Ordinarily Extraordinary » Faith, Art, Photography.....Life

A Safe Place

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Here I am again. Thinking about the power of our words. Yet this time witnessing the destructive power they can carry.

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18 NASB)

When we criticize the art of others, whether writing, poetry, performing, music or visual art, we take away a safe place for the artist to share. I do not mean critique or helpful insights given in love. There is a time and place for those.

As artists we need a safe place. Not necessarily a place free of critique but free of criticism and demeaning comments. Free of assumptions made without knowledge. When we demean someone because of how they create or how they learn and grow in their art we take away their safe place. We are essentially saying that God created us better than them. That our preferences are right and theirs are wrong. That our art is good and theirs is bad.

We imply that what we create is better than what they create. In some respects it very well could be. But what purpose is there in spewing harsh words? To say someone is just a blogger and not a writer. To say someone is only a painter and not an artist. Just a piano player and not a musician.

One may be gifted with writing fiction, while another excels more in the journalistic writing field. One artist may create wonderful abstracts while another is gifted in portraiture.

For many exploring in their art and sharing their art is also a form of worship. How they seek God. How they hear from God. So are we telling them they are wrong to worship? Wrong to seek God simply because we do not personally like their method or their art?

There is no right or wrong way to learn. There is no right or wrong way to create.

Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. (Galatians 5:26 NLT)

Why are we so threatened by how they write or paint or perform? And why pray tell does it matter the manner in which they learn and grow in their art? Each person learns with a different learning style. Not only is this true in an academic setting, but also in creative endeavors.

When we criticize we may add to their fear that they are not good enough.

When we criticize we hinder their freedom to grow.

When we criticize the way someone learns we take away their safe place to grow in their art.

And when we take away that safe place we also chip away at their hope.

How easy it is to allow discouragement to take over when we hear remarks that tear away at our confidence. We compare ourselves and what we do to others even if subconsciously. Our hope erodes so easily.

Yet there is Someone who dances over us. Who sings over us with joy. Who even before we were formed knew each and every one of our days, our experiences. Words that are meant to tear us down are no surprise to Him.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

So the next time words threaten to crush your spirit remember. Remember there is Someone who takes such delight in you that He sings over you.

Then let the words of His song that He is creating in your life bring quiet to your soul.

  • floyd - October 12, 2011 - 10:38 am

    And He does bring a quiet to our souls doesn’t He? I sometimes refer to how God speaks to me as I write, it is as you said. It is our worship. In it we find His will and heart within ours.

    The business world I come from has left me pretty thick skin. The real surprising thing is the ones who sometimes do the criticizing are the ones you’d least expect. Like wise the ones who we think might be the worst critics are the ones who are the most supportive.

    In the end, if we are doing the will of God, we only have Him to please… Everything else takes care of itself.

    I have to admit, it is nice to be encouraged once in a while. Let me the one to encourage you today. Your writing and your photos are a gift from God. And from a like hearted brother in Christ, your work brings me joy and encouragement.

    Thanks for following your heart.ReplyCancel

  • Mom and Dad - October 12, 2011 - 6:25 pm

    You’re amazing! Stay true to what you know is God’s will for your life.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer@GDWJ - October 12, 2011 - 9:42 pm

    This topic is near and dear to my heart. Thank you for putting words to it. Beautiful message here.ReplyCancel

  • May - October 12, 2011 - 9:54 pm

    Well, God sent me to visit you tonight! That is certain.
    Yesterday I faced such scathing criticism that it cut me to the quick. It had to do with an event I planned with a clear vision of one thing. It was being evaluated and found lacking by a pair of co-workers who were judging it based on a different vision.
    Their comments were hurtful and venomous and I have had trouble moving forward from them.
    What hurt me more was that both knew that I had just gotten back from visiting my mom in the hospital and am grieving the loss I know is coming before too long. Yet they still bombarded me with commentary that was over the top.
    I got online to distract myself from focusing too long on the conversation. And I found your post which soothed my soul. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • […] for an enduring love, words that are always gentle, and a fearsome trust in His goodness: Amy with “A Safe Place” […]ReplyCancel