Coauthoring with the Divine
Madeleine L’Engle said this, “We are coauthors with God in the writing of our own story.” And this just floored me the other night when I read it. Because, at some level, I don’t like acknowledging how much I can affect my life.
For years, I have taken this verse: “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” and twisted it into permission for automaton living. God, you pull the strings and show this scared puppet where to dance. Let me only react, and let me always react perfectly.
See, I’m terrified of making mistakes. And I thought if I followed God thoroughly enough, I wouldn’t mess things up. I’d escape the pain of wrongness.
But that doesn’t work. At all. Because even on my very best days, I’m a far cry from Jesus–the only one who modeled complete dependency on His Father. Clearly, I will never swing this. So that leaves me… where?
I believe the scripture about God’s purpose prevailing. He is that good and that big. And I believe this one too: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG.
So much of this last verse implies active participation. Coming, recovering, walking, working, learning. Living freely and lightly.
I have not wanted to walk with God in the past. I didn’t want to walk at all. I wanted to curl up in a ball and let Him do all the adventuring for me. It was too risky–and potentially too painful to leave the ball. But oddly it’s the walking that heals. The very thing we fear is what banishes that fear from making home within us.
Being an artist is scary. Because you will make mistakes. You will be wrong sometimes. But God’s grace is big enough for that. I think He prefers our wobbling, fumbling steps alongside Him to our cowering in the corner, too scared to join in the authoring of our lives. And we must join in if we wish to create anything of worth, anything that brushes against Glory.
So what do you think, dear readers? Have you struggled with passive living? How did this affect your art? How did you move past the fear?