January 25, 2012

Teaching and spilling paint and panic attacks of inadequacy

I need to be honest I am a pretty extreme type A linear logic driven thinker by nature.  Everything is connected, everything has a place, and for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction on which I depend for my sanity.  My family, friends, and coworkers can attest to my love of things in alphabetical or rainbow color order, the tangled webs of logic, justification, or explanation at a moments notice, and my uneasiness when I can't put a logic to something.
My mom and my sister and some of my closest friends are artists.
For a long time I could not see myself as artistic or even creative because I saw their ability to create beauty and felt woefully inadequate.   "Oh, I'm not artistic (or fashionable, or creative, or musical, or able to dance), you should see what my sister/mom/friend can do" was my refrain when people looked over my shoulder and commented on my doodles or asked if I liked to dance.  And because my type A brain measured myself against others and found me lacking so I just refused to include art in the definition of who I am.
Then a shift happened, I'm not sure when...it was more of a glacial melt then an earthquake...I started owning up to my doodling abilities, my love of moving to the music, my own personal style.  And I realized something, the language of beauty is one that must be practiced...whether its spilling finger paint and glitter glue, or making a quilt, or baking bread, or arranging flowers, or playing an instrument or singing or writing poetry or prose or whatever else it is that you can use to express beauty, you need to keep doing it to stay fluent.  Practicing not be better by the world's standards but practicing to be better able to use that medium to express what you want it to.
I still wish I could take a picture of what I see in my brain or record the words on my heart without having to do the work of getting it out; I still get really frustrated when the brush won't go the way I want it to or the pencil won't follow the line in my head but I know now that sometimes it's enough just to get it out and on to paper.
I'm teaching a women's Sunday school class this Sunday about art as worship.  I'll be honest the old panic attacks of inadequacy are nipping at my heels -" how am I, the crazy kid who got really mad in art class and refused to dance for years, going to have anything to share?"
All I have is this by God's grace alone have I begun to stutter this language of beauty.  He is Author of beauty and His love of it is written on our hearts.  He has given us each various and varied gifts to express this writing on our hearts, and He calls us to be faithful.  To reflect His beauty back at Him.  It's not art because someone else deems it worthy, its art because I've done it for Him and He calls me worthy.

Linking up with Emily and others in the beauty of redemption over at Imperfect Prose.


  1. oh you will do fine in the class...art is just about making a mess again and again until you make it beautiful...smiles.

  2. Oh...practice! How I loathe thee! Nodding my head and shouting amen here, girl! Sorry I'll be missing the class. Can't wait to hear all about it!

  3. Anita Hilinski1/26/12, 8:00 AM

    I personally love your fashion style ( I remember those sparkly high heels a couple weeks ago )! Looking forward to your class on Sunday.

  4. Amen, YOU are beautiful, and what you share here is art. It points to Him.

  5. i agree with jodi. lauri, i love this. this learning of beauty... it's... beautiful :)