An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it personally. Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does. Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another. ~Seth Godin
When I was 16 years old, I was asked to speak at an FCA camp and share the story of how I came to faith. I remember getting motion sick on the rickedy bus that wound around country roads because I was feverishly writing out my heart on a red spiral bound notebook, jotting down things I didn’t want to forget to say. I wrote FCA is huge bubble letters on the cover of the notebook and filled every page with doodles and journal entries and bubble letters and feeble attempts at angsty high school poetry. I carried that notebook around like it was a baby, often clutching it to my chest while I walked between buildings at the camp. I kept that notebook for 25 years until our house fire.
Why? Because it was the first “art” I remember offering to the world. It was the first time I shared my story and the first time I saw the power of offering my heart and creativity to other people. Pretty soon I bought my first glue gun and was making fabric covered journals and photo albums and spending HOURS getting it all just right. Then I learned to cross stitch. Then I learned to sew. And pretty soon, I saw what a gift it is to use your own hands and your own ideas to love your people. So when I make soup? That’s my personal gift of art. When I redecorate my bedroom or write an essay or take a beautiful picture? I’m offering a personal gift, an act that I hope changes in some small way, the one who receives it. Here’s why I think you should offer your art, your work to the world.
It Sustains You
The things that I do that are creative—cooking, writing, knitting, sewing, gardening, decorating, etc—those things are sustaining. They give back as much as they require. They feed my soul and force me to be present in the moment. When I do things with my hands, it grounds me in the world and takes me out of my own head. There is nothing so comforting to me as to use the work of my hands to make something beautiful, meaningful. It’s a good antidote to the modern life of gadgets, constant communication, and running to and fro. I crave down time so I can use my hands to make something.
It Sustains Your People
So much of our art and work nourishes other people. We make food, we paint pictures, we write words, we grow vegetables, we make things pretty—we use the work of our hands to care for others, to inspire them, to love them. It’s the kind of thing money can’t buy. It’s the kind of personal gift that no one else can give to them in quite the same way and you do.
It Inspires Others to Do the Same
This is my favorite thing about blogging world. I’m so motivated, encouraged, and inspired by so many amazing women who are offering their gifts to us everyday—teaching us to cook, clean, organize, paint, write, save money, decorate, and a million other things. I’m so thankful for this space, for the people who are brave enough to do good work and share it. It make me want to do the same.
Melanie @ Carmel Moments says
Thanks so much for this! God’s been stirring something in my heart for the past 6 months. He’s encouraged me to step out and start making and selling something. I’ve been scared. I’ve been telling “I’m not good enough. Why would anyone want what I’m offering? There’s thousands of others who do something similar.”
And He just keeps confirming and encouraging me to go where he’s leading. So I am. I’ve taken the first few steps on this journey. I’m believing BIG that God knows I can do this because not only it’s in His strength but He has confidence in me.
Thanks for another confirmation to share my “work” with others.
Kimm at Reinvented says
Gosh Melanie, I was formulating my comment, then read yours, and now I just want to say “what she said.” 🙂 I need the confidence and hope that only comes from Him to put myself out there and share what I have to offer. Thank you!
Kimm at Reinvented says
And you, Edie, your words are always miraculously what I need to hear. There are people in my life that think that art and creative pursuits are “a waste of time”, but they are who I am. And listening to and acting on who I am is my most life changing goal this year. Thank you for always sharing your heart and sustaining your readers with your writing. Muah! 🙂
Alana in Canada says
Edie, thank you so much for your wise words. I am currently struggling with trying to become more minimalist–I kind of need it for my sanity. (Too much visual stimulation makesme antsy and crazy.) But what I want left, I want beautiful. That’s my “art.” Decorating sustains me. It gives to those around me. I hope it inspires others. Thanks for the reminder.
Awesome advice– it’s good not to underestimate the positive effect your work consistently has.
What happens when you offer your work to the world? Sometimes it is completely overlooked and unappreciated by others, and you feel more lonely and useless than ever before. But this is when you learn to find wholeness in the Lord only. You learn that you work for Him (not for appreciation or success or praise), that you matter to Him, that all glory belongs to Him, that it is good enough that He notices and appreciates all you do, that the rewards that really matter will be waiting for you in heaven, and that ‘give or take away’, His name is to be praised. Not a bad trade-off for a little earthly failure.
Hi Edie. I’ve been reading your blog for years (I have rarely commented). But today I realized that I had missed this post and Wow was it exactly what I needed to read. After months of debating, I’m feeling more encouraged to put my “art” out there for those around me. God’s timing in all things is perfect:) Thank you Edie for being one of the inspiring bloggers that encourages and motivates others!
mary casselman says
I happen to find ur site while looking at other crafts. I love your comments on how our creativity is important. I always struggle as one said- why Lord -is it so important when so many others are doing the same thing. But im going to step out and see where i will go from there.
Thank u. Hope to hear from you.
Thanks, Edie. I needed to read this in this season of trying to share with others!
Marci Cairns says
Sometimes our work is often offered to our family and is undervalued or taken for granted. I’ve offered my work to my church and it’s is so big, I’m not needed in the creative roles I enjoy. I’m looking to kick it up a notch some how, some way. I want my hands to help those who need it and value it. How do you go there? I’m praying, but right now, but am kind of stuck on these thoughts. Thank you for the encouragement, Edie.