I spent time this past summer of 2016 with some of the most creative people I’ve ever met. They don’t all think of themselves that way though.
The goodness of their company has spilled right over into this autumn, and it’s hard for me to imagine feeling more stirred than I feel right now. They didn’t all know that’s how it would work out when they shared their struggles, fears and questions with me though.
It just is the way it works when you are made in the image of a Creator. Many of you who read my words do not think of yourself as creative. I think of you that way though.
I love that I get to write to fellow artists here. Whether creating on canvas, film, stringed instruments, in our children’s lives, or otherwise—I am enjoying journeying with you.
I’ve been thinking a lot about us as a group, and man do we often hate on ourselves. Being allowed to write here, allowing myself, and receiving your company as I literally write my way into healing, has been particularly healing on this note.
Creating is a humble work as we reach out beyond ourselves with hope. But I think sometimes the lines get blurred between humility and rejection of ourselves. Maybe the most when we lay down our pens, brushes and disengage from the relationships that scare us, seem beyond us.
Laying it down and saying, “I can’t” gets confused as humility when really we’re just rejecting ourselves. And for many of us more than that, it’s right down hate.
But humility is not hating ourself. Hating ourself is not humility. I wrote that twice because there is a certain group of us that needs to hear that again, and often.
The reason for that is because we’re heading somewhere new, so we have to think new thoughts. The old ones won’t do. They don’t work.
Humility says, “I am weak, but God is willing to be strong where I am weak.”
Hating myself says, “I am a failure”. I ask, “What was God thinking?”. But the truth? I don’t really want to know the answer, I’m not listening.
The truth is, when I am hating myself, I’m hating God too.
But hate never stops the romance of the best lovers. It’s in the best ballads, the way a man pursues a woman, proclaiming his love and desire even while she is far from him. I know we can’t adequately understand the love of God for us through the eyes of a man and woman. But, we can get hints of it.
Men can recognize the truth of how desire pursues, even when odds are against it. Women can feel the desire for it, to be loved, even in our unloveliness. Our own romances our flawed, but the story is true.
We’re found here with blood on our hands and the wrong idea that we need to bloody our knees to make recompense. We’re so wrong. That way of thinking isn’t new it’s the same garbage recycled. It’s all hate, hating ourselves, hating God.
There’s a line in the Bible that makes life with God sound so simple, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” *
And it is simple—with God.
Author Keren Hannah Pryor parallels the beauty of the seven flames of the lamp in the tabernacle (the symbol of God’s presence) with the seven Hebrew words that translate as, “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit”.
We’ve bought the lie that what is required is to look clean, sparkly and doing the right things. And if we’ve managed to get off that train it’s likely we jumped on the one going the opposite direction that says, you don’t have to do anything, change anything or hunger for anything.
Hunger, don’t hate. Letting ourselves hunger and thirst, not for some culturally defined version of perfection, but for righteousness, is humility. And humility is Someone else’s version of perfection. Jesus once said, “be perfect as I am perfect”, and later clarified exactly what he meant so we didn’t have to guess or get lost in shame. He said, “be merciful as I am merciful”.
Being merciful with ourselves, will show us the way to mercy and love for others. It’s true that there is a reason Jesus said, love your neighbor as yourself, it’s impossible to do otherwise!
So, if all this is true, wonderful! But we can’t lose the key—with God.
He lights our sacrifices, He makes the diamond in the rough sparkle. He knows where and how we can best be of service. We just need to stick close and enjoy the adventure: not hating ourselves, loving Him.
“Let mercy light mercy. I realize this is Your miracle and I need You.”
-From day seven of my book of prayers, Pray, Like a Woman in Labor
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I’m homeschooling my six kids, writing and finding beauty in the everyday through my camera lens, because I process life that way. It reminds me of truth and fills me with courage. I hope to share the same with others. Thanks for being here.
I wrote a prayerbook for mommas, the physical and the spiritual kind, and anyone with a hungry heart. Find out more here.