In today’s author snapshot, we learn what it looks like to live like an artist in an excerpt from Emily P. Freeman’s new ebook, A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live. Emily is one of our top 15 authors to watch in 2015 and the author of Graceful (For Young Women): Letting Go of Your Try-Hard Life and Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast Moving World. She is a writer and speaker from North Carolina, where she lives with her husband John and their three children. The following excerpt from A Million Little Ways is used by permission of Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Copyright © 2013.
In his book Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton makes a pretty good argument that the poets of the world understand the beauty of life more freely than do those who are always trying to figure things out.
Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion . . . To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.
It is enough to think about for a long time. I can’t say I fully understand all the implications of what he says here, but it stirs something in me that I can’t easily let go. I consider what living life like a poet might mean.
The girls asked me to come read to their class today.
I pull into the school parking lot, Ivy and Bean tucked into my purse, anxiety pulsing in my chest. I sign in at the computer in the office, think about living art and what it means for a mom frazzled in the lobby. I walk slowly through the hallway, savor the quiet before the third grade eyes find me.
What does it mean to live life like an artist in the midst of this everyday hustle?
The question brings a shift. The word poet comes to mind.
I realize I am clenching my jaw, moving to the next thing like a chess player. I’ll make this move and then this will happen. I am in control of everything.
In this small moment standing outside their classroom, I am compelled to approach these next few moments like they are lines in a poem rather than items on my agenda.
I don’t feel overwhelmed with the responsibility to do this in everything.
Just in this one thing, right now.
I don’t know exactly what it means, but the mystery of the concept draws me in. I stand in this one moment and for the next twenty of them, I have agreed to read to the class. This, right here, is all my life is right now.
Emily, don’t just show up with your body. Show up in your soul. Be fully alive. Let me be fully alive in you.
I do not change the world today. But I decide to show up where I already am. The God of the Universe lives in me on a Friday in their third grade classroom. There is much left undone at home, in the sink, on my laptop, in my heart. I don’t feel ready to live like a poet.
In this, there is no ready. There is only belief.
Show up as a poet once, and chances are, you’ll do it again.
Uncovering the art alive within me and releasing it into my world is what it means to worship God. Showing up in their classroom is worship when I do it as the person I fully am. Living as an artist profoundly affects how I relate in community with others.
This is what it looks like to take small steps toward the mystery. You aren’t moving to figure things out or to catch up to an expectation, but you are moving because you are alive. You have a glimpse of what it might feel like to live life as an artist in the middle of your ordinary day.
You are aware of your desire for a map, but all you sense is a mystery. Instead of a plan, you are simply asked to show up in this day the same way you did the day you were born, with empty hands and an instinct to depend on someone bigger than you.
 G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (Chicago: Moody, 2009), 31-32
You can download A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live for just $9.09! Uncover the creative, personal imprint of God in your life and move into the world with courage with the help of A Million Little Ways.
In today’s author snapshot, we learn what it looks like to live like an artist in an excerpt from Emily P. Freeman’s new ebook, A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live. Emily is one of our top 15 authors to watch in 2015 and the author of Graceful (For Young Women): Letting […]