Matt just dropped a pretty penny at Michael’s, to get a picture framed for me. A month ago, I came across a work of art, and the story behind it is what God used to encourage me to start writing again. Matt bought me the print for Christmas, because it was so deeply meaningful, and I am calling it a stone of remembrance. I’m going to hang it on the wall in my office, where I can see it when I have my quiet time with the Lord in the morning and remember how intimately he communicated with me.
We also had purchased artwork to give to my mother-in-law, her sister, and to ourselves for Christmas, to place above the mantel. It’s a moody photo of a cowboy on a horse, holding a calf under one arm. His head is tucked down into his coat, because he’s riding into a blizzard. The only hint of light in the photo is a lantern hanging from the saddle. The matting and framework are dark and beautiful. When we discovered this picture, we both fell in love with it.
“This is Christmas in a picture,” I said. I see it as the cowboy version of Jesus leaving the 99 to save the one. To me it portrays the love of Christ to me as an individual.
The power of artwork has me thinking about museum curators and how they build up collections, pulling together the best pieces and deciding how to exhibit those collections.
It was Instagram where I discovered the artist who painted my new picture. I went and looked at his art, after hearing his testimony in an Instagram reel, of how he came to know Christ. The only reason I discovered the art that stirred my heart to write again was because I follow Paul David Tripp on Instagram, who fills his reels with gospel-centered truth. I carefully curate my social media feeds, choosing to follow only people who share life-giving truth and goodness.
I curate the gallery of my mind.
To curate is to carefully gather together a collection, and we can do this for our mental health. It comes in the form of literal art we hang on our walls, the music and podcasts we listen to, the books we read, the Bible verses we memorize and meditate on, the company we keep, the counsel we seek, and the voices, images, and ideas we allow in our email inboxes and social media feeds and on our televisions.
A couple of nights ago, Matt and I came across a Steven Curtis Chapman performance on TV. It was a throwback to our ‘90’s life and so encouraging. Steven Curtis had a full orchestra behind him, and his testimony of God’s faithfulness moved our minds away from worries and toward the Lord. We were reminded of the faith-filled songs we had hung on the walls of our minds when we were in our early 20s. The excellence of the music warmed our weary hearts. Violins and cellos and the stand-up bass. We worshiped. There were so many channels to choose from, but in that moment, we were skilled curators making a good selection for what to do with our minds.
A few months ago, when I was feeling very low, my daughter sent me a Spotify playlist called “rest.” It is a list of gentle worship songs that she has masterfully curated. They have rubbed hope into my thoughts.
Paul tells believers: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2a) A renewed mind means taking down old, ugly, broken art and collecting new, beautiful, high-end art that moves our thoughts toward the living God.
I’ll never forget having the privilege of going to the National Museum in Amsterdam and standing just a foot away from a Rembrandt painting. I was enthralled with the light and life he caught on canvas. My encouragement to you today is that you collect masterpieces. For every wall of your mind, carefully and thoughtfully choose the ancient, priceless wisdom of God, in every possible medium. This is the key to a transformed life.