Growing up, people would see a pencil sketch or simple art piece I’d made and ask, “Are you an artist?” And I would hesitate as I cringed inwardly…wanting desperately to be just that, but at the same time afraid of what “being an artist” would mean. Because if I said yes, I would open up myself to criticism, and that was scary.
I had lots of drawing notebooks, and lots of pencils. I used mechanical pencils and wore down the eraser quicker than quick. I only drew in pencil because I could keep erasing. I drew in private so no one could see the mistakes I made along the way. I needed it to be PERFECT. Maybe I thought I needed to be perfect.
And then comes Jesus.
Slowly slowly He continues drawing me to Himself, teaching me about Him, and teaching me about me. And I learn a few things. Like…
He doesn’t expect me to be perfect, and it’s ok to make mistakes.
And the vice grip of perfectionism and performance begins to loosen from my heart, and I breather a little easier. I create a little more. And the pattern continues. As my heart finds freedom in who I am and who He is, I find I am less afraid, and more free. I am less afraid to create and try new things because I am less afraid of what people will think (cause it doesn’t really matter).
What about when we fail? Messing up a piece was distressing to me! A few months ago, I had great plans for a painting of a lion jumping over a stream. I began painting, but no matter what I did, it kept looking worse and worse. I kept repainting it, then tried to add some mixed media elements. Continued to grow worse. Then I read a quote that said something akin to:
Do not be afraid to let go of a mistake, just because you spent a lot of time on it.
WHOA. Did you catch that? Do not be afraid to let go of a mistake, just because you spent a lot of time on it.
So I took that canvas and angrily spread red paint ALL OVER IT (because using color to express emotion is very helpful for me) 🙂 and then I sent it to its new home–the dumpster. And it felt good. I let it go, and learned that not every piece needs to be a favorite. Trash it and move on.
At some point along my journey, my hunger to create outweighed my fear, and now I cannot imagine not being an artist.
And you? Are YOU an artist?