When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist . . .When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens.
–Madeleine L’Engle, Walking On Water
On September 9, 2019 I completed a mixed media canvas inspired by worship. I collected a variety of photos of my art, writings, scriptures about worship, and dance pieces. I printed them on paper, adhered them to canvas and then splattered paint over the pictures. To tie it together I sealed metal letters on top spelling out the word WORSHIP.
I hung the piece in my kitchen to the left of the sink to cover up an eyesore-wall that’s awaiting new cabinets. The canvas had been hanging in my kitchen two whole days when I’m standing there doing dishes, look over my shoulder to admire my masterpiece 😊 and to my horror realize I had sealed the letters on the wrong way—the pictures were upside down! In my defense I had put some filters on the photos so they wouldn’t be super vivid. Still, in that moment my heart sank thinking it had been ruined.
Art Speaks When We Listen To The Work
But before I spiraled into a tizzy over my error, I heard God speak to me within my spirit. I’m standing there with sudsy dish gloves staring at it and hear, worship will be turned upside down. It will be turned on its head.
I knew it was God because I immediately felt His peace wash over me. It was kind of funny because as soon as I heard it, I was like, OK, God. If You say so and went right back to doing the dishes. Not typically the posture I take when things don’t turn out the way I envision. Especially when I’ve worked diligently a few months to complete something.
When I was done with the dishes, I took the painting down and wrote the word I heard on the back of the canvas so that I wouldn’t forget it. A couple weeks later, I shared my experience with some friends and we laughed about it, and I admitted to them that I had no idea what God meant by turning worship upside down. But somehow, I felt excited and expectant. Could He be hinting that His Spirit was about to fall on our worship like we’ve never experienced before? If that’s true—sign me up! But as I pondered, I still wasn’t fully clear. When God speaks, He only reveals part of the whole picture. So, all I knew was He said it, I had peace, and I would have to wait and see.
Role Ready Positioned to Listen
Full disclosure, at the beginning of 2020 I had completely forgotten the word I received about worship (the one I had written down on the back of the canvas so that I wouldn’t forget). I guess I was distracted because my year started off pretty stinky. We had to cancel our New Year’s plans because Chap (my husband) got sick. Then, about a week later I started feeling not myself and situations in my life felt very chaotic. Many things seemed to be going faster than I could wrap my head around. Let’s just say I didn’t feel role ready for the new season, yet I didn’t really know what I was supposed to be ready for. My hopes had been high for a blessed 2020, but in January I had an uneasiness in my spirit that I couldn’t shake.
Long story short, in February I decided to take a pause from all activities outside of work. I had a deep sense that God wanted to realign me, to go deeper in my trust for Him, and to help me understand, more fully, the humility of Jesus—and what that was supposed to look like in my current circumstances. As I allowed God to pinpoint the places in my heart that were not bearing healthy fruit, I was able to release control over the things that had been causing fear and weighing me down.
During that time of intimacy and repentance, I had no idea that God was actually preparing me for the shaking that was lurking in the shadows. He’d been strengthening me for the coming battle, Covid19. He wanted me to have the right mindset for what was ahead so that I could weather the storm. While fear gripped many, my month of refueling had brought an unusual sense of calm. God had positioned me so that I could be a vessel of His peace. And rather than worrying, I was clothed in His presence and role ready to encourage others. My time with the Lord had brought clarity to know my part in the big picture and where I was to focus my energy in the coming weeks.
Divine Turnaround Word for Worship
By March, the world as we knew it had turned upside down. A global quarantine was ordered and for the first time in history, Christians around the planet were (and as I write this still are) gathering to worship on the airwaves. Worship has literally been turned upside down! It seems like every newscaster has used the words upside down to describe the Covid crisis. And then, suddenly in April, it dawned on me—my painting!
Worship will be turned upside down. It will be turned on its head.
Please don’t misunderstand. In no way do I believe God sent Covid19. It is the enemy, the devil, who comes to rob, kill, and destroy. However, I do believe God is using this time to release His glory in and through His people to accomplish His will upon the earth—the harvest of many souls. What the enemy planned for evil, God is overturning for the good of His creation. God is always willing to bestow beauty for ashes when we humbly set our hearts on Him. I believe God’s people, uniting around the world offering their worship in spirit and truth, is literally turning the devil on his head.
Are You Role Ready Positioned to Listen?
The stage is set for Divine Turnaround. The greatest awakening the world has ever seen is about to be released. Jesus is the star and we are the co-stars. As co-creators, we all have a part to play in His miraculous production. We all have unique gifts to share for the good of God’s Kingdom. But we must be positioned and prepared before the curtain goes up. With repentant hearts, we must let go of fear and be clothed in His presence. Don’t miss your call!
Creative Arts Worship Video
Here’s a short video of my painting process from September 2019. I mixed in some dance clips that were taken during the May 2020 quarantine.
John 4:23-24, 1 Corinthians 13:9, Proverbs 25:2, 1 Peter 2:9, Isaiah 61:10, Matthew 24:44, John 10:10, Genesis 50:20, Psalm 7:15, Psalm 16, 2 Chronicles 7:14, 1 Corinthians 2:7–14, Colossians 1:27, Philippians 4:6-8