Artists Change the World

Last week, Penny and I traveled to Long Beach, CA for a convention I had for work. I work for myself, but distribute for a corporation and our CEO is somehow both a billionaire and a nice guy. Not sure how that works, but it meant I got to watch Jewel perform on the last night of the convention. Remember, I went to high school in the late 90's, so this was pretty sweet. Plus, my mom was back at the hotel with sleeping Penny so I got to be fully in the moment. I feel silly getting so worked up about seeing Jewel because she's not currently "a big deal", but I'm only giving you that one apology, because she was amazing. There is just something infinitely beautiful about watching someone do exactly what they should be doing with their life. It's evident not just in their obvious talent, but in how they wield their talent as this weapon of beauty that touches everyone who witnesses it. I know her 90's hits well, but I could barely sing along because she was riffing so much on her own stuff that I was blown away by her obvious musical mastery. I could rant about how untalented many current "musicians" are in comparison today, but that'll just date me even more, so let's just pretend I didn't say anything. 
I think no matter where I was in my journey I would have enjoyed her performance. But in light of everything that's happening in my world right now, it was particularly poignant. Because you see, I have typically minimized the arts as something that's great for really talented, other people to do, but that I am supposed to do something "productive." I'm performance-based and that translates into more tangibly productive activities. Things like the business I was being trained to build at my convention. But lately all the artistic somethings that have welled up in my heart for many, many years are starting to overflow. I've tamped them down. I've belittled them. I've justified my various distractions. I've tried to be practical. I've judged my undeveloped abilities. I've put the spotlight on others and elevated my safer choices (ironically, this includes ministry) as the "right" choices for me. 
In order to discover the hidden artist in me, I have to be willing to take risks, to learn, to create space for vulnerability. These things frighten me. As a black and white thinker, I want to label all my non-artistic activities as "bad" before I can give myself permission to do anything else with my time, my energy and my heart. But the only bad thing about anything I do to deter my own impending artistry is just that: delaying the inevitable. I just might have to release myself to this process, to begin to unpack whatever gift(s) are pressed so tightly to my guarded heart. 
It's such a strange thing to know there is more waiting for you but not knowing what it is. I'm standing on the precipice of something beautiful, intense, sacred. Something that others may witness. But it's up to me to take that risk, to find out who I am fully, what I'm meant for ultimately. I've got a pretty normal life. The normal stuff has never quite been enough for me, but I've always been afraid to ask for more. I didn't want to get greedy. But what is a gift left unopened? It's a waste.