Nothing is as simple as it seems
Five InSpero artists (Amy Grimes, Gina Hurry, Melanie Morris, Sally Powell, Tricia Robinson) created art together around a central theme. Their show, BraveHearts: Become Who You Already Are, was displayed at West Elm at the Summit in February.
People came and commented, “Wow! Beautiful. Glad it’s so ‘easy’ for them. I couldn’t do that.” They were clueless--nothing about this show was easy for these artists or for me as their soul-tender.
Journeys often start naively.
Gina Hurry dreamed of creating with this group of artists for years. I came along as a spiritual shepherd and encourager. The six of us met over many months to consider what it meant to be women finding their voices and creating together.
The first theme we chose exposed one artist’s deepest wounding. We regrouped and changed directions. Another artist was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks into the process. She wanted to drop out, not knowing what would come. We wouldn’t let her. There were surprise attacks on faith. Health struggles. Family pressures. Toxic fumes (literally). And Snowmaggedon I and II (two snow storms back to back which shut our fair Southern city down).
The inner battles are worse. Can you relate?
These were not the biggest struggles the artists faced—or that I face. Or you face. The biggest battles are inside, where no one else sees. For you it may not be creating art, but about showing up and offering the world, or those around you, the deepest part of who you are.
Here are some of the internal battles these artists faced:
Fear. Facing the empty canvas. Can I do this? Past success doesn’t matter, only the blank slate and a silent heart. Waiting for the “muse” to come.
In what way do you fear you won't be able to come through?
Full-out exposure. Art=Vulnerability. As you look at a piece of art, you peer into the artist’s (often super-sensitive) soul. With each painting, they risk rejection, misunderstanding, or worst of all--indifference.
Where are you feeling exposed?
Comparison. The artist faces the strange conflict of feeling the pressure to be unique and being compared to the “norm.” When you start the comparing game, you will never be enough.
Where are you battling the feeling that you’ll never measure up?
Can you relate to any of these "voices?"
Being a “BraveHeart” means--even with the voices in your head and from the people around you--you still put yourself out there. Here are some of the struggles the artists expressed as they brought their art to the show:
“I’m battling not-enough-ness.”
“I picture myself as a much more daring artist.”
“Who will rescue me from self condemnation and shame? Why is it so hard to communicate by way of painting?”
“I always feel like a fake. I know it is insecurity and the evil one trying to stop me from expressing God's creation.”
“I heard this major critic in my head the whole time.”
“Why has it been so hard? I want to say so much more about being free in my paintings! I see in my mind what I want to go for and then I fall short.”
“I feel like I wore the wrong dress to the ball and I am not beautiful enough.”
“As I brought my art, I battled feeling insignificant, and that no one would see or ‘hear’ my paintings. I wore the dress I was meant to, but what if no one likes me? What if they think I don't belong?”
“I feel like everyone will roll their eyes at the dress I chose.”
So don't just look at these beautiful paintings, think about the battle behind them, and the courage it took to be vulnerable. Beautiful. Brave. But never easy.
BraveHeart Voice Lessons
Why are we are drawn to watching the Olympics? Maybe it's because these "BraveHeart" athletes put themselves on display for the whole world to see. One slip, and it's over. No one sees all the work, the failure, the falling, the sacrifice. BraveHearts go full-out with all they have, realizing failure is only a stroke of the skate or the paintbrush away. But they keep showing up.
In what way do you long to be out there?
Hear the voice of truth: Therefore there is no condemnation. There is no comparison. Hear God whisper to you as He did to His Son: You are my beloved in whom I am well pleased.
God sees your courage as you offer back to the world what he has given you.
Ann Voskamp says, “The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.”
You have worn the perfect dress to the ball.
Don't let the stepsisters in your head (or the "real" ones in your world) force you off the ballroom floor.
Get out there and dance.
For whatever battle you are facing, hear this:
You are brave.
You are beautiful.
You are enough.
You are bringing light to the world.