Reach OUt!

We'd love to hear from you. Tell us how we can partner with you in creative ministry!

           

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

wholeheARTed: A Summer Guest Blog Series

Blog (content)

Art, Faith, and Honest Connection

wholeheARTed: A Summer Guest Blog Series

Lisle Gwynn Garrity

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
—Deut. 6:5

“We are born makers, and creativity is the ultimate act of integration— it is how we fold our experiences into our being.”
—Brene Brown, Rising Strong: the Reckoning, the Rumble, the Revolution

A Sanctified Art began with conversations around wholeheartedness. How could we as creatives offer a wholehearted approach to faith, and worship, and church? What would it look like to connect our hearts with our hands—to fully integrate art with our vocation and service to the world? How might we harness our creatives gifts to inspire others in living and loving wholeheARTedly?

This summer we're widening our circle to feature the voices of those who also find themselves blending creativity with their faith in a variety of ways and contexts. We hope to curate a months-long conversation around creative identity, fear, self-doubt, and process—inviting us all to reflect on how creativity leads us into living a wholeheARTed life.

To kick-off the conversation, we thought we would take a stab at our questions for the series. We hope you'll check back all summer long to read reflections from our courageous and talented guests.

When did you first consider yourself an artist or creative person?

"I've spent most of my life trying to live up to the title of artist. I didn't claim this for myself until I let go of the many unnecessary and false qualifications society and I, consequently, had set as barriers for living into that identity. In a sort of daily practice of releasing this burden, I found that we are all inherently artists in our own right, made in the image of our Creator. So let me introduce myself. Hi, my name is Lauren. I am an artist and so are you."
—Lauren Wright Pittman

"While I do believe everyone is an artist, I prefer to use the term 'creativist' to describe myself, which is an identity I just recently started growing into. Originally, I didn't think I had a right to use that term. However, now I see everyone has a right to use that term. I hope and pray that more people will see and claim that part of their identity as well—those creative strands—because it changes the way you give back. It changes the way you even perceive giving back."
—Sarah Are

"My mom always told me I was an artist. I believed her. I cannot remember a time that I was not an artist. It is the fabric of who I am."
—Hannah Garrity

"As a preschooler, I'd stage elaborate craft shows (featuring painted rocks and yarn dolls) in my backyard. In first grade, my teachers paid me in Lisa Frank notebooks and gummy worms to paint Georgia O'Keefe-inspired flower paintings. In high school, I became enamored with the French impressionists and completed an AP portfolio of works in oil, and in college I became the non-major who always found my way to the studio. My life has been knit together with creative pursuits, and yet, I always considered my art simply an accessory of my life, secondary to more 'serious' endeavors. It wasn't until I went to seminary that I discovered my vocation and identity are utterly incomplete without my artist self. Now I spend my life helping others to not only 'do' art, but to help them embrace their creativity as part of their own unique identity and gift to the world."
—Lisle Gwynn Garrity

How do you push past fear and self-doubt when they emerge during the creative process?

"To be completely honest, fear and self-doubt are constant companions of mine in the midst of and beyond the creative process. I've had to learn to change my perspective and reframe the relationship. Fear and self-doubt accompany me, but they do not control me. Fear and self-doubt are with me but they don't have an ultimate say in the way I move."
—Lauren Wright Pittman

"I like to think of fear as the step cousin of creativity. Though they may seem to be opposing forces, fear and creativity can have the same beneficial effects on us: they inspire new directions, encourage us to take risks, and force us to pay attention to things we may otherwise miss. So when fear shows up during my creative process (as my ever-faithful companion), instead of letting it paralyze me, I try to harness it for good, allowing it to lead me to something new and undiscovered. Fear will smother us if we let it. Or, if we stare it in the face and allow it to shape us anew, it has the power to keep us alive."
—Lisle Gwynn Garrity

"I take breaks. For me, creativity comes in waves. It doesn't arrive on a schedule. So, if a piece isn't moving, I step back from the work, go back to the text, sketches, notes, or apply relaxed attention to it. Once the artist's block has dissipated, I am able to find a new path to a solution."
—Hannah Garrity

"Anything that involves creativity is drenched in vulnerability. It is scary, and I doubt I will ever get past that! For me, the best thing I know to do is affirm others when I believe they are living into their call, listen for the Spirit affirming me in mine, and try not to be afraid to try something new—whether that means letting something go, opening a door, or taking a leap. The Spirit moves in mysterious ways, and She's not good at sitting still, so I know that when I invite her in, things might get colorful. She might reveal all of my bruises, or She might paint me in gold. Either way, I want to be all in."
—Sarah Are

How is creativity connected to your faith?

"Creativity and faith, for me, feed a never-ending cycle. It starts with moments of incomprehensible love, grief, or hope—moments that cause my heart to swell. And when my heart swells, my faith swells—asking questions, providing comfort, filling holes and making new ones. And in those moments, creativity is the only thing that makes sense. I have to write, sing, play music, move. It's a natural reaction—a need, really. For, when I am creative, I feel alive with all of my being, and when I feel alive, I know deep in my bones that I am made in the image of God and from the bones of my neighbor. And when I remember that I am made in the image of God, my heart swells again, and the cycle starts all over."
—Sarah Are

"I think creativity steers us away from a faith defined by doctrine and rigid rituals. Creativity demands more from us—it forces us to question, doubt, explore, persevere, imagine, struggle. It is restless and constantly stirs our hearts to nurture the inbreaking of something unknown. I cannot comprehend faith without the practice of creativity, for what is faith but hope in things not yet seen, not yet breathed into being?"
—Lisle Gwynn Garrity

"Creativity is the life breath of my faith. It is within the creative process that I tap into the essence of who I am and reflect the imaginative, risk-taking, impassioned, paint-stained hands of my Creator."
—Lauren Wright Pittman

"Creativity connects me to God. My creative moments are sacred space in my day."
—Hannah Garrity

How does art/creativity lead you to wholeness?

"For most of my life I did not self identify as a creative person. I wasn't actively suppressing that title out of fear or insecurity, I just did not realize I could claim that for myself. Over time, however, I found that I kept picking up art as a processing tool and as something that brought me joy. When I began to claim my identity as a creative person, I opened the door to so much joy in my life—joy in collaboration with others, peace found through the creative process, growth in my sense of self, and joy in using parts of my heart that I believe God embedded within me. Just like I need laughter and community to be whole, I need creativity, and I am so grateful I am not alone in that."
—Sarah Are

"I am able to connect with God in the act of creating. Trying to express a love for God visually is a visceral experience. The process of making each piece of art allows me to deeply connect with the gaps in my faith, my questions for God, and the strength of my dedication to giving my gifts to glorify God. Continually exploring my relationship with God in quest of a more perfect relationship is an experience that fills me with a sense of wholeness."
—Hannah Garrity

"I cannot even begin to express with words the many thoughts, emotions, wanderings, doubts, joys, desires and hopes swirling inside of me. For a long time I tried to keep this swirling bottled up inside because I could never adequately find the words. Words failed me time and time again. However, my sketchbook teemed with drawings and images that flashed with truth, speaking clearly about that inner churning and imaging glimmers of my true self. The creative process helps me tap into those hazy rumblings and release them out into the world. My voice is incomplete without a paint brush, coloring pencils, or my graphic design applications. These tools, a present mind, an open heart, a willing body, and a discerning spirit help me in unleashing these bottled up pieces of who I am, allowing me to more fully live into the person God created me to be."
—Lauren Wright Pittman

"When I was 15, I thought I had my life all mapped out. I was convinced I was destined to a vocation in sports medicine as a physical trainer. When the first step in this path was cut short (the prerequisite class was full), I found myself filling my spring semester schedule with the only class with an opening: studio art. Art. Ha! It sounded so cute and juvenile. But the moment I stepped foot into that class, my world turned. Paint brushes became steadfast companions, canvases were portals into untapped possibility, paintings by the French Impressionists were lenses retraining my eyes to read movement, color, and light. So much of my journey has led me through seasons of disintegration and integration, of quieting my creativity in pursuit of more 'noble' paths, and then being lured back into myself by a creative longing instilled in me before birth. Creativity always leads me back home—to God, to my purpose, and to my whole self."
—Lisle Gwynn Garrity

Photos in this post by our crazy talented friends, Sowing Clover Photography and Anna Boardman Photography.

You may also be interested in . . .