Have you seen this quote?
Go ahead. It’s long. I’ll wait.
I’ve seen it pop up here and there lately. And I love it.
It’s hugely encouraging… Much of the work I do feels a little disappointing to me. At the beginning of the year, I took inventory of the things that were life-giving to me: the things that, in a very real and basic way, are what God has wired me to do. And I’ve been at least a little bit intentional in making more space in my crazy life to actually do those things. But when I look at the finished product, it never quite lives up to what I’d envisioned.
And then I am tempted to quit sometimes. I mean, not quit quit- because I really like feeling alive and living from who I was made to be, so I always come back… eventually. But I frequently find myself kind of moving away from the creative and distracting myself in all the details of keeping my life and my home moving. I can always find somewhere to put my attention… my to-do list is months long.
For me, this idea, the need to push through the work until reality matches the vision, is just the excuse I’ve been looking for to just go ahead and do my thing, even when I don’t love what comes of it. Because maybe it’ll get there. (Ohmygoodness, is that quote the longest possible way to say “practice makes perfect”? Maybe. Don’t care. Still love it.) So I’m going to write more. Shoot more. Sing more.
And yeah, maybe it’ll stay kinda… meh. Maybe I’ll always be frustrated by the difference between what I made and what I wanted to make. Maybe the words won’t always come out as well as I wanted and the pictures will still fall far short of capturing the glory I was hoping for. Maybe the high notes are always going to be out of range. None of that’s fully within my control. Not all small things become big things. (…to shamelessly rip off Emily Freeman. Again.) This is fine. But it will always be mediocre if I don’t go ahead and do it. And while I’m putting in the time, waiting to see if I’m ever actually happy with what it is I’m making, I get to do the stuff I love.
As I write this, it occurs to me that I worship God in my creativity. The God who created me made me in His image, which includes, among other things… wait for it… creativity. In living that out, I agree with him that the ways He created me to reflect Him are good and right. Offering that back is an act of worship. And it’s the creating itself that reflects Him. Not necessarily what comes of it. Do I want to do lousy work? No. But is my best a good offering to him? Absolutely.
This makes me think of my girls. (Like usual.) They’re only 17 months apart, both preschool. So they’re each learning to draw, and the developmental difference that 17 months makes is pretty clear. I can see my oldest concentrating hard on drawing whatever she’s drawing. She’s focusing on doing it “just perfect.” But I honestly don’t value her attempts at perfect any more or any less than the picture that her little sister colored “all rainbowy.” I can see them getting better, even when they can’t. And the thing that’s valuable to me is the effort they are clearly putting into creating, and the joy I see in them as they do.
So maybe it doesn’t matter if I’m a little frustrated at the scribbles I make. I’ll keep trying and I’ll keep improving. Only God knows whether my drawing of a dog will ever look like an actual dog I have in my mind. That’s not really my concern right now. The thing that’s mine to do right now is simply busting out the crayons and printer paper.
So how about you? Are there areas of creativity that you dabble in, but kind of distance yourself from? Is your desire for perfection and inability to attain it keeping you from being the creative that you were made to be? Please don’t let it. We need your gifts. The world isn’t the same without them.
Here’s to good taste and good-enough art.