Posted by: karanoel | January 21, 2020

Express yourself!

Yesterday, I started thinking about how I love Chase’s art. It’s not because he has mastered techniques or has a solid understanding of composition, but because I love him and he made it. It’s an expression of who he is. I keep notebooks full of what he creates and I already look back fondly at his toddler drawings of personified vegetables, so simple and yet so delightful, and his pre-k portraits where everyone had boxes for bodies and stilts for legs, or when those people began to develop aggressively shaped fingers that remind me of Edward Scissorhands. I know that I will savor each step of the way because, whether or not he ever becomes technically proficient or produces anything he, his peers or the world beyond see value in, I know he will never again express who he is, at this time, in this way. 

FlyingPotatoLady1

flying potato

FallingPotato1

falling potato

ChaseDad

boxy bodies

IMG_8392

edward scissorhands

What would break my heart is if he ever stops creating. Maybe his eye will become critical and he can’t bear to produce something that is flawed and imperfect. Maybe someone will tease him for something he’s created and he will respond by severing his heart from the love of drawing to guard it from further rejection. Maybe the joy will be sucked from creating because he feels the need to perform, or believes it needs to look more like the creations of others. Maybe in comparing, he will decide he is not as capable and is somehow disqualified from participating. Or maybe the the cares and distractions of this world will drown out something he once loved. If any of this ever happens, my greatest hope is simply that he pick up where he left off – even if it is at the level of a first grader – and enter back in, delighting my heart by expressing what only he can. 

This disconnect is something we’ve all experienced, I think. Maybe not with art (although I’ve read that most people stop drawing in early elementary school when they realize it’s not just about expressing, but about producing), but perhaps with something else we’ve enjoyed and ceased to do – or maybe never even started. And it’s no wonder since one of the enemy’s favorite tactics is to get us to disengage. He knows that our heavenly Dad loves to see us participate (whether or not we are any good) and loves what we create, not because it’s technically proficient or because we measure up to what other people are producing, but because He loves us and we made it. It’s an expression of who we are. And, since we are His workmanship, what we create is really an extension of Him, and an intimate way to connect with Him – our Dad, the Creator. 

He formed each of our hearts so uniquely that no one else on earth can express something exactly the way we can and it’s this expression – far more than the product – that delights His heart. It understandably grieves Him when, from fear or perfectionism, we withdraw our efforts. Though we might improve as time goes by, we will never again be able to express who we are, in this way, at this time. 

Besides, perfection is a pipe dream. It will never arrive and will only keep us from following our hearts and entering in, with all the joy and productive failure and growth that follows. That’s the very thing it’s done to me most of my life. And, jeez, I’m stunted in a lot of ways because of this disengagement. But I’m starting to live. To really live. A little bit at a time. By doing what I love to do and fighting down the demons of comparison and fear that threaten to shut me back down and relegate me to the role of spectator. Because my Dad loves me and He loves what I make. And that’s enough for me. My joy is rising. And so is His; I can feel it. I can’t wait to see what forms expression takes as my heart opens up and its contents pour out before Him. Maybe He can even teach me as we go.

Is there something you’ve stopped doing – or never even started – because of fear of failure or the belief that you just couldn’t measure up? As I tell Chase all the time these days, success is putting yourself out there and doing your best. It has absolutely nothing to do with the outcome. So I encourage you to express what is in your heart and beat down any demons that say it has to look a certain way. Step into the joy of creating and share it with your heavenly Dad who will marvel at your efforts and tuck them away forever in a special place where He keeps all His most valuable treasures. 


Responses

  1. Thank you Karanoel, this is a heart enriching message. It’s important to remember to go again, for our mission here isn’t complete until we breathe our last. God bless you as you encourage your son to be who God created him to be. ♥

    • You are so right, Jacquie! As long as we have breath, we are here to fulfill the purpose we were created for. And how much sweeter when it is done with joy and freedom. Thanks for commenting 😊


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