When do we get to the age where our identity becomes tangled up in our to do list and our self worth is defined by the amount of items crossed off our paper lists?
When do the thoughtful doodles of our childish fingers lose to the lie that we are not creative or artistic or have time for such nonsense?
At what point do we decide that safety and mediocrity is better than facing failure and our fears hold us back from pursuing anything greater than status quo?
Why does acceptance from others become more important than simply being who we were created to be?
I remember the day I became aware that maybe my artwork wasn’t good enough. I was in kindergarten and we were drawing houses. My teacher pointed out that I had drawn my curtains all wrong and should try to make them more like my friend Kelly’s drawing.
A few years later I had a teacher that insisted that you could only color side to side (the same way you write) and that any scribbling or going out of the lines was completely wrong. It didn’t matter if it was easier to color vertically to get into that awkward corner, it HAD to be side to side. To this day I will automatically correct myself if I start to color in a different direction! What can I say, she was a really frightening lady.
I did what they wanted because I thought I’d be accepted and that seemed more important than being myself.
It is twenty-something years later and I still do the same thing.
My work is based strongly in communication and relationships. The irony is that people scare the life out of me. My stomach does nervous flips when approaching a stranger to engage them in conversation. Crowds overwhelm me. And more often than not, I would simply prefer to be alone than face the anxiety of bumbling stupidly through smalltalk.
Why? Because too often I forget that we are all simply people, some of us saved by grace and others searching to be. We each have our strengths and weaknesses, our struggles and victories. We glance side to side in comparison and fear instead of listening to the words of our Creator who declares each of us to be “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).
My worth and your worth isn’t found in how many checkmarks we can put onto a scribbled list of expectations, it is found only in Christ (“accepted in the Beloved” Ephesians 1:6).Â
Being unique makes us feel weak and vulnerable unless we are seeing through the eyes of the Father. Without that lens we resort to comparison and bow to intimidation. Without His perspective we cannot see the beauty, only the failure.
He has created you and I with purpose. He offers life abundant and grace that covers a multitude of sins. Isn’t acceptance from the Creator of Heaven and earth more than enough? Therein lies the freedom to be who we uniquely are.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10