Yay! My first artist interview posted today on My Creative Peace, the place where Robin Norgren blogs about art inspired and fueled by faith. She posted my illustration, "Big Girl Shoes" along with the interview, and even though I painted that watercolor piece three years ago (when I was pregnant with Eowyn) it was only when I saw it on Robin's blog today that I realized that this is how I feel so much of the time: like a knobbly-kneed little girl--cute and sweet and all that--but totally oblivious to the fact that I'm not really as "grown up" as I think I am.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about this quote from Martha Graham:
"You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive."
Do you ever feel like this--that sometimes it seems like the gift of creativity also comes with the "curse" of thinking destructively--"my art isn't good enough," "I wish I could paint (write, dress, cook, mother) like she does," "maybe I should just quit." I like how Martha Graham suggests that maybe we could turn this kind of thinking around, look at as "divine dissatisfaction" rather than as a curse--an indication that we are always seeking divine Perfection and Beauty.
This is how my "destructive thinking" often reads:
What kind of a mom and wife am I, really? Sometimes when Tobias comes home from work and swings the girls around the kitchen while I'm making dinner, I have this strange sensation that we really are still teenagers, just playing house. HOW IN THE WORLD IS IT POSSIBLE that we are responsible for these two precious little lives???
Where does my art fit in to this huge world of creative people trying to express themselves? Do I actually have something unique to say--a message that means something--and the creativity and skill to back it up?
Who do I think I am--this shy American girl living in Germany, trying to build a life and relationships while using a language that's not yet my own and doesn't make it easy for me to be myself (which, let's face it, isn't an easy thing for most people anyway). Why did I ever think I could make it on my own, so far away from my best friends and dear family who are the ones who have always reminded me of who I am? How could I ever have abandoned them???
You know what? These are all hard questions, but they're good questions when I remember that though I may never know the answers, I know the One who DOES have the answers. I hope I never lose that feeling of being a little girl facing a big world--because I know my Daddy loves me and is holding my hand, has ordained my steps and has it all figured out. He has a purpose for all of us--and we can use whatever "destructive" questions that plague us as opportunities to say YES to Jesus, to trust rather than to worry.
"He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30 NLT).
It's an uncomfortable feeling most of the time, yes. Most little girls dream of being confident, sophisticated women, inside and out--but I'm afraid I will always just be myself. And whatever that looks like to others--to me it means to always be the wide-eyed little girl in pigtails (yes, still, even though I'll be 31 next month)! As long as I stay small, God can show Himself to be BIG--to work in mighty ways on my behalf--in my life with my family, in my art, in all of my relationships (whether I'm good at nurturing them or not). He's brought me this far, and He sure won't leave me now!!!
Thank you for the interview, Robin! I enjoyed your questions, and the way they helped me write about my adventure of becoming--and becoming, and becoming, and STILL (forever) becoming--an artist!