Writing is the art form of my soul, and words are its paintbrush. For me, writing is both a way to reach other people and a way to reach myself. A tool to think critically about the world around me and my place within it. To question, process, discover, and dream.
Writing allows my soul to breathe. To express itself. To have a voice. Writing allows me to know both who I am and the discrepancy between that person and the one I hope to be. I write, because I have to. I write…as a way of life.
Art is a mechanism for praise. There is power in praise. To shake the heavens and move the earth. God responds to the praise of His name and His goodness by His people. He moves. He acts. He comes. He invades.
And people respond to praise, too. There’s so much talk of the fear and power of God in ways that judge, reject, criticize, scare or push people away from Him. People respond to positivity, not negativity. Praise glorifies God, drawing attention to His goodness and faithfulness. The ways He has shown up in our lives and moved on our behalf. The life He has breathed on us. The grace He has gifted us. The redemptive acts that have transformed us. And the incomparable, unconditional love that could only attract others to Him.
Praise glorifies God in a non-threatening, totally inviting, completely contagious, "I’ve-got-to-get-me-some-of-that-goodness" kind of way.
Regardless of this awesome power, God deserves all of our praise and all of the glory in every minute for everything. But I think it’s important to realize what an impact our praising Him can have on the lives of those around us.
It causes us to think about how to offer up our praise. What kinds of offerings are we equipped to present Him with throughout the day? How has He wired us to praise Him? And how has He designed that purposefully to reach and impact others?
For me, I’ve known for a long time that it was my writing. That God designed me to craft and use words as a mechanism for praise. To fill pages and blogs, and someday books, that by highlighting what He has done in my life, offer up thanks and glory to God. Revealing His goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and fiercely relentless love to others. Knocking down walls and misperceptions in their hearts that separate them from their perfect and loving Father. In an authentic, nonthreatening, humorous, humanizing, and relatable way that reaches and resonates with people.
I still believe this with all my heart, and that is why I write. But lately, I’m starting to wrap my brain around another way God has wired me to praise Him and to draw people closer to Him...
Food. Wine. Cooking and baking. Feeding and entertaining. Creating culinary art that speaks to His incomparable beauty and unfailing love for us. Nourishing bellies and spirits by inviting people to the table, as they are. Offering them safety, community, food, rest, and an opportunity to be heard, healed, and fiercely loved.
My passion for food, like any God-given passion, was placed in my heart to help me love God, love people, and do something good for them both.
My tiny kitchen has become the chapel where I come to worship God. It is a place of holiness. As I create new dishes in the kitchen, I offer up smells and tastes and sounds and colors of praise. The rhythm of chopping vegetables is the drum that calls me to worship. The intoxicating smell of onions caramelizing in the pan is the incense rising at the altar. The wine I sip and the crackers I nibble while I cook are the communion I take to remember all He’s done.
The combination of brilliant colors as the dish comes together speaks to God’s beauty. The fact that He even created all of these unique flavors I taste speaks to His goodness. Because there is no use for them other than pleasure. I dance for Him in my kitchen as I cook. To the sizzles and pops coming from the stove. And as I offer up my praise in pots and pans and plates, He shows up. His presence fills that holy kitchen cathedral and His joy permeates my heart as well as the food I’m creating. And hopefully, it then fills those to whom I feed it.
The Creator loves to see His children create. And even more, to use that creation—be it a painting, a book, a photograph, a song, or a tri-layered red velvet cake—as an offering of praise. One that glorifies God and reveals aspects of His character that can only be desired by all.
Your studio is your chapel.
Your desk, the altar.
Your art, your mechanism for praise.
Follow the desires of your heart to find what it looks like for you, because it is undoubtedly different for everyone. But I promise you, you were uniquely wired to create something that glorifies God and gives others a glimpse into His beautiful heart.
That is your praise.
And when you find it and passionately pursue it, the world will never be the same.
Written by Jessie Risman
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