….Now, we come back to reality. That isn’t really how life works, is it? Instead, we have to work through a process and slowly get better or painfully wash the cat pee off our bedding.
Often, the mess and all the processes of life make us frustrated, sad, or downright mad (guilty as charged). But, as someone who has struggled with perfectionism, insecurity, and fear of failure, I would argue that in reality, the processes of life are one of the most beautiful things God has given us.
Let me give you an example. Just last week, I was painting a card with all these different flowers on it, surrounding the lettering. I had the vision in my head, I knew what I wanted, I just had to make it happen on paper. Easy enough, right? Well, not exactly. After around 20 minutes of puttering it looked NOTHING like what I thought it would in my head. At all. If I’m perfectly honest, it looked like one of those gardens that belongs to someone without a green thumb. So, what did I do? If this scenario happened two or three years ago, I likely would have started a spiral of shame in my head, “How come I can’t get this right? Why isn’t it perfect? Am I just not a good enough artist?” And then, I probably would have given up. In my mind, if it wasn’t perfect, then it wasn’t worth doing.
Thanks to the grace of God, I’m different now and that is not the approach I took. Instead, I kind of looked at it, tilted my head a bit to get a better angle, and kept painting. Yes, I had the perfect excuse to let shame through the back door but instead, I trusted the process and kept going, even though it wasn’t perfect and it didn’t look exactly as I imagined it would. As it turned out, the design ended up even BETTER than I pictured in my mind; simply because I kept going.
I have many other stories that don’t end this way. Sometimes, the design really is a disaster. Sometimes, it’s okay but doesn’t quite meet my standard. And, sometimes, I still do give up even when I should have kept going.
But, I wanted to share with all of you the beauty that is in the process. In life, some of my most difficult processes, like dealing with insecurity, have had the most wonderful results. God uses the really hard stuff to help us grow and rely on Him. If we just wave a wand and everything is perfect, we lose all the growth, character development, and reliance on the Master Painter along the way. Failure is not final. It’s okay to mess up and it’s okay not to be perfect. God uses our mistakes and redeems them for our good and His glory. If we only strive for perfection, we won’t get anywhere. It’s like grabbing water or chasing wind. It’ll only leave us tired, exhausted, and with nothing to show for all the effort.
But, in trusting the process and in trusting the direction God is leading (even if it doesn’t look like what we thought it would), we can find strength in Him to keep going. The process in itself is beautiful, even though it’s not perfect.
So, next time you find yourself overwhelmed by all the mess and craziness and imperfection, I’d just encourage you to realize the value in the process and the beauty there. Some days, it’ll be harder than others, but the more we look for the beauty of God’s hand, the more we’ll learn to see it.
Hi, I'm Abigail Dorn, the founder and director of Arts With Love.
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