As an artist, it’s easy to be offended. I spent a lot of time living in a way where I would take any offense personally. If a leader didn’t understand my art. If he/she wanted something changed I used to take it poorly. I’d belittle. I’d over-explain. I’d justify. I’d do anything I could to get my way. It was horrible.

Of all the offenses that there were in my sad world, none was worse than when something I’d created wasn’t used. I often spend hours editing or hours creating–for the purpose of reaching people who don’t know. As such, I trusted my instincts, my eye above all others. I was a master-craftsman. All others were in need of my help.

(To read more of my article, click “more” below)

Continued in part 2:

Happily God asked me to give it all up. He asked me to give up my preferences–to be open-handed. It all started some time ago. Being humbled isn’t a fun process. It means you have to get rid of the things you hold most dear for a life that God has for you–a life that part of you wants to trust, but can’t quite yet.

It involved me simply making a decision to trust my leaders. I had to decide that I would follow no matter what. I’d leave the decisions up to them. Instead of trying to justify my actions, instead of trying to always be right. I was required to trust. Drawing the line in the sand was the first step.

I slowly realized that I’d been carrying a load I wasn’t meant to carry. I realized just how exhausting it was to constantly struggle and justify my opinions as right. I’d spent so much time being “right” that I’d fail to see that the most beautiful and perfect piece of art could be totally ineffective if not right for the context. That was a piece I’d missed.

Today, I arrived at church at 10 ’til 6:00 am. I’d stayed up until 1:00 am finishing some stuff for the service. When I arrived, the person ultimately responsible for the service told me that many of the images I’d worked so hard on wouldn’t be used at all. In lieu of a beautifully created image (click on the image above to see the 1024×768 original), I was to use white text on a black background.

I felt great about the prospect. Do you know why? Two reasons. First, I trusted my leader. She’s rarely wrong. She’s really gifted in discernment. If she says it’s a bad idea; it is. I wouldn’t have always said that, but now I can.

Secondly, I remembered a story from the Bible that really seemed relevant. Look up 2 Samuel 23:13-17 for yourself, but the gist is that during wartime, three of King David’s elite troops overhear him wishing for a drink of water from a well in his hometown (behind enemy lines). They risk their lives to get a cup for him. When they return, David pours the water out. He refuses to use it the way his men envision. Why? Some things are too valuable to hoard to yourself. Some things must be given to God.

This is why I’m no longer offended. I don’t give my time for human praise. I was talking to someone today about it. I wouldn’t work on a broadway show under the constraints I have at the hours I put in. Money just isn’t worth enough to pour my life out for.

Today we had a great service as a part of our “Quest at the Movies” series. We used “Walk the Line” as our metaphor today talking about grace. We performed the song “Walk the Line” although I felt an attempt make me feel resentment. I didn’t. I guess Johnny said it best, “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine.”

Paul

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