Behind the Scenes of an Artisans Heart
Creating hurts. Sometimes it feels like reaching into your chest, pulling out your heart and flopping it on the canvas for the world to poke at. Sounds dramatic, I know- but it's the best description I could think of. You see our finished product- not everything behind it. The world offers us comments, encouragement and critiques in the same breath, often not knowing that we have been holding ours. We are, in essence, giving of a part of ourselves to the world to experience- whether critic or confidant- and waiting in tender balance to see if we have value.
I've been an artist my whole life, although it took many years to embrace this fully. When my art was a hobby, I could shake off the rejections easier. But when I became truly brave and began pouring out both the pain and the pretty with less awareness as to the intrinsic monetary value of the creation, I realized creating became both more painful and pleasurable. It became more pleasurable because I worried less that my art would sell, and began to simply create with the Lord what I want to create. It became more painful because as I am learning to come out of my shell artisictally, my artwork has looked much more like an open door into my emotions and heart. I have often been told that I wear my heart on my sleeves; and so I learned over the years that if I don't want people to know exactly how Im feeling, I simply roll up my sleeves and get to work. I had two friends ask me yesterday about how I was doing with some painful things going on. They asked me because they know that I often answer this question with how the other people in the situation are doing. I don't mind sharing my heart, but sometimes I feel that if I were to truly crack the lid on how my heart feels right now, it will come spilling out like hot lava- devouring everything in its wake. But when I create. Ohhhh when I create- I get the chance to pour out some of what my heart is saying without explaining it to another soul- including myself! I get to tear and scrub and layer and erase and splat and paint over things. No one knows that the blue paint drop in the corner was actually first a tear. No one knows that the ripped up old magazine article covered in the first layer was actually symbolically laid down in anger as I let go of past wounds. What people see in a piece of artwork or creation is the finished product. But this. This my friends is why it's so very very hard sometimes for artisans to let go of their work. It feels like giving up pieces of their story- because it is. My story is not my own- it is His. My life belongs to Him, and therefore all creative parts of me also orignate with God. Often others need so badly to share in our stories, to see our pain and our pretty. They need to be part of community, feel like they are not alone. They need to be inspiried by what has inspired us. They need to see from the new perspective that God has shown us.
So to all my fellow artisans: the bakers, the writers, the speakers, the podcasters, the painters, the musicians, the chefs, the photographers, architects, the dancers, the inventors and carpenters. You are so so very brave my friend. Every time you choose to do something different and vulnerably put your heart out there with your craft- you are choosing to give up your life. You are choosing to lay bare before others and give of yourself when they might not ever fully understand how much it hurts sometimes. Ask yourself this question today- "How can I bravely be vulnerable with what God has given me? How can I share more of what you're doing in me through the skills I have?"
To all the friends, family, co-workers and supporters of those artisans: continue to value and speak life over those who are choosing to serve with their heart. I have had the immense blessing of having encouragers and supporters of my craft for much of my journey (Jen I see you over there owning more of my artwork than I do... Mom and dad I see y'all getting me art classes my whole life... Baby, I see you making sure I have time to paint) They are the ones that have given me the courage to keep dreaming and making. They are the ones who remind me of truth instead of the lies. Ask the Lord to show you the creative artisans in your life (think outside the box- who has faithfully prayed for you? who has given you tips and advice to start your business? who made that flyer for you for nothing because they support you?) Ask God to show you how you can love and support them as well. There are countless people that have shared their hearts, their time, their secret tips, their talents with me. I don't think I have enough money to pay back what others have so generously given to me, often without me knowing it or truly valuing it (and to those I didn't fully value at the time and have felt that from me- please forgive me from the bottom of my heart and know that what you offered was of incredible worth whether I saw it or not) My dad has spent years of his life creatively passing down wisdom from the years of blessing and heartache he's experienced; I have 3 photographer friends I can name right now (Jamie, Esther, Nick) that have given our family memories that will last for generations; my husband has made more things for me without blinking than I can even put a dollar amount to; Gabrielle, Cels, Jess- and all my soul sisters in Christ have given me countless hours of their time in prayer getting me through the hard. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all want and long for validation and to know our worth. While its easy to say that we should know our worth in the eyes of Christ alone- it sure does help when the body affirms it.
What if we truly learned to see the value in others? What if we valued not just what we get from it- but the hours of pain, work, and prayer that was behind what we don't see? Creating is hard. Be brave my friends- the world needs what you have to offer.