a voice crying out in the postmodern wilderness

Hold Back and Make Something

Hold Back and Make Something

Write hard and clear about what hurts. – Ernest Hemingway

I am convinced that a lot of the foolishness in social media could really become art. It is common to react hastily and express ourselves in immature ways on social media. I don't think anyone would argue with that.

Our angst is real. But the way which we express it must be thoughtful. It is not helpful to blast malformed thoughts into the stratosphere without giving them time to form clearly in our minds. This is just verbal diarrhea.

But what is helpful is art. What is helpful is when Bob Dylan turns frustration into a song, when Picasso turns his anguish into a painting, or when Hemingway turns his experience with war into a timeless novel. These folks used art as an outlet to express themselves. As they did so, they highlighted truthful beauty in the world.

Social media, if we're not careful, can thwart this process. It is not always that way, of course. Some people use social media in productive and helpful ways. But this new world of constant self expression has robbed us of the opportunity to express ourselves in more beautiful means. In ways that might be useful to others. So many people either express themselves too much or not at all. Neither is healthy.

Isaiah 60:7 says:

All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will beautify my beautiful house.

I will beautify my beautiful house. I love that line. We might have the honor to beautify God's kingdom by showing the world some of his beauty. We have the opportunity to share a gift as people made in God's image. Thus, art is valuable. It is helpful for you to create something creative. It is helpful for you to share your joys and sorrows through creative means with the world.

If it sounds terrifying, that's because it is.

But our fears are not well-founded. Our fears or not rooted in reality, but rather are rooted in our insecurities and our lack of identity. If we put our identity in the perception of other people we will have a schizophrenic self image and broken hearts. But if we place our identity in the capable and loving hands of the Lord, we can move from this point of security to create something meaningful. And regardless of what that something looks like, if it is meant to glorify God in an honest expression of ourselves or the world around us it will be valuable to others. It will help them see.

If we would simply hold back for a moment and make something we would bless the people around us. If we were to hold back and let our thoughts ruminate, we might share them in ways that change someone's life. The human soul is infinitely valuable and infinitely deep. To mine the depths of it in hopes of pointing others towards brighter places is a worthwhile endeavor.

So maybe – just maybe – the next time you are tempted to have an outburst of any kind, hold it in and go make something beautiful.

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