It’s never too late to start something new. To pull out a blank sheet of paper, trust yourself, and start drawing something you’ve never drawn before.
When I graduated high school and went into college, I knew that I wanted to be a writing major. I was sure of my ability as a writer to believe in myself just enough to commit and say this is what I want my degree in.
For a long time, I only saw myself as a writer, a poet, someone good with words. This was my definition of creativity for my life. I was the writer in the family, the one who wrote poems on birthdays and Mothers’ Days folded between card stock and construction paper hoping that whatever I wrote from the heart, my family members would cherish deeply.
Then, one day something cracked within the identity I built around myself as just a writer.
My twin sister started writing poetry. One day she decided she wanted to try her hand at writing beyond novels and stories. She began writing poems and was really good at it.
I remember her coming to me saying that she wanted to write poetry. Following that conversation she brought me poems to read and almost immediately I was angry, and honestly a little bit jealous.
For years I was the writer, my sister was the artist. The painter, the drawer, and so wonderfully talented at both. My talent was writing and I felt that was all I was good at. Even though I’d started dancing in college and started taking classes in modern and ballet, I didn’t broaden my scope of creativity beyond the fact that writing was my gift and believed it to be my only one.
As my sister began to grow in her writing I felt this pang within myself. I couldn’t grasp the fact that there could be multiple people within a family equally talented at the same thing without cancelling out the talent of the other.
I wanted poetry to myself. So, for a while after that I had to deal with myself and why I was so angry that my sister was writing poetry. I had to talk to God and ask God to forgive my selfishness and and self-absorbency and talk with my sister that I wasn’t wholly upset with her. Even now as I write this I realize that it was not so much my anger or irritability towards my sister’s desire to grow as a poet–it was selfishness, my feeling inadequate as a writer, and my immense lack of trust towards God and how He created me.
Within this situation and how it all unfolded, I made it about me. Instead of supporting and growing with my sister as both of us grew as writers and poets, I focused on my feelings of not being good enough and not trusting my Abba that the gifts and talents he gave me are ultimately for Him. I didn’t trust that God in his infinite wisdom created me as writer, poet, dancer, artist in so many different capacities.
And I write all of this to say that when I expressed the interest to my sister that I wanted to draw, or paint, or sculpt, she responded with such joy, grace, and excitement–completely opposite my reaction. She supported me from the beginning and did not respond from a place of feeling attacked in her identity as an artist.
Sweet Holy Spirit revealed to me on Day 12 of 25 Days of Creativity that grace is powerful and love even more so. He showed me that I am not perfect and there is still growth to be had.
As the roles reversed in the situation between my sister and myself I became more aware of what was in me that was selfish and sometimes still is.
It is so evident to me that as a creator I can never be afraid of being stifled because someone else who does the same craft comes along. Assurance in who Christ has created me to be by his death and resurrection is my identity. When that is understood, it wipes away inadequacy and fear and low self-esteem. Knowing this truth creates space for me to support other writers, poets, dancers, and whatever else and space is made for growth to happen.
I am grateful that my sister extends grace to me so well.
So, if any of you are creating in any aspect of life, know that you are not your craft first, you are a Beloved child of God and that should take precedence more so than anything else in life.
It is a process, as most all things are, but understanding how God designed you and growing into purpose is one of the most beautiful processes ever.