Seven of us crowd around an empty table in the very back of the restaurant. Some sip tea, others coffee. We are writers and speakers, songwriters and teachers; we are women who love words. But something stronger wraps around our conversation, binds us tighter than any shared dream: the word of God.
This tiny group of artists who gather monthly is a balm of some sort that soothes my soul in ways I don’t even realize. Someone asks a question: What are you struggling most with right now in your writing? Soon a discussion unfolds, and every woman around the table agrees that her worst fear is her own pride.
Later, I drive home understanding the battle within me a little bit better, thankful for those with me on this journey. I know what’s in my heart—at least I think I do. My capabilities and biases, my motives and weaknesses. Sometimes, I forget God knows all this, too.
He reveals what’s inside in order to set me free.
He holds my hand and teaches me that I do not need a microphone to live a life of influence, but then He thrusts one in my hand anyway. For the next several seasons, I will feel pulled back and forth between two forces: step up and use my voice or run away and hide.
Our group eventually stops meeting as life takes us to new places, yet that artist comradery is strong enough to keep me moving when I feel like giving up and my identity feels pulled in a thousand directions.
My friend Julie started this blog a few months ago, and it moves me every time I visit. Her simple yet profound way of naming beauty causes me to exhale deeply and drink in God’s goodness.
Julie recently wrote about the difference between graffiti and street art. Her words remind me who I am in Christ and simultaneously tap into something lodged in my heart, a fear that runs deeper than I care to admit.
I still fear my own pride.
Will stepping up and using our voices somehow result in a great fall? Will we succeed in making His name known rather than our own? I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust my own selfishness, my own desperate desire for approval. I don’t trust me.
Why does God trust any of us with gifts for the benefit of others?
I’d rather run and hide, but today, Jesus gently invites me to take a step closer, to peer through the lens of His love to see how far He’s brought me. Julie’s words echo His words as one artist touches another in a sacred way.
“If street art is giving then graffiti is taking. One is a sacrifice, hours of back-breaking work, that benefits the viewers and the other is a sacrifice merely for self glory, self promotion, and the thrill of an adrenaline rush. Both artists leave a lasting mark. Both artists have a gift to share. Yet one shares with no strings attached and the other makes the art all about him/herself.” (Julie Cassol, Speaking Beauty blog)
Maybe your art isn’t writing or speaking, but you’ve wrestled with the fear of pride, too. Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that hiding your gift is the safest way to dodge the potential mine field ahead.
Hiding is just another form of pride.
The world needs your art and your voice in the worst way. Our enemy knows that God’s gifts make this place better, more beautiful, and ultimately, reflect His glory. If Satan can’t lead us into the trap of our own pride, he’ll convince us to hide in a flimsy effort to self-protect. Both extremes render us ineffective.
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors… Hosea 10:12-13
We sow righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Righteousness is a gift of God, not something we produce on our own. We seek, He showers. I know I’ve sat at that table “eating the fruit of lies” for far too long. Fear deceives us into believing we can keep our pride in check by ducking out of the spotlight, by keeping our heads low, our gifts hidden.
We can’t trust ourselves, but we can trust Jesus.
I’ve tried on my own to rid my heart of pride, but I’ve failed. Terrified of my own tendencies, scared to death that every time I share my art I’ll become a taker or glory thief, I’ve tried to prevent the fall that follows pride. I’ve tried to rescue myself rather than seeking Jesus, the only able Rescuer.
Before Christ, our only pursuit was self, but now His love has become our aim. When His righteousness rains down on us, we become givers of life, beauty, grace, and forgiveness. We bear His name and bear the fruit of His unfailing love.
God made us artists in His image—every one of us—to reflect His glory and make His name known. So your contribution is crucial to the kingdom. Whether your art is conversation or connection or custodial work, you have something sacred to share with the world.
We can be artists who show up without a single string attached and share our art fearlessly when we make Christ’s love our only aim. Above all, may we remember that it’s not about trusting ourselves but about trusting Jesus and remaining in His love.