When You Look a Gift Horse…
I have a hard time accepting gifts from people. I’ve learned to say thank you over the years, but inside, I still feel weird. Unsettled. Even a little guilty. I didn’t do anything to deserve this gift, so it’s probably an error of sorts that it came to me.
Which leads me to this weekend. I went to a conference, and I had some prayer time in my car before walking in. I asked God what I needed to do, what I needed to know, before stepping into conference world. His response was simple. Receive. All He wanted me to do this weekend was receive.
This might have seemed like simple direction, but I found it super complicated. What did I need to do in order to receive? What was the action step before this receiving would take place? How could I work at receiving?
Clearly, I like to do something. I feel better when I do something. Comfortable. It stokes my pride, and I can keep on feeling good about myself. But receiving… Receiving has nothing to do with my capabilities. I’m just the one standing there, and the giver is the one in action.
I can approach my art like this. I want to do, do, do. I like action and movement and the “feel good” factor that accompanies this busyness. But I’m learning that I am overlooking a critical aspect of the artist’s life when I employ this mindset. Artists have to receive.
Ray Bradbury says it like this, “We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
Receiving. Filling. It can still sound passive to me, but I’m learning it’s anything but. It’s an active decision to still myself in a whirling world. It’s a deliberate rest from doing, striving, working, trying to do better and better. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” God tells me. And this is only found by receiving, and creating out of that gush of gift.
So what do you think of all this receiving talk? How do you reconcile the idea of receiving with the actual production of art? How are the two related?