People called to be creative artists, designers, inventors, musicians or storytellers can be the most tormented by life. Born with creative souls and receptors tuned to slight nuances, we see and feel things in a way others do not, which offers a lot of opportunities to be wounded.
We are those who resonate from beauty and truth. We are calmed by the lovely, whether words, pictures, nature or music. It’s how we roll. There’s no point telling us to get our feelings off our sleeves because we can’t. Oh we can build walls to protect ourselves from those who enjoy poking us—those who simply have no notion of being attached to the world through color or song, but we can’t turn off who we are without losing our souls.
We’re like the strange jellyfish that washed upon the beach and is irresistible to the insensitive but curious passerby. The ones fearful of the unknown use a stick to jab about the creature. The braver ones use a finger to nudge the intriguing, shimmering unknown mass. A beached jellyfish gets poked, prodded, stepped on or smashed with rocks. And let’s not even talk about the pain that people with shovels inflict.
What we don’t understand makes us afraid. I know because I respond the same way to the unknown. When that large, speckled, bug-thing in Texas comes charging at me all legs, tail and wings I do not stop to find out if it’s a beneficial bug before I start swatting away. But on certain days I remember I am called to be creative and I do see the unknown as a big playground where I can let my imagination and curiosity run wild. On those days, I check out the bug directories in hopes I can be a better neighbor to the good but odd bugs in my backyard.
The box jellyfish is pretty interesting. It can have up to 24 eyes. Real eyes with eyeballs made up of lenses, retinas and corneas. That’s pretty advanced for the invertebrate family. These eyes are set in pairs around their bells pointing in different directions giving them a 360-degree view. Although this gives them a great ability to detect prey, the main purpose of these eyes is to keep them properly oriented in the water. They are beauty in motion and focussed on being in the right position in their world, which is not on a beach but in the ocean waters. Did you catch that? They do not have this extra sight to focus on their enemies. Creatives are not given extra senses to discern the works of darkness. Our real calling is to find beauty and truth and express it in a million different ways so people who don’t have as many eyes can see God’s wonder and majesty and be drawn to Him.
Jellyfish are composed of 95% water. The stuff of their true home. We are not our best on the beach but created to live in the vast spaces of a wide, deep ocean. Transition to our true jellyfish home begins in our heart not in our job or ministry. When the Lord told me He did not create me to build a business, I got so excited I immediately ran off and tried to figure out how to Do Art. I forgot that He’d also once told me that every time He speaks to me it’s an invitation to come have a conversation to find out more. When I finally wandered back, after a few months of frustration, He began talking to me. But He didn’t mention art. He wanted to talk about forgiving the people in my past who poked and smacked me. He mentioned that blessing them was important to living in my true place. He talked about trusting Him for provision, about moving from a place of faith in His word to a relational trust in Jesus the Word. And eventually, eighteen months later, I began to float upon the waves in my jellyfish place.
Another thing you should know is that jellyfish are dangerous to their enemies. The box jellyfish, my favorite, explodes a most powerful lethal, venom at its enemies. I think we’re dangerous, too and are a very real threat to the dark world. Christ John Otto, in his book An Army Arising: Why Artists are on the Frontline of the Next Move of God, says, “ [enemies of God] are afraid of beauty because beauty will lead us to the One who is beautiful. It is not a stretch to see that artists will strike horror [in them.]” No wonder we experience so much brokenness, not that God plans it that way, but that our enemy lies watching for certain signs that identify children as those jellyfish people who will be his worst nightmare if they find out who they really are, if they ever discover they are God’s wildest dream and come running home to Jesus. We are God’s plan that will threaten evil in the world. A plan of beauty, of rest, of knowing our heavenly Father and expressing His light and life in a most powerful way on the earth.
My word for you today is to stay off the beach and find time to visit with your heavenly Father about your true home in Him. And don’t go poking the unique, different people you can’t understand because they may be wounded jellyfish people just like we are.