For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. – Romans 8:14-17
To befriend creatives, pastors can help them see this foundational truth. Once this understanding is in place, we can look at other concepts and strategies that artists can use to help themselves, as well as strategies that pastors, spouses and all fellow believers can use to help artists overcome sinful tendencies and their underlying struggles with envy and feelings of inferiority:
3. The Artistic Temperament Needs:
- To continuously meditate on doctrine of adoption, to counter our underlying sense of shame and worthlessness.
- To realize we don’t have to “be unique” because we are unique in Christ.
- To know that Christ has planned what is truly good for us (Romans 8:28). We are not missing out on anything, regardless of what is happening in the lives of others.
- To embrace the presence of God in the “here and now,” and to cultivate wonder for simple things—even a cup of coffee that is not “the best.”
- To stay grounded by engaging in ordinary disciplines such as fellowship with “non-artists,” service to the poor and picking up litter.
- To understand that on top of the soul-killing, destructive nature of envy, being envious of other artists will ironically hurt your artistry, stifle your creativity and cripple your productivity.
4. How Others Can Befriend Creatives
- Express appreciation for their creativity and their passions, and encourage their creative self-expression.
- At the same time, express appreciation for the person, apart from his or her art.
- Acknowledge obvious feelings and mood swings, even to the point of verbalizing how your friend’s mood affects you.
- Criticize carefully and constructively, knowing that careless criticism will activate the artist’s feelings of shame.
- Provide whatever level of independence you can realistically provide, in your situation.
- Stand your ground rather than being steamrolled by the artist’s moods. Help the artist see other perspectives.
- Don’t offer platitudes or “quick fixes” for their pain—they will feel that you’re being dismissive.
This article on how to pastor and befriend creatives originally appeared here.