Why You Need to Create With Honesty

You are an artist. Really, you are.

You may hate to paint, cringe at the thought of singing and would rather be imprisoned than visit the art museum.

Still, you are an artist. Why? Because you are created in the image of God. And you’re here. And you have work to do.

Art isn’t just about being artistic. It’s not just being involved with “the arts” of film, music, painting, sculpting or dancing.

Art is the act of leading something you care about. It’s not just what you lead. It’s how you lead. It’s about taking a stand. It’s about making a difference. It’s about releasing something into the world that has the potential to change a life. Whether that’s a song or a staff meeting, you are an artist.

The more you see your daily life as a work of art, the more you’ll be free to do your best work. Think about it: Artists don’t just throw masterpieces together. They are hard on themselves. They obsess over tiny details of lighting, white space, frequency, form, feel, tone, equipment and color.

If your life is a work of art, are you paying attention to the details?

The truth is: overnight successes are engineered through years of work.

How to Get Into a Slump

You probably didn’t wake up today thinking, “How can I accelerate my writer’s block?” or “I hope my ideas dry up and I remain in an artistic slump until I die.”

Of course not—but without us knowing, we can easily sabotage our own work and get ourselves into constant slumps by trying to please everyone.

The best artists—real artists—are true to themselves. They create out of a deep sense of belief in what they do. They own a message. They take a stand. Too many artists obsess over what others want to see or hear. And it waters down the experience.

I’ll be honest.

As a consumer of art, I don’t want an artist to cater to my preferences. That limits how much I change. I want to be taught by them. I want to experience something new—new sounds, new perspectives, new passion, new vision. The problem with catering your art to an audience is that it loses its innocence. It goes through too many filters to the point where you are removed. It feels canned, copied.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t consider your audience and create something that serves them. Here’s the irony: The more you create out of who you are, the more it will resonate with people. Because they will feel your struggle, your joy, your God, your pain, your story.

Just this past week my wife and I escaped kid duty to see Steve Jobs. Well, the movie, that is. Sure, Steve had his vices and I probably wouldn’t have wanted to be too close to him. But he was brilliant. When everyone was giving him advice on what people wanted, he was steadfast in his artistic vision. He was true to what he saw, and coined the famous phrase, “Your audience doesn’t know what it wants until you show it to them.”

That’s why I love to see artists innovate themselves. In whatever season they are living in, they develop. And their art develops with their life. That is the best art—art that is lived. Art created from pain, sadness, regret, joy, hope, beauty and life.

The call to create better art is a call to care more. It’s a call to solve problems, influence, create change and show us beauty. Whether you are into “the arts” or not, you are an artist and it’s time you saw your daily life through that lens.

Go and create a masterpiece today.  

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David Santistevan
David is a Worship Pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, PA.