Written by Craig Denison
To live the Christian life the way God intended is to learn the Art of Seeking God. I call it an art for lots of reasons. One, it’s wholly imperfect, but oftentimes it’s the imperfections that make it beautiful. Two, it’s a crossroads between that which is tangible (or “earthy” as I call it) and that which transcends paint, sound wave, lyric or clay into something more– something divine. Three, seeking God never stays the same just as true art isn’t just a copy of something done before. Rather it’s God and man, the supernatural and natural colliding in a brilliant display of restored relationship as natural as breathing and as supernatural as eternity.
As much as I’d like to say I’m an artist of some sort, I don’t really feel that good at it. Something in me always wants things to be perfect. I’m not ok with the mess, failure and uncertainty of art. I like all my ducks in a row. I like knowing something will come of what I am doing that will be great. You don’t get that with art. You don’t get perfect. You don’t always make things that are great.
And while it seems easier to give up on art and go for that which is known– that which is clean and certain, I feel the Lord consistently filling me with a longing to head out into the great unknown. I look at a blank piece of paper and I long to turn it into something more. I look at my guitar and wonder what songs it might contain. I look at my Bible and journal and wonder what God might speak to me today in all the uncertainty and faith of relationship with him. And when I say yes to this playful God that can’t be stuffed neatly into my clean, comfortable boxes, I discover a Father who is foundationally different than I thought he was. I discover a God who actually likes things that are messy.
Rather than forming us from something beautiful, God made us from dirt (Genesis 2:7). Rather than making us from something of value he took that which was of no real worth and turned it into us. I think I would have rather been made from gold or something. I think I would have rather been made from a tree, or a stone– something manly. But even though we were formed from dirt, God still saw everything he had made, us included, and called it “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
This causes me to wonder. Maybe God made us from dirt because his heart is to take that which has no inherent value and turn it into the crown of his creation. Maybe he didn’t make us from gold, trees or stone so that we wouldn’t look for value in ourselves as the created, but in our loving, grace-filled Creator.
Maybe seeking God looks less like a well-maintained, perfectly oiled machine and more like art. Maybe it isn’t about me coming to God with my act together but just simply coming. Maybe God loves me with all my imperfections. Maybe he longs to meet with me just as I am. Maybe he cares more about what goes on in arts and crafts time than what actually gets hung up on the fridge.
It seems like if I want to get to know this Creator of mine I need to seek him how he desires to be found. It seems like I need to run, heart-first, imperfections included to the arms of a loving Father who’d rather me bring my mess with me than try and achieve perfection before letting him love me. After all, you can’t wash dirt off of dirt. And it only seems to get worse if you try.
May my life not be about that which the world values but that which satisfies the heart of this Father who loves me as I am. May I see seeking God as an art not to be mastered but to be enjoyed. May my life be a song that’s authentic, a true self-portrait, a photograph unedited. And may God be glorified somehow in all the mess that I am.
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” –Psalm 103:13-14