1. a war against shame: the metaphor
"Blooming" begins in the dirt, in the dark. Seedlings are germinated underground, surrounded by the unknown. The seeds are hidden for a purpose. That initial purpose often has little to do with how hard we screw up (grace). As human beings we may find ourselves in undesirable circumstances, whether by our own doing or someone else's. Personally, I know that when I'm going through it, the biggest thing I struggle with is Shame. And Shame's best friends are Loneliness and Isolation. They can all go to Hell. Our lives were not meant to be lived smothered by shame, isolation and loneliness. Even when there is no chance at being around people, the Father provides art as a source of community. I believe that He uses art as a tool to guide us back to our purpose: living our lives as worshipers of Him, completely doused in the freedom he provides through Jesus, connection, and community (even if community is far away).
So while we begin in the dirt, in the dark, our God is the creator of all things tangible, healed, and free. He is not removed from our suffering. He is with us and he is for us. He is Redeemer.
2. a response to the fear of being full of beauty
The Bloom Project is a response to the idea that the pursuit of beauty and tangible authenticity has less to do with me and more to do with the ultimate standard of beauty--the glory and holiness of Jesus. Beauty is not an aesthetic but a soul-deep movement that doesn't fit neatly in between our Photoshop layers and into our socially constructed boxes. Beauty is defined:
The quality that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is associated with such properties as harmony of form or color, excellence of artistry, truthfulness, and originality.
Jesus is excellence when we have absolutely nothing to give. He is strength when we are too weak to hold anything more than mere shards of truth. He is perfection in all the ways that contouring and spandex can't be. "Beauty" does not have to be this malleable, overly-controlled thing that we think too much of or don't think about at all. What if we perceived beauty as a state of just being? A state of effortlessly revealing the glory of Jesus by understanding our identities as real sons and daughters in the Kingdom of God? That way if someone thinks that I am beautiful (physically and metaphysically), I can just be okay to know that they admire the glory that Jesus has redeemed me to hold, rather than every thing that the spirit of Shame wants me to believe about my identity: that I'm am not enough, and that I am too much.
3. a thankful nod to the messy process of living
You might've noticed that this music may never (ever) play on K-Love, Air One or be classified as "Christian Music". Here's the deal--I didn't set out to write a worship album, and Jesus didn't ask me to. (Though I love writing worship-filled music!) I recorded these songs because I know a lot of men and women who would never know how to be real about things like heartbreak, abuse, physical attraction, depression, commitment, intimacy, life-purpose, family problems, and identity outside of some kind of artistic expression that gives them space to breathe and feel understood. Some of these same friends struggle with doubting the validity of their faith because they deal with very human (and ultimately redeemable) issues. Shame tells us, often, that our lives are too messy and that if people knew the levels at which we battle with being human, no one would want to know us and love us fully. This project is a nod to the messiness of "blooming"; of growing and stretching and learning and being and soaking up the "rain" and the challenge of freedom that the Son (Jesus) gives us in abundance.