Be the Artist God Created You to Be!
by Rev. Gary A. Shockley, a friend and supporter of Missional Wisdom Foundation, and member of our Dispersed Community


“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” -Pablo Picasso.
 
Because we are made in the image of Creator we are all creative. Every one of us has the potential to do something that sparks imagination, expresses feelings, provokes thought and helps others to experience beauty: painting, sculpture, music, dance, gardening, writing, cooking, singing, preaching, coaching, teaching, praying (and the list goes on) are all forms of creativity.  If it inspires, expresses feelings, provokes thoughts and helps others ponder beauty, it’s art.   I have a bumper sticker, “Earth without art is “eh.”  
 
As one of my expressions of creativity I draw and paint things. I have been nurturing this since I was a child. A few years ago I developed a performance art form I call SandArtistry which is a kind of story telling using sand, light, and music. You can watch a video sample of this on my website (garyshockley.wordpress.com). I borrowed the idea from Jesus when a woman who was charged with adultery was about to be stoned by the men in the town square. Jesus knelt down and drew something in the sand (twice). The men dropped their rocks and slinked away. (John 8:2-11) Sand Art sparks imagination, expresses feelings, provokes thought and helps others experience beauty without words.
 
Currently, I am a Palliative Care Chaplain at Carolina’s Health Care main hospital in Charlotte, NC.  I am working in an extended CPE internship that has me at the clinic nearly full time each week.  As a member of an interdisciplinary team I work alongside doctors, nurses, social workers, and other providers to offer spiritual and emotional support mainly for cancer and trauma patients. My ministry here is another kind of art form for me. Alongside staff I work with patients and loved ones to spark imagination about how best to live their lives, make meaning of their illness, express their feelings, provoke thoughts about their treatment, and help them experience beauty in whatever way possible. Recently, I guided one of my patients through a visual prayer exercise based on John 14. Through the prayer she experienced the room Jesus said he would prepare for her. She was able to describe the room she was in, the people in it including her three babies that did not survive birth, her mother, and God. That evening I went home and sketched out the image of God she shared with me. To be honest, this is not the image I have of God, it is hers and it is precious. She died before I had the chance to show the picture to her. She didn’t need it now anyway. She can see for herself!
 
I challenge you to think about your own creativity in whatever form God has blessed you. How do you nurture it? How are you investing it for the kingdom? In what ways does it make you closer to God? How might you use it to help others?
 
Just as Earth without art is “eh” so is the world without your creative spark. Be the artist God created you to be!

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