Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Be Kind...Even to Yourself

Be Kind
Do you have a problem being kind to yourself?  I do.  It's easier for me to encourage others than it is to lift myself up.

If you've read some of my past blogs, you know that at the age of 58 I made a prayerful decision (along with my husband) to actively pursue a life-long desire. . . illustrating and writing children's picture books. Then and now I believe God has called me to do this. I've been at it almost a year now, taking some classes, researching, building a portfolio, honing my skills, being part of a group of writers/illustrators.  You would think I would have moved up the ladder.  However....

Two weeks ago I was in a large book store in the children's section looking for a birthday gift for one of my granddaughters.  When I stood surveying the wall of children's books and seeing some wonderful treasures of beautiful illustrations, stories and indescribable talent I was suddenly overwhelmed.  Tears stung my eyes and I thought, "why does the children's book world need the likes of my drawings or stories?  The self-doubts flooded my thoughts and I slid down the ladder.

On the ride home my husband said, 'you're awfully quiet...watcha' thinking?'  I told him what happened and the question I asked, "why does the children's book world need the likes of  me?  He said, "and what was your answer to the question?"  Big help.   I expected a little more encouragement, a little more bolstering of my ego.  But his question also irritated me because I had no response.  *sigh*

For two weeks the  question has plagued me.  Well, truth be told - it's the answer to the question that is haunting me.   If I can't answer with something like, "because I have a supremely unique gift of talent, imagination and delightful insight" then maybe I don't have what it takes.  Just because I like to draw and tell stories may not be enough if I don't believe people will like what I do.

I've never been a self promoter.  I'll show my art or stories to my family, but beyond I'm pretty timid. When my daughter said, 'Mom, you need to start a blog to promote yourself,' I asked why?  and if you look at the number of posts here, you know I'm still not convinced people would really want to hear my thoughts.  I have friends and family who are all wonderfully encouraging, yet I think, 'well, they just say nice things so they won't hurt my feelings.'

Then today when I was emailing a completed drawing to my art class for an online critique something clicked.  The title of the drawing, "Be Kind" is from Ephesians 4:32, "And be ye kind one to another..."  If another aspiring artist would have voiced the same doubts to me  I would have been all over them with  encouragement and affirmations.  Yet I wasn't doing that for myself.   I'm usually a glass half-full type of person, yet here I was draining my own glass with discouragement and doubt.

I was also doubting God. Oh-oh.   That's never a good thing. I was doubting that this is his purpose for me.   Proverbs 3:26 states  For the Lord shall be [my] confidence, and shall keep [my] foot from being taken...e.g. slipping down on the ladder.

So - I've decided, I will be kind to myself.  I will give myself affirmation, encouragement and believe that God has called me to pursue this for his glory. ...and if once in a while you want to send me a little kind note, or a thumbs up, I'll accept it as genuine.  I am going to firmly plant my feet on the ladder rungs and move up with the Lord as my confidence.  

And my answer to the question? 1 Peter 4:11   ". . . if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."     .

And now I have to quickly post this because I'm beginning to think it's not very interesting or something you would want to read......grrr......Okay - I need to quickly memorize Prov. 3:26.


  1. I love this post. I don't read to the end of blogs that are boring. Since I read to the end of yours, I guess I wasn't bored. Self-doubt is normal. It means you're a writer, and in your case, you have double the self-doubt because you're an illustrator, too. Keep on learning, writing, drawing, and growing. Your unique message IS needed in the marketplace, and when it gets to the right place at the right time, the marketplace will be all the better for it. Keep us posted!

  2. Oh, Genevieve, how wonderful of you to say what you did!! It means so much - your words are a blessing. The other scripture that encouraged me was Isaiah 42:6, I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles. If I, thru God, can make a difference to one child, or one person and let them see the light I will feel fulfilled.

  3. All of us face self-doubt, it is especially true in the writing industry. With so much rejection, it is only natural. But we have to remember that everyone brings something unique to the table, and your talents can find their niche. I love your picture at the start of the post, I assume it is a creation of yours. Well done!