“I’d like you to write for the blog.” That one sentence, so small, so seemingly ordinary… It rocked my world. My first (and for awhile my ONLY) response was, “I’m not a writer.” I’m a mom, a wife, a virtual assistant. I’m in the background. My many and varied roles all work to make others shine. I’m a helper; I make your life easier, better, more efficient. What I don’t do is take center stage. So how did we get here, to this place where I’m writing, where I’m putting myself out there for all the world to see and read?
Let’s back up several months to the summer of 2015. As Laura has done more paintings and received more exposure, she has needed more time to create those beautiful pieces of art we so enjoy. As she created more beauty, she wanted a place to display (and hopefully sell!) her pieces to others. She asked me to create a blog where she could write about her creative process, showcase her artwork, and eventually sell her work. But over weeks and months, what started as a mere blog turned into a full blown website, complete with multiple pages, a blog, and an e-commerce store. Many thanks to WordPress and sites such as this one for holding this novice’s hand as I learned to develop a website. Although I’m nowhere near hiring myself out to develop and design website, and I still have a tremendous amount to learn, it was less painful than I thought it would be. And the site is up and running, and you are reading it.
But then Laura dropped that bomb on me: “I’d like you to write for the blog.” What?! Why? I’m not an artist, and I didn’t think I knew much about art. Laura graciously and lovingly challenged me on those perceptions. After all, our blog is called “The Art of Encouragement,” not “Here’s how to do art” or “The Art Blog” or something similar. As we talked further, a different image of what we want this site to be began to emerge. We want this site to be a place where anyone can come and find a place of beauty and encouragement for their day. We all face challenges and difficulties, and we can all benefit from a gentle, positive “push” in the right direction.
So Laura finds her inspiration in her own artwork and the situations that brought that artwork into being. She draws from her own life and her own creative process. I, too, draw inspiration from my own life and my own creative processes (such as they are). At the heart of my life is my faith and my family. That’s why I write about those things so much. Who am I? I’m a child of God, a disciple of Jesus, a wife to an amazing man, and a mom to two incredible little girls. Those hats alone provide countless ideas and nuggets of thought than turn into these posts. And guess what? I LOVE to write. Writing for this blog is my favorite part of the job Laura pays me to do. Sitting with my laptop, letting thoughts flow out onto the page that later get edited into more coherent thoughts. These posts are my art. This is where I create.
This painting by Renoir hangs in my daughters’ room. They are the “two sisters” who inspire me. It’s no surprise then, that I often use portrait paintings to illustrate my blog posts – people are the source of so much of my writing. I hope you enjoy the art as much as the blog posts!
What about you? Where do you find inspiration? Where do you create? All of us are created in the image of God. And God is a Creator. One of the ways we reflect His likeness is through our own creativity. What’s holding you back? To what creative opportunities do you object by saying “but…”? My challenge for you today is to take just ten minutes to go for a walk and think about it. Find that place in your life where you want to be creative, and then go do it. Then come back here and let us know how you create! I can’t wait to hear your stories.
Leesa Donner · April 21, 2016 at 12:25 pm
I love this post and adore the Renoir which reminds me of me and my sister. It makes me smile just to look at it.
Good for you for stretching yourself now while you have small children. I have so many friends now in their 50’s struggling mightily with “identity theft” — that is the empty nest syndrome times ten. Their children are gone and they look in the mirror and feel absolutely useless. Believe me, it’s much worse than internet identity theft. They are lost souls — and at 50 — not a nice place to be.
The Bible Study I lead just completed the Parable of the Evil Servants. We spoke at length about our gifts and talents. It was an eye-opening experience for many. And that’s where our creativity comes in to play. I have at the bottom of my email signature a line that a young lady told me years ago that speaks to this. It says “Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what this world needs is people who have come alive.” John 10:10
For me working with homeless men and teaching them how to get a job makes me come alive. Teaching Bible Study in a way that has women inductively learning for themselves who God is and what he wants them to do makes me come alive. Decorating a room to make it beautiful and warm and inviting to host family and friends, makes me come alive. I’m not sure just how creative these endeavors are but they speak to the talents God gave me to use for His Kingdom.
Bravo to you for “coming alive” and realizing that your talents are many and varied. Oh, and there is a dirty little (Biblical) secret attached that should be mentioned. Understand that whatever that creative work God has called you to; you will be attacked. You must overcome that spiritual warfare — you know — who me?, I can’t, impossible, simple anxiety and others who will tell you that you are not up to the task. Once you put those lies to rest you’re off and running and the Evil One will never be able to catch up. 🙂
Michelle · April 21, 2016 at 1:09 pm
You are absolutely being creative! Thanks for being so encouraging!!