Do I belong or should I ask that question?

by Wanda Bird

I am "out of the gate" again at age 53 excitingly pursuing art and trying to get organized. I joined CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) back in November.

But, when I see my fledgling work surrounded by the "more profound," more experienced work of other artists I cringe a bit. I even entered two calls for art right away just to set some initial goals for myself. I didn't win and was surprised by my reaction, but I grew and realized a lot just by doing those.

Am I the "pinky toe" of the body (ie: all the parts are necessary) or am I just kidding myself? Maybe I don't belong there or maybe I should see it as a learning experience and most of all direction if my Lord wants me there.

I AM SO THANKFUL FOR YOU! I think I need to re-read your book at this point and all the articles on this site! I am going to think of you now as my personal art coach. Can I cry on your shoulder from time to time?

Comments for Do I belong or should I ask that question?

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Meant to Be!
by: Wanda

Dear Sara,

Thank you so much for the encouragement to press on and not give up. I have realized that, yes, my unique creativity was meant to be! As you have said the most important thing is to be close to Jesus.

So if I am walking close to Him and I am a creative person gifted by Him,then the natural out flow of that relationship is going to be my unique works of art or creativity.

Maybe I was concentrating too much on pleasing a juror or contest theme or looking for admiration or just afraid of making bad art. All of these could be ploys of the enemy of Christ to destroy my offerings to Jesus.

When a child creates something proudly, with gladness, out of the fullness of their heart and offers it to their parent no one would dare say this is immature or bad art or wrong.

I treasure every scrap of art my children have made over the years, especially those made as gifts for me. When my 15 year old daughter was about 3, she was constantly making something for us that she called "krinkles." They were tiny scraps of paper with a few marks she had made on them and folded with her precious chubby hands. "Wait,I have to make you a krinkle," she would say as one of us was about to walk out the door. One time, a visitor left before my daughter could give her the krinkle and as she watched the person drive away tears came because she didn't get to give them her gift, a piece of herself.

If Jesus loves us then he loves our gifts to Him! I think too he knows it brings us fulfillment to give our unique gifts to Him.

Iron sharpening iron!
by: Sara

Dear Nicole and Linda,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It thrills me to know that you are soldiering on.

I know that encouragement from other brothers and sisters in the Lord is powerful and what we were created for.

Too often we quit too quickly in discouragement feeling like we are in a lonely pursuit.

It is my hope that knowing that we are all together in this journey with the Lord, sharing our mutual passion for art and our love for Him, will keep you working with all your heart.

Remember our labor in the Lord is never in vain:)

Not uncommon pangs
by: Linda Swanekamp

The temptation to compare and dismiss my work is always in front of my face. I have decided to paint on- not even thinking of putting my work in a frame. I usually don't like what I have done immediately, but after a day, I see it more realistically. Maybe my body of work will get frames and be able to be displayed, but if not, I still have to paint. My paintings look at what God has created and respond to Him in the level of skill and workmanship I currently am able.

thank you!
by: nicole

Dear Sara,

Thank you so much for your response to Wanda, it really helps me too! I'd struggled with the same issues and let everything else get in the way, but I realize now that I'll never be happy until I pursue what God has designed me for.

So I'm going to do it, in His Power and under His inspiration, and I'll see what happens.

Thank you again and may God bless you!


Rest assured, you are not kidding yourself!
by: Sara

Dear Wanda,
If I told you that what you've written is not uncommon, would you believe me? Feeling pangs of inadequacy when looking at the works of other artists is achingly familiar. You are not alone. I know exactly what you mean.

Instead of offering a shoulder to cry on, I want to encourage you to pick yourself up and press on. There is no time, nor reason, for tears. With the Holy Spirit as your guide the adventure awaits and it's a good one!

"For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable." Rom 11:29

With each passing day, I grow more sure of this— we each have important roles to play as artists. No one else can accomplish what God has ordained for you. Your love for art is not an accident.

There are no prerequisites for serving Jesus other than a willingness to obey Him. He will empower you and give you the skills you so eagerly yearn for.

Give Him time and stay the course.

May the work of other artists inspire, not intimidate, you. With their consummate skill they cannot do what you are specifically called to do, only you can!

I pray that you will continue dreaming, creating and engaging in the arts in faith and by faith. Don't ever question your belonging - you do! You are His precious child for whom He has specific and wonderful plans!

Your artistic future may seem mysterious and out of reach at the moment, but His plans and purposes will become clearer as you step out in faith.

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