At some point, some of you started reading here for the words. I’ve felt a little guilty for the lack of them this summer. I’ve worried about becoming obsolete, about being forgotten.
And then I let all of that go, and stepped away quietly anyway.
While I haven’t had many words held out for consumption, I have feasted on the words of others. I’m stuffed right full of literary goodness, my heart aching with the deliciousness of all I’ve managed to inhale.
I’ve quit this blog a hundred times in my head since April. I’ve read so many scrumptious works that I’ve felt in moments that I am finished with writing, that there is nothing left to be said. But then my green fever ebbs and I remember that no one sounds quite like me. And I recall that there are stories I’ve yet to tell–stories I’ve held tightly to out of fear of judgment and rejection.
So I bite my lip and clutch those stories tighter. It’s a slower labor than I imagined, the way they’re slipping ever-so-quietly down in me, closer to the edges of light that burns to overcome their shadowed presence in my head. I need to tell them. But like all good procrastinators, I walk away from the keyboard. Instead, I turn to my art journal and I begin making art.
One Sunday afternoon, I sketch out a “selfie”. As part of my sabbath keeping, I’m learning to give myself permission to dabble in my art because for me, that is rest. I hold my breath and share it publicly on my social media triangle–Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Your kindness drips steady across my screen all afternoon, and I feel a little braver for it.
Showing my art feels a bit like purposely shedding clothing in the presence of another. The vulnerability of it downright shocks the heart. Like that time in North Dakota while camping on a mission trip when I washed my hair with the nearly frozen ground water–how it literally took my breath away and stung with frigidity. A friend tells me I’m brave but I feel more the fool. I am cruel to my art, abusively pointing out all it’s imperfections. Oh how I ache for redemption here–
The summer’s half gone and I don’t write much, but I paint, and I sketch, and I fight against the *shoulds*. I beat against whatever it is inside of me that holds on to stories, all white-knuckled and gasping. I practice bravery one share at a time and after the vulnerability hangover has eased, I realize that I am in fact, still standing. I’m no worse for wear. The contractions haven’t killed me.
I labor on.
With each stroke of the pencil, I’m learning more about who God created me to be. With each swath of the paintbrush, I’m learning about how I like color and what my voice looks like without any words.
So maybe at one point you came here because of the words. Maybe all this talk of drawing and painting seems weird. It’s part of a story I haven’t been brave enough to tell you yet–but I’m getting closer.
Some friends of mine are hosting MADE, an online course for Christian Creatives. It’s a 12 week course for just $80 and the content is yours for keeps. So you’re free to take your time with it, to go back through the parts you loved, or struggled with, or simply wanted to do again. I got a sneak-peek at the art journaling session, and can I just say, that alone is worth the price. But that’s just one avenue of the course. There’s more. Wherever you are in your art journey, this is a beautiful place to connect and be encouraged and inspired to keep making art, for heaven’s sake. Find out more HERE. Register HERE.