When I as five, I shared a tiny bedroom with my little brother. One night, we stayed up late chattering about the rides at Disneyland, and I decided that I was going to re-make our room into Small World. If you've never been on the ride (oh-too-sad-to-imagine!) picture yourself on a small boat sailing through rooms of decorated dolls representing all of the countries of the world. These are no ordinary dolls. They have big rounded heads with sweet faces. They are all engaged in fantastic activities related to their specific countries, whether it's doing the cancan in France, riding a surfboard in Tahiti or ice-fishing.. (somewhere cold?). Add some hanging from balloons and kites and throw a bunch of glitter around... let them all sing the small world song over and over again and you've got it.
So how does a five year old re-create this? This was long before the era of over indulgent parenting and Extreme Home Makeover. All I had to go on was my imagination and whatever craft supplies and junk I could find. My mom was really good at happily saying, "Just make do." So I grabbed some yarn, an old shoebox and a discarded sock. In my head- this was PERFECT! It was going to be just great! In actuality, it was a pathetic mess. I stuffed the sock, drew a face on it and placed it on a shoe box lid, which I attempted to make into a swing. I hung the whole atrocity by the light fixture on the ceiling, and stepped back to survey my work. It just wasn't what I imagined it would be. I even tried humming the song, hoping that might make up for my lack of artistic skill. I wanted to cry.
Fast forward a few decades. I am still imagining. I still attempt to create. I have better supplies now, and a whole lot more practice. Sometimes it works. But there are still days when it doesn't quite match what I had in my head. I'll indulge myself and listen to the clamor in my head of "your just not good enough". I'll think over the rejections I've received from various galleries and shows and question whether or not this is what I am called to do. Some days I still want to cry. And then that still, small voice breaks through the cacophony. "I love you, my child. You are made in my image, which includes my creativity. Rest in this. Rely on me. Don't worry what others think or say. Talk to me as you paint. Paint for me alone."
I open His word and stumble across 1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me completely. Somehow this resonates. I am not sure of God's plans for me or for my art. Will He open doors for me in this world of art? Will art support me financially? Will He use it? I don't know. I do know that I need to keep making art until He tells me not to. I will continue to imagine. God gives me this. I will hang out with Him and paint. I will try to hear His voice over the voices in the world. Will there be days when I try to go it alone? Certainly. Will I paint for accolades and the approval of others. Probably. Will the skill level keep up with the imagination? Not always. Will He wait patiently with arms wide open, ready to forgive me and Hang out once again. undoubtedly.