Friday, March 19

Art is Competition, or is it?

Yesterday marks the second official meeting with a group of women who have determined to walk through the book the Artist Way together.

I am blown away.

So beautiful and organic are our conversations that I’ve been touched deeper than by a paid counselor. The Holy Spirit is working. God’s truth about who He is making me is beginning to show up- the scratch ticket of my life, the one I actually win and it is exciting and scary.

I’m angry and sad too, grieving inside for my small child soul, who even at the age of six and seven weighed her strengths with those around her, one who compared herself with close siblings and peers. So ingrained is this practice that comparison defines me, limits me and lies, telling me I’m mediocre at best.

I’m average height, average weight, average skills and average job. I hate being average- but I feel it’s my destiny. Beauty is beyond my physical bounds, pretty will do. Being able to dance gracefully and seamlessly is a lost art I should have pursued as a child or young adolescent, now everything hurts so dancing is out of the picture- does a gym membership suffice? And, at least I’m paying the bills, isn’t that the point of working?

I think back to my childhood and I hear a censor in my head explaining vividly that my sisters sing stronger and clear than I, that the music I make is not beautiful and that my chance to move gracefully on the floors was lost because my desires to learn were not important. I hear a censor telling me that there is something wrong with me because I could not read in first grade, and so instead of reading I learned how to draw.

At age 7 in kindergarten when I shoved my homework assignments under other kids’ paperwork, so no one would see my answers, and cheated off other kids’ tests because I couldn’t read, I joined a coloring contest and lost. During that contest I had felt inspired, like I was creating something beautiful and worthwhile, I lost. Mediocre I told myself and at age seven, I silently vowed I would learn to draw beautifully- to be the best.

One of the deep seated problems I’m beginning to see between art and I, is that I have made it, above and beyond creativity, a competition. I’ve had a chance to dance ballet and Irish step dancing, I’ve had good output in visual art when I pursued it and I have a bachelor’s in drama, but none of that seem to be good enough to me. I’m not the best, I’m only mediocre.

It is ironic that I hate mediocrity, yet I’m willing to live a mediocre life instead of delve creatively into the work I believe God would like me to do. Fear of failing to impress other and not live up to the highest standards (my standards are likely much higher than anyone else’s for me) is tying me up to a mediocre life. I tell myself, why try if I know work will be sub-par? Literally, it is a vicious circle.

Yesterday, nearing the end of our group one of the women mentioned that it seems that, more than anything the creativity in each of us is being attacked by the enemy. She said that it does make sense since Satan, ultimately wanted to be the creator, to be God.

This hit me harder than I expected. At hearing this thought, I weep in anger and grief and also relief. I’m angry because it hurts to have pieces of my heart stolen. It hurts to know that there is an enemy who is trying to steal my desire to walk in who God has created me to be. I grieve because I know, living in the lies that the enemy has instilled in me has mangled many creative cells and lost valuable years in my creative life. And I feel relief, freedom, knowing that it is not just me that has failed, but that there is a greater force speaking lies to me. Knowing this, allows me to believe that if there is an evil force, there is its counterpart: the all good, all loving part that I can run to and find healing in- God.

So today…I’m weepy. Feeling tired (I didn’t have much rest last night) but good. I’m feeling a healthy death begin to take hold and I’m eager for more.

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