The State of Your Art


How would you describe the state of your art? Is it thriving? Do you know its rhythm? What replenishes your creativity…or depletes it?

Now, how would you describe the state of your heart? Is it thriving? Do you know its rhythm? What replenishes your heart…or depletes it?

Though it is often overlooked, the state of your art and your heart are inextricably connected.

Yet we tend to know far more about our art than our hearts. With laser-like intensity, we pour ourselves into our creativity. We go to conferences to master the craft, count social media likes, even ask others for constructive feedback. But it’s rare to put that same level of focus on our hearts. When was the last time the care of your heart came before your project deadlines or that you asked others about your effect on them?

And I get it. From a productivity standpoint, this doesn’t feel wise or practical. After all, it takes time to create. And most of the time, no one asks about the state of your heart. So how important could it be?

The greatest Creator of all time didn’t think heart care is wasteful or irrelevant. He says: “Above all else, nurture your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23).

Above. All. Else.

This isn’t from a warm and fuzzy daydreamer who never got around to creating anything. These words come from the One who created everything from oceans to oranges to orangutans. And He reminds us that our heart care comes above whatever else we’ve set our hearts on to create.

Ultimately, what you create is simply an outer expression of your inner journey. The inner journey is always one navigated by the heart. And when the internal journey of discovery stops, the creative process withers. That’s why no great art was ever created without great heart. How could it be?

So spend more time – yes, literally more time – being a student of your heart rather than your art. This may feel both counterintuitive and inefficient, yet there is no other way. If you want to infuse your creativity with more life, you have to start with your life. Live more before trying to create more. Your heart – above all else – will determine your creative abilities and limitations.

Pursue your heart with a wasteful extravagance. Listen to it. Ask God to reveal its hopes and to heal its hurts. And rest in the assurance that life will come from that investment.

As your heart awakens, your imagination and creativity will deepen. From your heart will flow the rushing waters of deep life.

That’s why the best barometer of the state of your art is the state of your heart.

© Allen Arnold, 2019

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