Lent Devotional: Pride

My proud artist

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10 NLT

I love this picture of my sweet little boy, standing so proud of his artwork. He is four, and he is an artist.

I know he is an artist because if I ask him, “Are you an artist?” He says, in this adorable four-year-old voice “yes, i ‘hink so!” (I know someday he will pronounce the “th” properly, but until then it is so stinking cute.)

I love his hope and confidence. I believe that all of us had a time when we knew we were artists, too. As children, we created things and stood back full of pride for our workmanship. Ask a kindergartner to draw something, and they jump right in. Of course they are proud little artists! (We adults might not actually be able to decipher what the artwork is supposed to be, but we learn to say things like, “I love it! Tell me all about your art.”)

Somewhere along the line, though, all too often our artistic spirit gets thwarted. Maybe it’s when a teacher looked at a drawing of yours and you got a less than stellar grade. Maybe too many people forgot to praise your work, or you noticed that other young artists received more accolades. We let the voices of criticism and self-doubt dampen our spirits.

Pride is a complicated concept. Too much pride is a problem – it keeps us from seeing one another clearly, in blocks us from loving each other well, or keeps us from admitting when we have made mistakes. Too much pride breaks our relationships.

But having not enough pride can be a problem, too. When, for example, we stop doing things we love like art because we feel like we are not good enough, we can miss out on some of life’s greatest joys.

You are an artist – it’s true! You can be proud (in a good way!) that you were made in the creative image of a creative God. To create something is to lean into this creative nature of the God who loves us. It doesn’t have to be “art” in the traditional sense, but I believe that the act of creating something has the capacity to bring healing, hope and empowerment.

When we feel like our circumstances are beyond our control, the act of creating something draws our focus in, brings us rest, connects us to our Creator. During this difficult time for everyone, my prayer for you is that you’ll find a way to express your creativity.

This applies to all areas of your life. When times are hard, you find creative ways to make it through. Together, we are artists, together we will find a creative way to do hard things together.

May you find a reason to smile today. Be proud of who you are and the beautiful way God has created you.

Prayer: Creator God, thank you for the beautiful ways you have made each of us. As we navigate through these uncharted new circumstances, create space in our lives to connect to you. When we are full of criticism and self-doubt, fill us with a childlike faith. We trust in your guidance, we know you remain faithfully by our side, help us to rest in you. Amen.

Reflection:
In what ways are you an artist? Where do you find joy in creation? What is something you’ve created that you are proud of?

Art comes in many forms, but the act of creating something helps us to process what we are going through and to rest in God’s spirit. What can you create today? I encourage you take time to draw, journal, write, sing, build – whatever makes your heart sing. How can art bring you healing?

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