Life is Art for an Audience of One

Life is Art for an Audience of One

If life is art, who is my audience? What happens if I spend my life working on and creating things that no one sees or takes notice of? Why am I putting forth all this effort anyway, especially if there’s a possibility that no one will listen, read, or see it? What is my motivation to create anyway? If no one on this planet sees what I do, does it still have meaning or purpose? All these are good questions deep from the heart. We all want to know our lives have meaning and they do, but for whom?

Audience of One

Audience of One
It should be no mystery where I am going with this post. My actual question is, can I live my life for an audience of One and not out of motivation to be seen by many? This is a heart rending and deeply soul-searching question. It says, “Whose eyes do I produce for, and for whose pleasure do I create?”

Personally I have never met anything but the jealousy of God in my work and with my creativity. Jesus has made sure that first and foremost my producing is for Him, whether it is seen by another single soul. It has taken much time for me to die into accepting this position, because who doesn’t want what they do to be seen and appreciated by others? Whether it is artistic or literary creations or even my efforts at work, I, like most of us, want people to take notice of me and my labors. Somehow it feels like it validates my efforts, but does it really?

We Can Only Create for an Audience of One

We Can Only Create for an Audience of One
In actuality, while looking to please man I erode my true ability to create. With my eyes cast upon man, I am led away from true creativity, not into it. I become nothing more than an organ grinder’s monkey and this is beneath my calling. I have not met a single man who has not, at one point or another, been a man-pleaser to some degree. It’s just that men have those immediate eyes of response, whereas God’s pleasure often comes in different ways. While He does express His pleasure, the dopamine rush of man’s approval can be addicting.

We all are called to please One, whether another single soul takes notice. Living, working, and creating for the audience of One is something beyond mere applause or likes; it is deeply rewarding and beneficial. In my next post I actually want to explore what some of those benefits are. There are benefits beyond the eternal, which I am able to enjoy now. I look forward to sharing them with you.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
2 Corinthians 5:9


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    • Thank you so much for sharing this. It is something I very much identify with, being a creative and a Christian.

      • Thank you Stephen for commenting! So glad it spoke to you. It is huge for me too. Bless you, hope you enjoy the next one (on Thursday) as well. Would love to hear.

    • Yes, thank you, this resonates with me as well. On a physical level, it is the “audience” or the intimacy of ONE that is necessary, for reproduction to take place. It just happens naturally, when two people are in love, focused on each other. 😉 I like how you bring out the idea of “creativity,” as creativity is essentially (if anointed) reproductive in nature. If all that makes sense. :-0

      • It does make sense. Having an audience of One certainly is about love! Without that love relationship it wouldn’t work. He is so faithful!

    • arleen robbins

      Your words are timely – there is such pleasure in combining practicing the presence and playing for the audience of one…thx

      • That is perfect. Practicing the Presence and playing for the audience of One. They fit like a hand and glove don’t they? Love you Arleen, thanks for your commenting!

    • Anna

      Your focus on the sovereignty of God and our relationship with Him gives me such light and hope and I can’t wait for your new book to come out! What is the title going to be?

      • Thank you for commenting Anna! I believe the title is going to be The Sovereign Touch. Still working on the final editing now. Hope to have it done soon. Thanks for asking! Bless you Anna!

    • Alex

      I am following this with great interest. Post again soon!

      • I hope you like Thursdays post. Love you Alex!

    • Wanda

      If I can never be seen or heard by any other, it is enough and I am fulfilled. Praise my awesome God. Love you. Praying for the new books

      • Thank you Wanda, love you too! Looking forward to its release, thanks for standing and praying!

    • It can take a lifetime to see the gift of “invisibility” as a blessing. But that’s what happens when He conceals a person in the shadow of His wings. Still it was frustrating for me and served as a cross that ultimately saved me from myself. Had I achieved the fame I craved when I was young, it’s unlikely I would have come to know Him like I do, because a career in music would have made me beholden and thereby a captive of men.

      He has made my life a musical, John, that I have written over the course of nearly 50 years. Few have read it, fewer relate to it, save for my wife and sister who directed me here. Doubtful it will ever be produced. Rather it’s only ever been seen in my minds-eye with the One who gave it to me. It’s taken a lifetime to come to peace with that and to receive it with gladness for what it is. Specifically, His gift of such a musical life, for me alone, to demonstrate His incredible love for me. In writing it, we have enjoyed blessed oneness, joy, and countless adventures.

      My pearl of great price, my treasure in a field … about that, He had me meditating on the treasure. Why didn’t the guy just take it home and put it on display for everyone to see? Why hide it again and buy the field where it was hidden? Is that Jesus way of telling us that the treasure He give us is for us alone? I’m still working that out and will be for the rest of my life I think.

      Blessings to you and thank you for sharing that which I so relate to.


      • So true! Thank you so much for commenting Jack and for sharing your experience with this. It has been a lifetime lesson for me as well. Often a very painful one. Under His wings you can feel a wide gamut of emotions. Seems that some of the last ones, which happen after surrender, are joy and contentment.

        Again, thank you for commenting, hope to hear from you again in the future. Bless you!

        • John, I hope it’s OK I relate some thought about this – like you it’s been a life-long mystery. Continuing to meditate on the ‘treasure in the field’ parable and why the guy didn’t just run off with it to show off or make into merchandise, I’ve had several comforting thoughts. The first has to do with people of faith who are artists. While I don’t think artistry was unique to the Levites, they were known for their art – music, decorating the temple, the robes worn by Aaron and his sons – or so I seem to understand from the OT. The Father was jealous for them – unlike the other tribes, He did NOT give them land for an inheritance, HE was their inheritance and gave them 48 (?) small villages in which to live when they entered the promised land. He effectively hemmed them in and they served Him with their artistry in the tabernacle and later temples. Their musical creativity expressed in the Psalms and sung with instruments (Ps 150). The remaining 11 tribes (10 full tribes, 2 half tribes), were tasked with feeding the Levites, Aaron and sons, via the tithe, which was food. That passage with which we are all familiar in Malachi 3:10 – how was God really being robbed? The tithe was food, brought to the temple storehouse (built by Hezekiah) and it fed the priests. Hebrews states outright that the tithe is the property of the Levites. So the tithe ceases to be brought to the temple (parallel passage in Nehemiah about the wicked priest Eliashib and the pagan Ammonite Tobiah who misappropriated the food tithe for themselves). So it wasn’t so much that the tithe wasn’t being brought, it wasn’t being use to feed the Levites and Aaron and sons as intended. And that in turn caused the priests to leave their temple duties and go into the fields to work for food. And that in turn robbed God of the worship they gave. What would God care about food anyway? He doesn’t eat. The robbery was in taking from Him the love and devotion of those whom He set aside for Himself. So I guess it’s no surprise that He is jealous for His artistic and creative ones – because of all the people He has created, perhaps it’s with the artists that He is most involved with CO-creation. We do after all have to lean upon Him in a very intimate and special way to come away with His creative inspiration and render it a work of art in this world. Another thought about that man in the field, who found the treasure and re-hid it, then bought the field with all he could raise. There’s something about that which goes to the Father’s purpose or appointed work for Adam and Eve – specifically – of caretaking the Father’s creation. Of loving and tending to it with the Father’s heart. Had that man removed the treasure, would he have been showing indifference to God’s creation? In leaving it where He found it, was he being true to the God’s heart as caretaker of creation? That does seem to be a bit of difference between the treasure in the field (natural) and the man who found the pearl of great price as merchandise – the one is left in it’s natural setting. The other is removed from the market place and brought to a place of sanctuary – the buyer’s home. It does make me think about artistry with the Father – perhaps the message is that we aren’t to treat it as common – for our renderings are real treasure because God co-authored them with and through us. That the artistry of God is bought and sold – marketed like merchandise – might not be the way God intended it to be shared. Lord knows I’ve wrestled with this for nearly 50 years now. Jack

          • You’ve given me some stuff to chew on in the morning. Thank you Jack! God bless.

    • Margo L

      “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of Heaven will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper, who did his job well.” The Little Known, Janice Daugharty

    • Margaret

      This is a detail in the painting that I am working on.
      I somehow discovered your website today. I have been reading the Philokalia, volume one. I google unfamilar terms as I read. I saw a bizarre word which I cannot recall but it was the name of a place where ( I think but am not sure) it was Job who buried Pagan idols that distracted practitioners and/or led to impure thoughts and actions. Somehow this blog appeared with other sites in my Google search.
      This segment of the book focuses on strict internal supervision of what is called the intellect to eliminate, nip in the bud, fantasies or thoughts that would lead to shameful actions if they were allowed to thrive. The goal is to purify one’s soul so that God can be present enough to function as a voice and guide.
      I underlined a sentence that is relevant to artists: “If you bring forth the precious from the vile, you shall be My mouth.” (Jer. 13:19)

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