This past week I completed my first abstract art piece. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but haven’t really had the courage to try. Abstract art is kind of tricky. Most art on some level follows a certain visual logic to create something that seems real. Or at least attempts to depict something. I’ve always liked abstract art because the good pieces can’t really be defined by what they are, but what kind of response they invoke. For some, they will look at a piece and ask, “what is it supposed to be?” Others will look at a piece and say, “this makes me feel ______.” Personally, my favorite abstract pieces make me feel like I know what kind of day the artist was having. There is something relational, which is definitely the lens through which I tend to view the world.
I also like abstract art because it often reminds me of the magnitude of God. We live in a reality where we try and control as much as possible. We want an order and a meaning behind so much. We want our lives to be about something.
But what if it’s not?
It’s tough to imagine God’s desire for our lives to be about something so clearly defined. For example, what if God’s desire for us is more than just getting to heaven, but that indescribable experience that is being in His presence for eternity. How would you paint that? Would that fit neatly into a picture of some thing?
It’s easy for me to appreciate a God that is beyond a straightforward explanation. When I think of God I don’t get a completely clear picture of who He is, but a feeling, an experience of what He is like. The trouble I run into comes from trying to take that experience and encapsulate it, put an order to it, and condition it to meet my desires.
I struggled with this piece because I have the tendencies of a graphic designer. Most of my art is very planned and organized, attempting to depict something, or evoke a certain response. I spent most of my time fighting the urge to paint some thing. Instead, I had to let go of my own limitations and simply paint.
I struggle to do the same thing with God sometimes. I try and put a certain plan, or order to who God is, and how He works, when I really should be stepping back and simply enjoying His presence in my life. I try and use Him to evoke a certain response at a certain time, when I would benefit so much more from enjoying the process that He uses to shape us.
May our world be a little less defined, and our God be so much more than a thing.
One love, One heart.