This year is moving past at a terrifying speed! To quote my husband: "Last year this time it was only March!!" Yet, despite the days rushing past, I have felt trapped in limbo, a bit like this butterfly trapped in the cage, neither here nor there, feeling dissatisfied, as if something was amiss despite having everything to rejoice about.
I have not been able to put words to this feeling, until this week, when a few of us got together and started talking about where we were heading with our art. My very talented artist friend said that she realized that she was not an artist; she was not good enough to be one. I was astounded, how could she say something like that when she often have people wanting to buy her paintings, getting commissions and having people ask her to do exhibits. It was clear that she was listening to the voice of her inner critic, as well as to the opinion of others, instead of listening to the voice of the Lord. She was trapped in self-doubt.
Suddenly it dawned on me that the feeling I had was a feeling of being trapped myself. Trapped, not by circumstance, not by physical conditions or limitations, but trapped by my own thoughts, doubts and ideas imposed on me by others.
I realized that it has been 5 months since my last blog entry, and 8 months that this feeling has grown and taken on a shape all of its own. Why? What happened? All it took was one wordless comment. A reaction to the unspeakable words that I dared utter:"I have come to realize that the Lord has given me the talent to write." That one look said it all: What?! How dare you think that God can give you such a talent? Who are you! How dare you be so conceited?! I felt so ashamed for saying those words out loud, because indeed, who was I to claim that the Lord would endow me with something like that. I felt like running away, unsaying those words, hiding away. And hiding away was exactly what I did, I stopped writing, I found all sorts of excuses why I am not writing - I am too busy, I am not feeling well, it's too cold in the study, etc, etc, etc!! Yet the real reason I hid even from myself. I was too scared, too afraid to be revealed as a fraud, frightened to be found inadequate.
However, this was bigger than self-doubt, it was worse than my own fear, it was to doubt God, it was unbelief in God’s grace, distrust in His plan for my life. I had more faith in somebody else’s opinion of me than in God’s opinion of me, the Creator of all, even little old me. I chose to listen to the voice (the look) of a mortal person rather than trusting God’s message, His inspiration. After all, I know that it is not me, who is so great or so talented, but it is the Lord who gives me the words to write, He inscribes them on my heart, I am just the vehicle He uses to put the words to paper, the brushstrokes on the canvas. And THAT is something I may not allow anybody to take away from me.
Who is to blame for me not writing? That one person whose look said it all? My parents for maybe not encouraging me? No, it is I who is to blame. It is so easy to give up, to accept a lie, for then all I have to do is nothing. Doing nothing means that no-one can criticize me, nobody can comment on my writing, pull it apart, laugh at it. But the other side of the coin is also true, nobody can be touched by it, receive a message, hear my testimony, experience a lifting of the spirit.
For many decades I have struggled to get to this point, to even consider that the Lord had given me a talent as I thought myself too worthless, but finally I started crawling out of my self imposed cage and spreading my wings. I dare not hide away again; it is time to leave the safety of the cage behind once and for all!
Do you feel trapped by self-doubt, others’ opinions of you, past experiences? Then I invite you to throw the shackles off, dust off your wings and come fly with me! You are meant to live and to live life fully in all the glory that the Lord has bestowed on you!! After all, there is nobody like YOU!