I never thought that I would be the type of person that would bottle up emotions and try to forget about them.
For most of my life, I’ve been a brutally honest, self-reflective and intentional person. Those attributes come with upsides and downsides, of course: I knew myself really well but I would criticize and critique others to the point of damage. It’s cost me relationships and opportunities I could have had to grow closer to people.
Self reflection, then, became something I didn’t like about myself. Last year, I stopped journaling. My brain made the connection and believed that my pursuit of self reflection and knowing who I was was the thing making me judgmental. The thing causing me to hurt those around me.
I’ve since spent the time I use to spend writing and pressing into honesty and growth, consuming and consuming and consuming. TV Shows, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, music. I’ve been hiding from myself and hiding from my own thoughts. And it’s caused me to become paralyzingly idle.
I’ll phrase it this way: It’s like I’m driving in a car, trying to get to this destination. A great destination, one worth making the trip to. But I got halfway there and realized I was going in the opposite direction. So instead of turning around and going the correct direction, I just stopped the car altogether. I’m not going anywhere, certainly not to the great destination.
That’s what I’ve felt like recently. A stopped car. I’m in the driver’s seat, so it’s no one’s fault but my own. I have, both intentionally and unintentionally, kept myself idle. I have seldom written, journaled honestly, prayed or made artwork that wasn’t cynical.
You know, it’s the small things, the things underneath everything that we project to the world, that really matter. If you know me, the things I just described don’t really sound like me. I’ve grown in my pursuit to be more encouraging and positive this year. I try to make beautiful things and project a happy persona. And it’s not that that persona is fake, by any means. I love serving people and being positive. I feel so alive when I help people and feel like I’m contributing to the world in a good way.
There are just some things I haven’t dealt with properly. Things that are slowly creeping back in and trying to take over. I know I need to give my worries and doubts to Jesus, He’s the only thing that can really correct these issues I am facing. But you know? Sometimes I’m no different than the people I try to fix. I’m just as stubborn and doubtful. It’s funny how that works.
This is a verse from a song I wrote a few years ago…
I’m looking for a remedy
in all the wrong places
I’m trying to find love
in all these empty faces
I know I need to turn to You
I know I have nothing to lose
but I’m a coward and a fake
and when You don’t give me what I want
I turn the other way
Here’s what I know: I’m human. I’m trying. Maybe I’ve been idle, but I haven’t given up. I haven’t turned the car off and I haven’t gotten out. I’m still here. I’m still trying. I know I want to love people well. I want to embody the peace and joy that I know I can have through knowing Christ. I also know that I can’t do that unless I know myself, too. Self reflection is necessary, and so is giving up control to God. I’ve been trying really hard at one of those things, but never both at the same time. They sound contradictory, I know. But if there’s one thing I know about God, it’s that He always asks us to do stuff that might look silly to those around us.
I think that once I can be honest with myself - really come to terms with how I feel, even if those feelings are ugly - I can finally give my whole self up to God, and He can heal the wounds I’ve been trying to fix myself.
Being an artist is difficult, but being an artist who feels like they can’t make anything is even more difficult. I’ve sat idle for so long, bottling emotions and thoughts and feelings, thinking they make me “more interesting” or that they “give me more of a personality.” But that’s just BS and I know it.
I know I’m creative and I know I am capable of making artwork that will blow people’s minds. But I’m not going to get there unless I see creating as a way to express and be healed, not just a way to heal others and look cool. When I can give up control of my life and my endeavors and let God work through me and my creativity, that’s when I think I’ll be able to feel free again.