There’s this beautiful line from a song called Second Chances by Rend Collective that says: “My future hangs on this: you make preciousness from dust. Please don’t stop creating me.”
This line is chalked full of hope. I think it’s important for us to remember that, though by nature of our existence we are already created, God is not finished. And neither will he abandon us mid-process. Here is the truth that we know: he makes preciousness from dust. Man came from dust, according to Genesis. He has made something precious, and just because we can’t see the complete beauty in ourselves at this very moment doesn’t mean it’s not there.
I think the process of creation has a lot to do with stripping away. Instead of merely building something, I believe that beautiful things are revealed when false ways and false identities are stripped off. A creation can become something glorious and life-giving when it is given its value by the artist.
As a writer, the most impacting words I ever put on a page are the ones which require the baring of my soul—a stripping away of pretenses and false beliefs. The scenes that get the blood in my fingers pumping are the ones in which something deep inside of me is being exposed, coming to light. Sometimes it’s dark and broken, but beauty is found in the layers as the words grace the page. This, my friends, is the gloriously bloody work of creation.
Any artist will understand. Your best art no doubt began with a cutting open of your soul—a wound, if you will, that allowed you—compelled you, maybe—to bleed on the page, the canvas, the dance floor, or whatever medium might relate to your type of art. This way of creating will always be the most moving and influential. Why? Because it’s relatable. It’s real.
You may find yourself stuck in your art right now. Lost, maybe. Sometimes your artistic life can seem like an unending winding forest that can go any direction yet lacks direction at the same time. Do you know what I mean? As someone who thrives on imagination, sometimes that very gift can be so vast and tangled that there seems to be no beginning point or ending point. Or if there once was one, you’ve misplaced your way somewhere along the indefinable route. What once was clear and beautiful and unblemished—an idea or a dream, a spark of imagery—is now a muddled memory or dark path ahead in your mind and perhaps your heart as well. Believe me, I understand this strange, hard-to-navigate world that creative minds live in.
But let me challenge you to think about this: What if your as-of-yet unfinished work of art was calling for you to create it? I mean, sure, you might consider a book or a painting or a dance or a movie an inanimate thing that does not have a voice like a human being does. Oh, but really? What is a story if not a living, breathing, moving thing that activates minds and hearts? What is a painting if not the very reflection of a living artist’s soul? Your works of art, in a manner of speaking, are begging to be completed, to be breathed on so they can come to life. Just as we call upon our Creator to continue his work in us so we can become all we must, so the true beauty in us can be revealed and experienced for a transformed life, so our art is calling for us to continue the process.
That idea came to you for a reason. Ideas are not stationary or inconsequential. They always have a purpose, or they wouldn’t have come. Now, you very well may have to work through some muck to get to the beauty part. But art is a reflection of life—and what life is without its share of brokenness, ugliness, and mistakes?
I compel you, fellow artists, to not leave a work by the wayside merely because your initial attempts didn’t measure up to your own standards, or even someone else’s standards. What if our Creator did that to us? What if he got writer’s block or became discouraged and didn’t finish our story? Where would that leave us? How would beauty ever come out of our brokenness?
Make preciousness out of the dust of your sometimes feeble attempts at creating worthy art. Strip off expectations and false brush strokes and see what beauty lies underneath. With perseverance, I promise your art will pleasantly surprise you in the end.