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.