'I'd love to show them that art matters because God matters'

Ian’s story | Beautiful works in progress

“There were times, as an architect, when the combination of my workaholic tendencies and worrying about big projects nearly crushed me. I was buried in it.”

“We occasionally had contractual disputes over a project … and I knew that I was being driven by fear – fear that I wasn’t doing a good enough job, or fear that we could be sued. In that context, I remember reading Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

“I’d read it before (and I love Ephesians) but I hadn’t thought about the passage emotionally or artistically. At the time, someone pointed out to me that the Greek word for ‘workmanship’ is poiema – it’s the basis of poetry, or a work of art. It’s something created with great beauty. God is shaping us, as individuals (and as the people of God), into the works of art that he wants us to be. To a visual artist, of course, this is a beautiful image.

“We are works in progress, being shaped by God, into the likeness of Jesus. It helped me, in the office context, to take a step backwards and to say, ‘Lord, help me to be your handiwork’, rather than thinking that I had to perform or be good enough. It’s also helped me in the years since then.

“Ten years later, I made the decision to go back to university and to complete my Master of Fine Arts. To some people it probably seemed like a surprising decision! But now I practise art (both drawing and painting) and I love to connect with other creatives in the arts community. They know that art matters, and that we’re creative beings with dignity … but I’d love to show them that art matters because God matters. ”

Ian’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.

Bible verse Ephesians 2:10

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