39 In Faith

Who Am I: Becoming Living Art – Week #2

LivingArt_week 2

*photo credit

It may be hard to imagine we have something beautiful and creative to offer if we haven’t a voice to sing or a hand to paint.A Million Little Ways: Uncover The Art You Were Made To Live.

I’ve always wondered if my creative offerings are enough.  I’m not the best singer, but I can carry a tune.  I don’t get picked to sing during special services or conferences, and I wonder why I am even signing in the first place.  And even though my paintings are unique, I am still plagued by thoughts of “not good enough”.   I constantly put my art on display before the art of others, and judge it through the lens of one who is still insecure in who she is.  If my singing is for the Lord, then why do I compare myself?  If my painting is to reflect His glory, then why do I feel it pales in comparison next to those of others?

In searching for my own unique expression of art, I’ve had to ask myself this question many times, “What is it that makes me come alive?  What is the art that I was born to make?”  Singing connects my heart to the Father and I feel close to Him when I worship. In painting, I feel His overwhelming presence as I become one with Him and try convey His heart onto canvass.

But what else is it that makes me come alive?

Perhaps the answer is that I’m not fully living.  I can get so wrapped up in the doing, and the how, that I forget that all is art.  Whether it’s cooking dinner, teaching my children, volunteering in children’s ministry, or sifting through piles of dirty laundry, isn’t it all supposed to be for His glory?  And if that is the case, then it is all beautiful, and it is all art.

In order to fully live, I must be fully alive, walking in the freedom of who He has called me to be, with Christ confidence, safe and secure in His love for me.

Who or what am Identifying with?

God, the Master Artist, made man in His image.  When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it was because they wanted the glory for themselves, to be like God.  They traded their identity — who they were — for who they wanted to be.  When they traded their identity, they no longer were able to do the work originally designed for them in the garden.

What is it that I am looking at while striving to make art with my own life?  Is it the singers or painters that are more skilled than me?  Is it the moms who get to stay home with their kids?  Is it the couple who managed to buy a new house and two new cars this year? [Tweet “The more I look at the art that others are making, the more I lose sight of my own identity.”]

“For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  (Ephesians 2:10)

God made us each image bearers and has gifted us with unique talents and abilities with which to do His work.  We cannot function in our own identity while constantly looking at the art of others.  I struggle with this in my writing when I fear that my words have no purpose, or that everything I have to say has already been said by someone with more followers and a bigger ministry.  When I compare myself to others, I have to take a hard look within and ask myself if I am after what they have.  If I am truly content with who I am and what it is He has called me to do, why would I ever doubt that He can use my work, no matter how small, to reach the multitudes?

The art you were made to live will not and cannot look like that of another.  Living a life of comparison is not living at all.  It will only lead to despair, depression and art that no one wants to look at.  It’s time to look up, to lay hold of our image-bearing identity in Christ, and embrace the art that we were made to live.

Are you willing to take your eyes off the art that others are making in order to uncover your own unique art and share it with the world?

Artist brushes with a half finished painted color canvas

This is the second post in a series entitled Becoming Living Art. Each Monday I will share what God has revealed to my own heart while reading through Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways: Uncover The Art You Were Made To Live.  I was not paid in any way for my thoughts or quotes.  I would highly recommend you read the book.  It’s really good!

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39 Comments

  • Reply
    Amy Jung
    March 17, 2014 at 4:04 am

    What a way to start my week…THANK.YOU. 🙂
    Amy Jung recently posted..As Easy and As Hard as Remembering the Gospel

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 17, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      You’re welcome Amy. Have a blessed week!

  • Reply
    Chris Malkemes
    March 17, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Beautiful words, my friend, captured from a yielded heart. Thanks. Comparison is dangerous. Yielding is freedom. Trusting the creation of the creator to the creation of THE CREATOR is worship.
    Chris Malkemes recently posted..What is True Christianity?

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      AMEN!

  • Reply
    Vicki
    March 17, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I so needed to hear this message today. Thank you. <3

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 17, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      You’re most welcome Vicki!

  • Reply
    Beth
    March 17, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Love how I’ve stumbled upon a few posts today that focus on how we can think we need to do more to belong. My TWW post will be on the same and refers to how I need to stop doing things because it is what others are doing…I need to stop comparing! Beautiful post, Barbie. Love this series you are doing.
    Much love,
    Beth
    Beth recently posted..Friday Randomness (Vol. 19)

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      Comparison has been something I’ve struggled with my entire life. Just when I think I’ve overcome it, it rears it’s ugly head again. I am so thankful that God is teaching me to look at Him and not on what others are doing. Hugs!

  • Reply
    Denise
    March 17, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Blessings, prayers, and love to you.
    Denise recently posted..Be Yourself

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      Blessings my sweet friend!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth@BeautyObserved
    March 17, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    You caught me! Just this morning, I was comparing myself, my blog, my writing, my Alexa rating to someone else. But, He was faithful to whisper in my ear and remind me that He made me to be who I am so I don’t need to compare myself to anyone else. I just need to do the work He gave me to do and focus on the race He gave me to run.

    Thank you for your beautiful words! They are an encouragement!
    Elizabeth@BeautyObserved recently posted..Why St. Patrick’s Day is Special to Me

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 17, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      I’m so thankful the Lord allows me to encourage others in my valley seasons. Blessings my friend!

  • Reply
    Dolly@Soulstops
    March 17, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Barbie,
    I love how you are wrestling with what you are reading and with what you really believe about yourself and your identity in God…and how that affects how you view your art…I really enjoyed Emily’s book…and it is such a battle when I don’t rest in my identity in God then I can get into the comparison game instead of gratitude…it shows me how desperate I am for God’s grace to enable me to live based on my true identity…it is hard work…blessings to you 🙂 Proud of you 🙂
    Dolly@Soulstops recently posted..On giving birth, soul care and creating art

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      Thank you Dolly! I am thankful to walk beside you as we come into our own, who God made us to be, for His glory!

  • Reply
    Sue
    March 17, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Beautifully written and such an important message! I’m visiting from Better Blogs and I would just like to say that the description of your blog under “A little bit about me” is fantastic! As a coffee drinker, the metaphor so works for me! 🙂 I look forward to reading future posts as well!
    Sue recently posted..Stray Thoughts Sundays

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 17, 2014 at 10:11 pm

      Thanks Sue! I jus stopped over to your blog and read your stray thoughts. Left you a comment there.

  • Reply
    Donna @ More Grace
    March 17, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    This if so good to read. “The art you were made to live will not and cannot look like that of another.” I am glad God understands my abstract thoughts and sees beauty in the crooked lines I draw. More Grace through us and in us to be His beautiful masterpiece.
    Donna @ More Grace recently posted..A Radical Experience of Mercy

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 17, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      I am thankful too Donna. That’s exactly how I view my life, in crooked lines. Blessings!

  • Reply
    Joan
    March 17, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and think that we don’t measure up. But, God made us each uniquely just the way He wanted. I’m looking forward to reading more of your Monday posts and glean some sense out of how I see myself and how I can serve with my own abilities that God gave me.

    Blessings, Joan
    Joan recently posted..Sharing His Beauty and An Answer to Prayer

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 17, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Thankful to have you along on this journey Joan. Have a blessed and beautiful week.

  • Reply
    Lyli @3-D Lessons for Life
    March 17, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Barbie, I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject. I think to God it matters less how well I sing, and more with what spirit I am singing. If I am really delighting in Him and worshiping Him as I create art, then that’s where the beauty lies. If it’s not a Picasso painting to the world, it matters little to Him.
    Lyli @3-D Lessons for Life recently posted..Shattered Dreams

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 18, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      So true! Thanks for stopping by to read Lyli. I appreciate you!

  • Reply
    Jesenia
    March 18, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Beautiful Barbie. I too struggled with comparing my myself to others. My writing, my homemaking skills and even how I am as a mom. But it’s so wonderful when God reminds us that we’re perfect just as we are and that our gifts are what makes us each so unique. Thanks for sharing.
    Jesenia recently posted..5 Business Ideas For Moms

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 18, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      Thank you Jesenia!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    March 18, 2014 at 11:26 am

    I love how you are doing this- Living Art- its amazing! Your heart is so beautiful for Jesus. So thankful to have you in my life Barbie!!
    Ashley recently posted..Crowd {Five Minute Friday}

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 18, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Oh Ashley, I am thankful for you as well. I wish I could gather up all of my lovely blog friends in one room and give them big hugs!

  • Reply
    Jedidja
    March 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks! I am so glad I read this! You are a blessing for me.
    Jedidja recently posted..Maar Hij zal komen!

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 18, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Thank you Jedija! So thankful to share the journey with you.

  • Reply
    Carrie
    March 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Yes, I often must force myself to disconnect or I easily fall into comparisons. Like you I hold the ingrained thought “not good enough”. But you’re so right – we are unique! We each have something to offer and how wonderful that you feel the Lord’s presence as you create art!! I’ve begun to train my mind differently as I *ahem* age. Whenever I am doing something – even as mundane as folding laundry or washing dishes, I imagine Jesus standing beside me, watching. Would He approve of my attitude? Am I scowling as I do these things or am I joyful? How true it is all about our heart attitude! Thank you for sharing yours, Barbie!
    Carrie recently posted..He Provides Even If We Don’t Notice

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 18, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      I think it’s so important to remember that everything that we do is for His glory. No two are like and my gift to Him can never be duplicated. Blessings!

  • Reply
    Lindy
    March 18, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Love that verse from Ephesians.
    Lindy recently posted..Happy Hat

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 18, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Lindy!

  • Reply
    alecia
    March 19, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Comparison is a beast isn’t it? I know I’ve done it my whole life. That little voice whispers “what you have isn’t enough,” ” who you are isn’t enough.” But yet, even through the lies I can hear God’s voice saying something different, “You are mine, and you are enough.”

    Trying so hard to rest in that, and yes it’s so freeing when I do.

    What a beautiful series!! I can relate to so much of what you have written. Barbie, you’re offering, your words, your art; it’s beautiful and more than enough! Thank you for sharing it with us!
    alecia recently posted..How Do You Know?

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 19, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      “You’re mine, and you are enough.” And this I will carry with me into tomorrow and the days to follow. Blessings to you Alecia!

  • Reply
    Missy
    March 19, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    “We are all image bearers.” Yes we are, my friend. And each time I read thoughts God is planting in your heart here, I come away refreshed and ready to remember that the image He has given ME to bear is unique to me. And enough. You bless me BIG. Every time. <3
    Missy recently posted..Bravery Can Mean Going Belly Up

    • Reply
      Barbie
      March 19, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      Oh I love you Missy. I am always excited to see your beautiful face here!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    March 22, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I’m so glad I kept this post in my feed reader. This is exactly what I needed to read today: “The art you were made to live will not and cannot look like that of another.” Today I struggled to get into my art journaling & I couldn’t figure out why. When I went to God about it, the answer was surprising. I was trying to do art the way I’ve seen others do it. I was subconsciously trying to mimic another artist. And that will never work. He didn’t make me to do art like they do art. I have to let Him show me how to do the art He created me to do. Thank you for this encouragement Barbie! Its just what I needed today. Have a blessed weekend!
    Sarah recently posted..Links for your Weekend

  • Reply
    June
    March 24, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Thank you for this, Barbie. Somehow I missed this post last week and when week 3 popped into my inbox this morning, I went back searching for week 2 – I’m glad I did! We always feel like we must be the only one struggling with this or that – when really, especially as women, we all struggle with comparison. I think it goes straight back to the fall in the garden and Eve being cursed with the need for acceptance. (“Your desire shall be for your husband.” Gen 3:16) On to week 3…
    June recently posted..Inspired by . . . the quiet Truth

  • Reply
    Ginger Harrington
    March 25, 2014 at 9:53 am

    What a wonderful post that I needed to read. Comparison can be such poison. Blessings friend.

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