I want to become more like Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. If you’re a Latter-day Saint, you probably do too.
In the New Testament, 2 Peter 1: 2-8, The apostle Peter speaks to the early saints, exhorting them to make their calling and election sure, by partaking of the things of a “divine nature.”
Prayer, scripture study, church and temple attendance all help us along this path. But I want to suggest that participating in the arts can be an effective way to become more divine.
1. The Arts Increase Learning and Life Skills
When we participate in any of the arts, our brains make connections that help us develop mental acuity, increase memory ability, and function better academically. Because we are training our brains to see and make connections in an artistic way, it helps us make connections to and with other subjects improving our learning as a whole.
Our right and left brains work differently, but when we actively participate in any form of the arts, we better utilize both halves of our brains and help it function more fully.
2. The Arts Create Connections between Body, Mind and Spirit
Our physical health, mental health and our emotional/spiritual well-being all increase when we participate in the arts. We find that as a whole being we feel better, act healthier and see the world around us in a more positive way. All of the arts require us to utilize our physical bodies in some way; exercise or movement, balance, endurance, or expression of emotion.
Using all our senses makes the arts come alive.
The arts require us to use physical movement, whether dance or the movement of a paint brush to encapsulate deep emotional feelings. In this way, the arts helps us to become more in tune with ourselves.
3. The Arts Allow Us to Tap into Our Emotional and Spiritual Selves
When we listen to or participate in some form of artistic expression, our spirits become more in-tune with the Holy Ghost and we recognize his influence in our lives. We can see that all things were created spiritually before they were created physically.
As we try to capture on canvas the natural wonders of our world, or take a photograph, we begin to understand the limitless possibilities of the world’s creation, light and darkness, and the life and beauty found in the simplest of forms.
Upon hearing a symphony or an aria, we realize the complexities and subtle differences that we hear as the music changes in tone, volume and rhythm or beat.
We learn to recognize the myriad variations and nuances in dozens of instrumental combinations, that bring us pleasure, joy, peacefulness and sometimes discord and distress. Then we begin to appreciate how sound and touch and sight evoke our deepest feelings and thoughts.
4. The Arts allow Us to Fill our Lives with Good
Good music, theater, art and literature fill us with positive thoughts, and reflections leaving us very little or no room for finding or seeking out trouble and things of an unsavory nature. When our time is filled with quality activities and learning our lives become better.
Children and teens are far less likely to get into trouble and mischief when their time and energies are focused on wholesome things like learning to move and control their bodies in dance, or acting in plays, or practicing an instrument.
Adults perform and are happier; finding more satisfaction with their jobs, when they have hobbies related to the arts that relieve stress or activities they find pleasure in pursuing. Often these hobbies become passions which lead to fulfilling career. One that can sustain family and life.
5. The Arts Teach Us Intangible Concepts like Faith, Gratitude, and Contentment
When participating as adults in activities that make us happy, relieve stress, and promote well-being at all levels, we come to understand the deeper meanings of the virtues and concepts of divine nature.
We move beyond a worldly desire to be found exceptional by our fellowman for our accomplishments. Then, we are able to find joy and satisfaction for how the arts fulfill us at a core level.
As we come to understand these virtues, we find pure joy and the ability to express His Love by and through the use of our talents in sharing them with others.
6. The Arts Help Us Develop Self-Esteem
Involvement in the arts allows shy children to overcome the inability to express themselves. Theater arts and music allow for self-expression and self-acceptance when they learn in an atmosphere where others are working to improve their own skills also. Music and fine arts help to eliminate self-doubt and replace it with self-discipline and self-respect.
All the arts create opportunities for us to get to know ourselves as God knows us. He knows we are capable of so much more than we realize.
The arts allow us to see that learning doesn’t end. When we reach the level where we can laugh at ourselves and not take everything so seriously, we become humble and teachable.
7. The Arts Teach Us Patience for Ourselves and Others
Because we put so much of ourselves into the things we love, like the arts, we inevitably learn the virtue of patience, due to the fact that we are not perfect. As a result, patience become our teacher.
Benevolence, or brotherly kindness, allows us to be generous towards others, and to ourselves, when progress or learning is slow and we cannot seem to meet expectations of proficiency.
When we apply self-discipline and a sense of humor, along with patience, in moments of frustration, we will find our growth rate accelerate, and a balance can once again be restored as we return to and pursue our passion.
8. By Committing to our Talents, We Discover New Ones
As we grow and not only find the time to spend developing our skills, but put forth the effort to increase those talents, we are assured that we will gain others.
The Lord is pleased when we improve and increase the gifts He has given us. Just as in the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. Quite often we find our development has grown to a level of proficiency and passion where we can make a living doing the very thing we love.
The arts can become a blessing in our lives to provide for ourselves, our families, and to bless others in all ways possible. Hobbies become life’s dreams and then the meaning for our very existence. We find our purpose in life.
9. The Arts Provide Opportunities for Sharing and Teaching
When we share what we have learned and know, we become teachers, mentors and serve as the Master did. Christ was the perfect exemplar on how to share and serve. He was the great Healer, Teacher and Advocate, Mediator, Shepherd, Comforter, and the Ultimate Creator.
He created everything we try to emulate with the arts. He is our model of perfection. As we follow His example, by using our talents in the arts, we become true creators with Him. We can show our love for His generous gifts by sharing , serving and teaching others. These traits keep the arts alive and flourishing. Each time we mentor someone, we allow them the opportunity to become like Christ as well. We open the door for them, as He has done for each of us.
We can show our love for His generous gifts by sharing, serving, and teaching others.
10. The Arts Help Us Overcome Opposition
Our lives and the lives of others are made infinitely better, not only by our being partakers of the Divine Nature the arts provide for us; but we bring the 13th Article of Faith to life. When we learn, and develop the talents and skills the arts give us, we advance, and expand our spiritual nature, thereby gaining the qualities Peter denotes as one who has a Divine Nature.
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:2-8)