Letters to a Kingdom Artist

Excellence, Perfectionism and Parameters of Grace

By April 3, 2020 No Comments

Here’s my worship, take joy in it.
Make it Your dwelling place; I wanna put a smile on Your face.
I present my heart to You; I present my life to You.

Smile by Tasha Cobbs Leonard

 

As Kingdom artists, the approach we take to life, to our work and to our art matters. This is our worship and it is translucent. From that which we create comes back a reflection of ourselves—our values, our commitment and hard work but what we also want is for it to show off our Creator — the standards He holds and has instilled into us. We want to represent His Kingdom well.

It’s a relief to know that we are already equipped for this. Embedded deep into the DNA of His created ones — His children — is the capacity to be like Him. It looks like process; our best efforts operating within parameters of grace. We are learning, gradually, His ways, and how to occupy space and time as image-bearers of the King. We are becoming partners that He can trust with the craft of the Kingdom, and Beloved, it’s a booming family business. 

Clear sight of who He is helps us see who we should be. I marvel at the One who can summon worlds from nothing and with satisfaction and confidence simply acknowledge it as ‘good’. It is in His nature to do things well, never halfway. He always gives His best. He exceeds what is expected. He goes the extra mile beyond what is required. It is His pleasure to do so and He asks nothing less of us as apprentices. Many of us do take this approach to occupation and artistic endeavours. We regard it as personal excellence to mirror His method, and do our best to apply it consistently. 

Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men. –  Proverbs 22:29 (NKJV)

Sadly, excellence and perfectionism are often (mis)used interchangeably; mistaken for each other like identical twins. But even doppelgangers have defining characteristics beneath the surface — the DNA of their makeup reveals who they truly are. 

Perfectionism by definition is rigid and unrealistic. Excellence allows for perfection but perfectionism demands it. 

 

“The enemy of your peace is your insistence on perfection.” –  Steven Furtick

 

We realise in this, that our God is not a perfectionist. His expectation of us is not flawlessness, but yieldedness. So, why would we put more pressure on ourselves than the God of the universe does? 

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:13-14

The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. We are called to His purpose, created in His image, yet that reality is still working itself out within us to maturity. In exercising discipline, aiming to be like Him, giving our utmost best fueled by desire and not demand, we are attaining to the measure of the fullness of Christ. 

Is He pleased with the work that we’re doing and the attitude with which we approach it? Are we allowing ourselves room for growth while giving our all at every opportunity? In this is excellence and peace. It’s a better measure of the worth of our work than perfectionism can ever provide.

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About the Writer: Tao Howard is a Barbadian creator, communicator and curator using whatever gifts she has to serve others. She works closely with Kingdom Arts heading the Graphic Design team, and lending her voice to KA Music. Now based in Florida, she and her husband, Dwayne, co-direct Awake the Flame Ministries and Kainos Creative Studios while raising three young kingdom artists. You can read more of Tao’s writing on her blog, instagram page, or by signing up for her monthly email newsletter.

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