REFLECTIONS: It's Personal

(c) Nicki Black

June 6, 2015: Said in love. Necessary in this timing. With purpose.

My art. My song. My words. It is personal. If it wasn't, then why would I bother at all? If I wasn't personal, anything I do would not be my authentic extension and I wouldn't be doing the will of my Father, as He's asked of me. I could stop right there and know that I’ve said everything I need to say, but I feel I should finish the thought. Am I churning things out like an assembly line? Sure, I guess that has the very real possibility of being a lot easier on the technical and financial side, but on the relational side, it would be a slow death of compromise to my soul. No. I will not. Don't even ask me to do that anymore. I don't create art or music with the goal to please Man, build a brand, satisfy a bottom line or how-to formula, or make a quick buck. I do it because worship defines my life, and calls to the canvas my every flaw and victory, and every aspect of how I choose to live my life literally out loud, or silently out loud through a brushstroke.

I’m not really musing. I’m more like sticking my landing after being in the turbulent air for a while. I’m more like collecting the candy from the piņata of my heart, where the pounding has released a lot of sweetness through the brokenness.

Why the glimpse?

I have been tolerantly (and not-so tolerantly) pressured to fit into a more artistically commercial mold by a good number of people over the years. I’ve been passed over time and time again in lieu of a better resume, a better yes-man, and better tailoring. My methods are not altogether the methods of those who may have commercial successes, and that’s quite ok with me, even though it’s quite not ok with them. I need time to ebb out the vision I’ve been called to see, and I’ve learned that the vision has but only a few simple requests - to always be honest, to be what it needs to be, to not measure to another, and not to rush. The pressure continues, but so does my resolve to prioritize my priorities. To be real. To answer to the God of Israel. That is all.

And so this is the fruit. He is so incredibly gracious and amazing to have me cross paths with people who have chosen to invest in me, and invest in remembrance of the encounter they had while experiencing these mosaics of my life on canvas, in song, or merely in conversation. I’m always very grateful each time they depart on the rest of their journey taking a little piece of my story with them, to join with their own story. A tapestry. A bridge. Humanity in action. Caring for one another, and bearing each other’s burdens. I’m blown away when I see people deeply effected and changed and challenged by anything I’ve released. And these beautiful people I’ve converged with over the years, well, I've laughed with them, and I’ve cried with them. I’ve become friends with a lot of them. One of my most precious recent memories was when one fairly intimidating gentleman in stature stopped in front of one of my paintings, and after a moment, tears started to well up in his eyes. He was looking at one of my meetings with Judah, which led him into his own reunion with Judah right then. These are the people that compel me to continue doing all of this, even though each time I try to create something, I’m going way out of my comfort zone, putting myself out there for public consumption to be judged, to be misunderstood, to be told to do it differently. Yes, that all happens. I don’t collect the frustration anymore. It still keeps me focused on God. He sorts it all out. He goes before and makes a way. He gives me perspective why people say mean or disparaging things, and then He gives me wisdom how to process those things without dwelling in confusion or anger. Because really, it’s like if someone called your child evil or ugly or not worthy of life. You have to learn how to move forward without the chains that others want to ring-toss around your neck for whatever reason that leads right to their own hurting hearts. You have to learn how to bless them anyway.

So I share these thoughts without soliciting any kind of empathy or response, although I venture that we’re all pretty much pressing forward however we find strength to be ourselves despite our environments, despite the influences we choose to allow, or not allow. I simply don’t care about quick or formulated anything. But I do deeply care about the freedom in uniqueness. I care about letting people be who they were created to be. I care about the long term everything.

Thanks for listening.