“It matters not what my abilities may be then, provided that I possess you, Lord. Do what you will with this insignificant creature. Whether it be that I should work, or become inspired, or be the recipient of your impressions, it is all the same. Everything is yours, everything is from you and for you … Mine is to be satisfied with your work and not to demand the choice of action or condition, but to leave everything to your good pleasure.”
Jean-Pierre deCaussade, The Joy of Full Surrender
This is one of my favorite quotes, because it speaks about the way that I want to live as an artist. As an artist, it's really easy to become drained and discouraged if my heart isn't in the right place. There have been many times where I have considered my artistic efforts to be unsuccessful because all I can focus on is how much I feel like I'm failing. The funny thing is, many times my worries don't have any basis in reality. But unless I focus on something other than my failures, the reality of my work will never be noticed by me.
Here's one way that we can focus on something other than our failures: focus on what a blessing it is to have the artistic abilities that we do. To think, even though there are millions of people in the world, God has given each artist unique abilities. There's a key word in that: unique. It's not going to help us if we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. Each of those people who we compare ourselves to is at a different stage in their artistic development. Considering that, it's pretty foolish to compare ourselves to others.
Whatever our abilities are, they mean nothing if we do not use them to glorify the one who gave them to us. Focusing on making my work perfect, or being as good as those as those around me, is no way to use my abilities. The only thing it's "good" for is to distract me from what a blessing all the abilities that God has given me are.
Looking at the quote from The Joy of Full Surrender, I think that Jean-Pierre deCaussade understood the importance of putting God before insecurities. When we possess God, when He is first in our lives, we have something greater than praise from the people around us. Whether or not we are praised for our abilities, we know that we are honoring God with them. That gives us more strength than confidence in our abilites ever could.
What can we do to make sure that we are not bogged down by our "lack of" abilities, or our insecurities? Allowing ourselves to take some time each day to spend time in the Word and in prayer really allows our minds and hearts to get in to the right place.
One of the other things that I've been doing is printing out my favorite verses and placing them in places where I'm definitely going to see them. One of the best places I have decided to place a verse was on my pencil case.
I hope that others find this quote as encouraging as I do. I end with a verse that I came across this morning:
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans."- Psalm 118:8