In his book Practice Resurrection, Eugene Peterson talks about grace and the art of writing. As he read poet William Stafford‘s book on creative writing, Stafford’s analogy of swimming reminded Peterson of God’s grace. This is a beautiful passage for anyone seeking to follow Christ and live a creative life in Him.
…any reasonable person who looks at water [grace], and passes a hand through it, can see that it would not hold a person up…But swimmers [followers of Jesus] know that if they relax on the water [grace] it will prove to be miraculously buoyant; And writers [followers of Jesus] know that a succession of little strokes on the material nearest them–without any prejudgments about the specific gravity of the topic or the reasonableness of their expectations–will result in creative progress [growing up in Christ: maturity]
Writers are persons who write; swimmer [believers] are… persons who relax in the water [grace], let their heads go down, and reach out with ease and confidence…Just as the swimmer [believer] does not have a succession of handholds hidden in the water[grace], but instead simply sweeps that yielding medium and finds it hurrying him along, so the swimmer and writer [follower of Jesus] passes his attention through what is at hand, and is propelled by a medium [grace] too thin and all-pervasive for the perceptions of nonbelievers who try to stay on the bank and fathom his accomplishment.”
All too often, I find myself thrashing and splashing in my walk with Christ and as a writer. On days when I’m swimming like a spaz, I need this reminder to relax in God’s grace, trusting that the buoyancy of His love and grace will hold me up. How about you?
Questions: How does this quote give you a new perspective on God’s grace? What insights does this quote give you about your creative life? How can ‘little strokes’ result in creative progress in both following Christ and in your artwork?
The Practice Resurrection Study Guide is also available on Amazon.