My friend Merri (great name, right?) sent me this captioned photo the other day. It got me giggling… smiling… and then thinking…
The ladies in the front row caught my eyes first—their skirts a-billowing and laughter erupting! They are caught by surprise by the rushing wind, giving them a joyful thrill. One lady has ahold of her hat and if you look closely, the other has hers tucked between her knees. And, oh my! There might be a girdle or two showing. But they are happy, oh so happy!
Of course, the caption next drew my eyes to the ladies in the third row. I may not have noticed them otherwise. Their skirts are behaving themselves. No laughter to be found. In fact, not even a hint of a smile. Barely tolerating the excitement around them, every hair, every hat, is perfectly in place. And they are bored, oh so bored.
And finally I took note of the ladies in the second row. They are also caught up in the excitement of the front row. They are not just passive observers, but fully engaged in the joy and laughter spilling over from the seats in front of them. The front row thrill is catching!!!
All of it got me thinking about life and the ways of God’s Spirit, especially in terms of artists and creatives. I think we often sit in the third row. We worry about appearances and live our lives confined by the rules and expectations of others: “What would people think of me if I dance in church?” We procrastinate on projects, making up excuses: “With my ‘real’ job and kids and …, I just can’t find the time to finish that painting.” We let God-given dreams fall by the wayside: “I’d really like to record a few songs, but I don’t know…” and on and on it goes. Life in the third row.
But life in the front row? What would that look like?
I think it’d look like the ladies in the front row. An unexpected rush of God’s Spirit would rise from beneath us sending our dreams billowing all around. Our mouths would erupt with unexplained laughter, spreading joy to others, as we danced and sang and made God’s praise glorious through our art and creativity! We’d hold onto our hats as our hearts raced with excitement and joy—on the ride of a lifetime!
Jesus said: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (Jn 3:8) That’s how it is with the things of the Spirit. The Wind of His Spirit blows wherever it wishes—it is not determined by man’s preferences or choices or plans. If you listen, you can hear it, but try to determine its path and you will be caught up in distraction and making plans that are not in line with God’s will for your life. As artists and creatives it is so important that we live lives born of His Spirit, to be connected to what He’s doing and where he’s going. With the Spirit of God, there is FREEDOM (2 Cor 3:17) but that freedom is lived in Christ and Christ alone. Be careful not to be lulled, lured or seduced away from the perfect freedom Christ has for you—you might get stuck in the third row, and, well, frankly it looks really boring back there!
The Lord makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers,
flames of fire his servants. (Ps 104:3-4)
God’s roller coaster ride of heaven.
That’s the ride I want to be on…. and I’m going for the front row!! YOLO!
Jody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift–Unleashing the Artist in You: Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within. You can purchase a copy of her book at: Wipf & Stock Publishers; Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is also available in Kindle Format.