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Growing Pains

I can remember being in bed when I was a child and feeling an ache in my knees and feet.

My mother walked across the hall from her bedroom when I called her and responded, “It must be growing pains,” when I described what I was feeling, and rubbed my legs.

As artists, this is one thing we can be sure of: we will not suddenly arrive at some new place in our art without growing pains. We’d like to think that pain isn’t necessary for growth, but it most certainly accompanies it in some way, in every growth spurt.

Every true poem written down, every beautiful painting, every note of every hopeful composition comes at a cost.

When we avoid pain, we prevent growth.

This is not to say that we should indulge our dark or weak tendencies and wallow in the depths of despair. Rather that we must, as artists and Christians, open our eyes so that we can see the wounded people around us. And not only see, but to take them up in our arms and carry them for a while. In short, we must learn to love.

Paul’s revered love passage from 1 Corinthians 13 might seem romantic at first glance. It is not. For most of us, it is actually quite painful.

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (verses 4-8a)

Every line is a stark reminder of who Christ is.

We could write the most gorgeous songs or the most profound books. Our hands might shape a pristine sculpture or paint a wild landscape. Hundreds or thousands of people might adore us for our gifts. But if we do not have love – that tedious, labor-intensive, raw-hearted love – then we are nothing, and our art is nothing.

How painful to love, how painful to grow. But pick up your brush and palette, your pen, your guitar, and take heart – because the kingdom comes.

Gileah Taylor

Gileah has been writing songs since she was in single digits. Her favorite corner of the house is the living room where she has a sound system complete with a microphone, a Gibson Dove and an upright piano. Husband Chris and children Clara, Mercie and Timothy make up her nightly audience. Gileah loves to read and think and write and sing. In that order.

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