I don’t know why that particular night my heart was more susceptible. The pain had lifted weeks prior, and the evening had been lovely. We had shared stories over the table and cups of tea over the living room rug. But in a moment left alone with reminiscent music, the memories of a friend lost, returned. My soul began to sway – at first to a soft thankfulness, then lower down, into a sombre grief. This song, though it was an ‘every day’ sort of listen, triggered emotions I thought had faded. When reality returned to the room, I moved from the depth of my thoughts back to those present before me – friends who were not lost, friends who were very here. I said goodbyes and claimed my seat at the piano. My usual intellectual, analytical mind ceased to activate as my fingers dropped weightily on the keys, sleepily climbing from note to note. Heavy feelings built heavy chords, while tender whispers began to form tender melodies. As the tears were lost to the fabric on my shirt, I allowed the frustrations to flow into words, and I fully felt the loss once again. Verse progressed to chorus, and I journeyed with a friend, one also very here, though unseen by the human eye. And with Him, my frustrations shifted to revelations, which illuminated truth deep inside and drove darkness far away. And within the hour, I had arrived at lightness once again with these very words: ‘I’m not lonely anymore, I’m not hopeless anymore.’ Simple phrases these are, but when backed by belief, they unlock true liberty, utter bliss, and even celebration.
Yaz in her natural habitat.
Why creativity? I could spend thousands of words on an answer you’ve heard many times before – that this God we are looking to for freedom is The Creator, and that we were made in His image as creative ones. But I want to dive a little deeper into our belief at Beth-Biri that breeds the ‘why’ – a reality that is undeniable: We are intensely thirsty for authenticity, and overwhelmingly desperate to be completely seen.
Creativity is about discovering, not imitating.
I’m certainly not the only person who’s listened to a song and just thought, ‘Wow. Classic love song. Nice voice’… skip. We. Don’t. Like. Fake. Now, think of a song that moves you. I’m reminded of Leif Vollebekk, of Matt Corby, of the Lumineers. I think of cracking voices, of poetic words from grieving hearts, of the rule-breaking manipulation of strings and notes, and of stories told in wild arrangements and melodies. These things that we hear are not musical tools – they often even go against them! These things are REAL… and they invite us, as we listen, to experience the very emotions felt by the artist. And why else would we choose to listen? We CRAVE authenticity. If you are an artist of any sort, you have most likely been fed performance by the bucketful, and can recognise it from miles away. Sometimes performance can have the illusion of safety (though it often invites more judgement than our vulnerability does) – but our souls are looking to dive beyond the surface.
So, creative ones, if we are drawn to authenticity when observing, listening or reading, we must seek it within our process also. We do this not to increase our reach or popularity. We do it because this very thing could be our access point to freedom. In the process of creating, of putting lyrics, melodies, images or movements to what the soul or spirit is screaming, there is a vulnerability that is reached. And, furthermore, should we choose to invite Jesus into this process, we invite Him into the most hidden places in our hearts and minds. In giving him access to the space where everything is laid on the table, we are making room for Him to speak truth, to silence lies, sing over us, remind us what we look like and of who He really is. And that, friends, is where freedom is truly found. In being seen, known, and loved.
If we are never vulnerable, we’ll never be seen. If we are never seen, we will never be known. And if we are never known, how can we be truly loved?
Creativity is not freedom, though, should you venture into it courageously, your freedom will be inevitable. As you brave this journey, it is our prayer for you that you would land frequently upon monumental truths and encounters that change your life forever, and that many would experience the breakthrough you have fought for as they witness all you have created.
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