dear one reading, I invite you to be loved and be known here.  I fling open the doors of my gypsy-jelly-heart and gush out all the pent-up ooey-gooey-gushy-creative-intuitive-expressions I have for you.  As I begin this journey of interviewing souls, prophesying to their emotions, translating their beauty and then showcasing their self, I pray you encounter the source behind the process: Love.  Not merely spectate it, but interact with it.  Talent is impressive, but passion is moving.  Be moved and touched by Love as your emotions wake up a little, maybe get startled a little, by the raw honesty of a showcased soul bearing witness to beauty.

Enthusiastically yours,

JRH

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