Wednesday, November 14, 2018

We Must Emerge

As I put the finishing touches on a commissioned piece of artwork a question popped into my mind, “Do butterflies eat the same things as caterpillars?”

The artwork was a gift for someone I had never met. I knew two things about her, she liked butterflies and the book of Isaiah. I scoured the book of Isaiah for the scripture that the Lord highlighted to me for her. By the time I had printed the scriptures and collaged them onto the canvas I was near tears, moved by His heart for this woman I didn’t know. There was promise and hope and vision for a future calling.

What was all this about? The artwork, the question?

The first thing that came to mind for the butterfly when I was asked to do this piece was a keyhole for the body. Interesting, right?

Then a scripture came to me, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Peter 2:2-3

Searching on Google did not provide the answers I was looking for, so I called our local butterfly center. I spoke to Jennifer, at Callaway Gardens Day Butterfly Center. I asked her if butterflies and caterpillars eat the same things and she was more than happy to share her knowledge with me.

Jennifer explained that butterflies lay eggs on host plants, the plant variety depends on the type of butterfly. The caterpillar then hatches on that plant and that’s what it eats. The caterpillar finds a tree, or wall or something similar and forms a chrysalis and the butterfly emerges and the cycle starts over again. While a caterpillar eats host plants, a butterfly drinks nectar. 

About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:11-14
The Lord was teaching me something through all of this. I have to fully leave behind what I did in a previous season when I enter a new one. I can’t create the same, write the same or behave the same. I have transformed or “emerged!”

When the gift was received the recipient said, “every word, every scripture, the art have no idea how spot on all of it was!” Even the name of her new ministry fit with the keyhole! I was in awe! 

This is the art titled "SOAR" that led to this post
I created this piece completely relying on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me and He showed up in a big way. Ministering just what this woman needed. In a prior season or “stage” I might have consulted my client for more details. I even resisted the urge to send her progress pictures. I had grown from that stage, I no longer was eating a host plant (relying on others input), I was drinking nectar straight from the flower (being led by the Holy Spirit.)
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
I am grateful for lessons in the midst of creating, art has been a powerful teacher.

It reminds me of a podcast I listened to, Art & Faith Conversations with Libby John when she interviewed artist and worship leader Aeron Brown. He shared part of his creative journey when he created collages with his deceased father’s memorabilia and pictures. He came to a point when he could no longer create from that place. He said, “I found out in my 20s that that led me to burnout and grieving and depression.” He had emerged.

We are all familiar with the term "tortured artist." Could it be that the stereotypical "tortured artist" is simply an artist that has not emerged? Someone who has not moved past the host plant to drink nectar? Someone who has been made whole, but still lives as if they are broken?

Artists create from deep places, places of joy and places of sorrow. The temptation is to stay in the place where the creativity is flowing, but there is always more, always healing. When God heals us, artist or not, we need to move on from that place and consume a new diet. We Must Emerge!
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity,... Hebrews 6:1

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