Let’s Celebrate the song of ourselves into the coming seasons, as David did in Psalm 139!
The whole person–heart, mind, and imagination-is meant to house God. For those who highlight one of these aspects, that area must even more regularly be brought to the Cross. For teachers, this would be the mind, for many healers, the heart; for prophetic people, the imagination. These must be placed entirely and repeatedly as a practice on His Altar and be consumed, so that His Pure Life can form itself into these areas of who we are. For a prophetic person, to be able to discern his own sight and feeling and thoughts from God’s is the most basic foundation of representing God to others on earth.
Our voices sound like us. I sound “like” my representation of myself-my voice is like me- because “I” am connected to my symbolic expression of myself. We symbolize ourselves. Our self expressions-how we dress ourselves, how we sound, how we walk and sit down- all flow out from who we are. Our voices represent us! The sound of myself issues from who I am. Even our literal voices are like sonic fingerprints entirely unique and flowing from who we are!
Similarly, my art, and all my creative expressions, come out of who I am, and my relationship with God. My representation of myself flows out from my own core identity and so is one with it. This is something God did in me, and that I want to help others, and the cities to do-to re-integrate their creative and cultural parts into and with their core identities. So that who we are is represented and in continuum with, what we create. I want to see the symbolic, or cultural aspect flowing from each person and city’s core identity.
You can sense when a symbol is truly connected. It is grounded in an unseen core that is unique and special. There is a dynamism connecting the symbolic expression to the core identity. The expression itself is alive and frenetically in life. It is as when you see an artist whose work flows from his or her own true identity-you sense something true in their expression. So should it be with us and our culture. The whole process is modeling how God’s creation expresses His Core Identity (The “I am, therefore” factor). And we, who are made in His Image, should be doing the same. Our symbolic expressions should represent and flow out from who we truly are.
People symbolize themselves through how they dress, where they live, what jobs they choose, types of vehicles they drive (if they drive), virtual representations etc–but no one can escape their own symbolic dimension. For this is an aspect of how God made us–we are in His Image. All our creative expressions are meant to flow from who we truly are. It is all meant to be allowed to express their core identity. So that the whole person is connected as a poem of God.
The symbolic is an aspect of communication. It is a layer and medium for communication. What we are communicating, comes from our core, or from who we really are. Symbolic expressions are a way of holding or containing content which is issuing from our true self. Similarly God’s symbolic expressions are means of carrying messages from His I AM self–His Core identity. If we look at the symbolic as a dimension of communication, it becomes less intimidating. It’s not just about art and being creative; it is an aspect of communication. And one God clearly speaks in, and is part of who we are, in His Image. We as humans are symbolizing creatures. We represent things in symbolic language. And we dialogue with Our Creator using symbolic language. Language itself is a symbol or representation of meaning; as is the whole Bible if you think about it.
People are, by nature of what they are, symbolic. We symbolize ourselves, and our city’s, like a person, symbolize themselves. God wants to heal the connection between core identity and creativity, so that He can symbolize through each person and city what they truly are, and then, by extension, who He is–as we are His Art or expressions on earth meant to reflect back into and reveal His Core Identity! Jesus was “the exact representation of God” (Collosians). He was the uninterrupted art flowing out from who The Father is onto the earth. We are to be like Jesus, as we join His Nature in symbolizing who God is. This is part of our role on earth, especially those who are “in His Name”! This is a dynamic creative process, just as God created the universe as an expression of Himself, so we are to be symbolizing our selves on earth. In doing so, we are cultivating His Image on the earth! That is part of our mandate in this life–to bear the fruit of His Image and cultivate it!
This task is especially important in our time, as God wants to press into us in a deeper incarnation of His Life. He is interested in deep formation right now, and needs His People to yield every area of their lives to His fuller entrance–including our creativity and symbolic life. He desires to express Himself more fully through us–and this is our motivation for allowing Him to integrate and fully inhabit our creativity! We must be freed to allow Him to connect us internally, so that our symbolic aspect can flow freely out from who we truly are. Many of us need to try on and play with this interplay between core identity and expression so that we can “oil the hinges” so to speak. We need to get used to God playing within us, and allowing our expressions to flow outwards in Him. There is so much of His Life in this process. For His Creativity has the aspect of Jesus which is Life–energy, blood passion etc. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Creativity has to do with His Life.
There are many blocks to this process of creative flow out from true identity. Some are self judgements or criticisms by others, on our creativity; invalidated or undervalued creativity; the sense that to create is fleshy or self indulgent; the belief that creativity is a luxury; or the idea that my core identity is not worth expressing. None of these are true. We are as humans meant to symbolize and create expression both of who we are, and what it is to be human. It is ultimately not just about us–God Himself wants to come in and express Himself from who we are! It is for His Purposes and Glory flow that we want to get free and integrated in this area! We are to be representatives of God on earth–or symbols of what He is like (“For don’t you know that we are his poems!” Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10)–ie we are children of God, so like God we should have our creativity flowing from our identity. God Is, so He creates. We also, are, and therefore should be creating.
This is not just about art, you see. It is about God coming into us more deeply and inhabiting His living temple–which we together are! (I Cor 3:16) We are the well lit house in which every room, including our artistic studios are meant to be illuminated. He is The Light, and wants to shine it into every room of the house that we are. Yes, this requires healing and snooping around our interior houses to find which rooms are locked. But we must now! There is no time to have unseen cellars locked up and bared from Christ’s entrance. We need to allow Him into every single room of who we are, and make the whole house shine!
Recently, His Spirit has been pressing on me His Desire to incarnate more fully in anyone who is willing. He wants to occupy and then cultivate the whole self–the whole house. He actually wants to live in the house and look out its windows with us! Jesus is not over there, He is in here, and wants to peer out your inner windows and manifest Himself to others through our gazing together in Him! There is a deeper level of incarnation being made available this season! This is actually the meaning of Christmas–that God came into the house of His Own Creation and dwelt with us. He entered our very physical frame as a human and hung out on earth. He desires to make this more tangible to us-individually and collectively- in this hour. He wants to live in our house. He is looking for an inn to lay His Head in! We are that inn. The unlikely place of the birthing of Our Lord.
This is one of the reasons the prophetic has been restored in the church. It is not just for prophecy itself–which is valuable and needed–but it is, that we may better represent who God is. He is restoring His Own Symbolic nature in His People, so they can better be His representatives, or art, on earth. He wants the world to know who He is, and this is part of our motivation for allowing Him to bring home our creativity and allow it to be connected to who He says that we are, and is causing us to become. God wants to manifest His Son’s Life through us in every area. God is One, and He desperately desires us to become more one or integrated as well. Not just for our pleasure, though, we experience pleasure from being more whole, but so that He can better say to the world who He is!
When His Kingdom comes in us, it includes the symbolic aspect of who He is, and who we are. Our whole selves are being offered a deeper baptism into His Name or Identity. He desires that we go all the way under now. The creative water of His Life is flowing, and it is time for us to drown in it, and be reborn as glorious poems of God.
True identity itself is only revealed by Jesus coming into us. As we see Him, we begin to be shown who we are. That is the transformation of the gaze to The Gazer–face to face; deep to deep exchange that happens when we see Jesus’ Identity! The way to know yourself, is to seek to know Him! As He progressively enters every area of our lives, our true identity begins to shine brighter and brighter. He is a liberator of identity. Even the disciples often forgot or did not see who they were. Jesus would tell them–oh you are a great man, Nathaniel, and Jesus goes on to imply that Nathaniel was also a seer. With Peter, just after he is shown Jesus’ identity, Jesus tells Peter directly who he was, telling him the true nature of his eternal identity. Peter was a solid stoney foundational person. I imagine he would be the one on the bottom of the mosh pit, holding everyone up!
The process of coming into a clear image of ourselves is through the basic steps of: conviction and confession of sin, forgiveness of others and self for the sin, and for not allowing Jesus into that part of yourself before; inviting Jesus in, then learning what the new life is like in that part of your inner house–ie allowing His Spirit to cultivate new life there. Simply put. Realizing you need Jesus to enter another area of yourself. Confessing that you are a sinner in that area and have kept Him out, forgiving yourself for doing this in His Power of forgiveness, then others for whatever wounds they inflicted which made you not want to enter this inner room. Then allowing Him in to clean the room and repaint it in the new creation. He begins to cleanse the windows of our perception of ourselves, and put our true eternal self in true focus. He will then start to celebrate this newly renovated or converted part of yourself as His Own, and showoff the room to others.That’s the basic process of claiming more of yourself in Christ.
Then there are heavenly glimpses of our eternal selves. He will show us aspects of who we really are in dreams, visions and open prayer spaces. Most people when praying, don’t think to look at themselves. When we are truly lifted up and in prayer vision space, we want to see so much of what is there, and somehow it seems selfish to turn and look at what we are “by and in His Spirit”. But this is not a selfish act, if He draws us to gaze through His Eyes at ourselves, it is to remember God’s Perception of who we are, and to celebrate His creative creation! David does this in Psalm 139, and it is very important to see yourself as as amazing as those you are trying to help and pray for. For we are His Poems, and we should radiate and live out our lives as poems. We are meant to attract people to Him! If we have not seen the shape of glory in ourselves, we will not celebrate His shining out through us, and attract others to Himself through our lives.
Paul appears to have had one of these heavenly glimpses of his own identity moments, which he spoke of in the third person. “I know a man who..”
I have had several of these glimpses of my eternal identity. In one, I was taken in the Spirit, to a rolling meadow much like the western part of Ireland, but the water, stones and earth were alive radiant, and teeming with energy. I was running very fast, and jumping and carrying messages from God who was at the origin of the longest river I had ever seen. I was literally ecstatically delivering these messages to others from Him. I could feel His joy tangibly with each step and leap! There were animals also in my part of heaven, and the streams all lead to Jesus Himself. The freedom there, just to be myself, was indescribable. In another, I was with The Father, on his lap, and he would give me these messages on stones and paper, and then i would run, fly, race and deliver them to people in the valley on earth. His pleasure was in watching me run with these messages and in how I delivered them. He took specific joy to see how I would get His words to people and places.
Like an earthly father watching in sheer delight to see how their child would run with what he had given them. I knew after that vision, that I carry messages, for the Father’s delight, not because I just want to be special or timely, but for My Father’s pleasure. That is why prophetic actions have always been fun for me. People have said to me before, you have so much fun carrying the prophetic, when usually it is so serious for others. I think this is why it is fun for me. I know that I am bringing My Father joy in carrying my little messages to others, and bringing whatever is in them; and in delivering them in His Orientation–i like giving the words in His Tone and feeling sense, not just the words of the message, but the heart of the One I am delivering them for! That’s my pleasure in life. I really enjoy making Him happy, and that makes me happy! That’s why I love prophetic activity. I also learn so much about the One I am delivering things for, as I do it! That is a huge part of my own spirituality.
I have several other visions of my own identity as well. I think I am much taller in the Spirit than I am on earth, based on a vision. And intensely colorful and energetic. One friend saw me in the Spirit, and said, “You wear color for others, but are also made of color.” There is an outer appearance, and an inner material which are analogous. This seems true to me, as we see that Jesus in His resurrected form was still recognizable, though much more radiant. And we are told that when He returns, people will still see His scars and others marks of his human identity! My point here, is we can in vision and prayer get true glimpses of our eternal identity, and live on earth accordingly.
Much of my own art making is to stay in creative “shape” so I can better present and carry the messages that God wants to speak through me. I want to be able to turn on a dime and offer the words in His exact orientation towards that person, place or thing. I call this prophetic orientation. Like Jeremiah, who at times would teach in the temple, other times, do symbolic actions, and still other times write down the words of God. I want to have the right medium for the right words. I like to be malleable in and for His Spirit to speak in the exact intonations of The Father. That is one of my passions.
Art is like the wrapping of the gift for me. Sometimes i just make art for fun without one of His gifts inside, and that is good also, as I am creative; but my highest pleasure is when i am wrapping one of God’s gifts in art to offer to others. So, when “ministering a word” ask the Father the tone He wants the message delivered in-how He wants to wrap it–what color, what type of texture or ribbon etc. Seek out a little of where the other person is at spiritually also. Then ministering becomes another way of getting to know The Father and His Ways, as you start to see why He would give to this person in this particular way considering exactly where they are at on their journey with Him. Why would He deliver this word to this person in this style or manner? What does that say about who He is? These are vital questions, if want to minister as a way of knowing who God is! That is how ministry becomes our spirituality! All ministry is a means to knowing and loving God more! We are not victims of the task of ministering–it is our medium through which we come to know God’s Ways! Ministering a “word”, for instance, should be another part of getting to know and love Our God. Not something we do “for” Him, but as a means to get to know Him, and be more “in Him”!
Returning to identity, in many ways, we can see others and our cities to the degree we can see ourselves. If we do not know who we are, it is much harder to accurately know who another is. It is also hard to represent Christ, if we do not know who He says we are. Since, formation within us seems to be God’s priority even above what we do, i think this question of knowing our true identities precedes even our ministries and outreaches to our neighborhoods, cities and nations. The great commission requires us to know first who we are. If we do not know the most general facts- that we are children of God and brothers of Jesus- how can we guide others to at least that tier of true identity? If we truly are baptized into His Name, our own names should become much more clear over time.
I had a dream I was a star on a stage. From the audience’s perspective I was a celebrity and performer. In the dream I was looking up at God, and He had put this raiment or garment of fame and color on me, to attract people to himself. I was aware in this dream, that the coat was only an outer representation of an inner reality. How God saw me was much brighter than how the audience did. I was praying interceding for the audience in this dream. I was being the artist as priest, and was crying and screaming actually to The Father on their behalf. I did not need to applause or praise of the audience and could barely hear them, as I was pleading with The Father for His Mercy to tangibly enter my own life and usher into that space.
I had a similar dream once about Bono. The people saw him as rock star, but i could see his bruises and hear his crying for them in the dream. It was the image of a priest-who looked outwardly well dressed and in priestly garb, but inwardly was feeling the Heart of God and interceding. I do believe it is possible to be given much fame and still remain dead and living before The Father. I see this in most of the lives of the prophets who were given a large audience, but lived unto God. I also see this in the life of David, who lived as a very famous man, and stayed transparent and available to God. Many artist and ministers, i think, get caught up in the perceptions or need for approval of others. But I believe, we can, in Christ, be given large platforms of attention and stay in Him. I have seen this in my own earthly father’s life as well.
This dream reveals the priestly aspect of my own way of knowing God. The message delivering aspect of myself, reveals the prophetic. Both require self knowledge and for the need of man’s approval to be clearly and repeatedly entirely placed on the altar. These are necessary ongoing deaths to fulfill my own calling in life. If we are to become kings and queens-coheirs with Christ, we must truly die to the need to be seen as impressive by the world–even if God makes you look impressive for a season.
Well that’s me, but what about you. I pray that He start to offer you even more glimpses of the contours and nuances of your eternal self so that you can live out your short time on earth a little more analogously to your eternal life. For His Kingdom is already coming and here with us. Our spiritual biographies matter to God. He desires to tell the story of Himself through us-tp allow us to become His portents and symbols-His living poetry! Why not live in His Pronunciation of ourselves now?! This is Your Poetry reading God, come read us out loud in the pleasure of Your own Voice!