As I stood in the office several years ago and heard the words from my boss say, “Sorry we have to let you go” was I believe the most fearful I have ever been. The tears while driving home to my kids were beyond my control. And then out of the blue, I’d swim out too far and get caught in a riptide, a wave of doubt and anxiety crushed me. Although I have always trusted my journey at that very moment I’d felt stuck, unable to move.
However I did not let that consume me. Can I be honest with you? Sometimes, it still feels this way. There are moments of complete peace and content. We keep in our lane, eyes straight ahead, one foot swiftly in front of the other. We fight back the lies in our head and refuse to give fear a seat at the table. And just like that, we’re back down. We decide to sit this one out. Figuring it’d be best if we just stayed on the bench and kept real quiet. Forget the art, forget all of it.
I realized at that very moment in the car as emotions almost got the best off me that this was a path God has me on for a reason and I will make the best of it. Anytime we walk in the direction of our dreams there will be pushback. Some friends might cheer us on while others don’t really understand. Colleagues could be both proud and disappointed. Family may offer advice that leaves us restless and confused. I get it, I’m right there with you.
What I want for me and you is to keep going. I want us to keep walking forward, one step at a time. Easier said than done though, right? But what I’m slowly finding, through trial and error, through falling to my knees and getting back up again, are a few ways to keep pressing on.
First, find what keeps you tethered. It’s much easier to trip when we aren’t walking on solid ground. I find so much of my fear stems from forgetting who I am and how I was made. When I’m secure in that place, the words flow. I’m less wrecked by criticism or negativity. For me, that looks like morning pages and quiet meditation. It means sitting on my couch with palms faced up and open, asking the Spirit to meet me there. I often do this multiple times a day to remember I’m capable, fiercely loved, and wonderfully made.
You’re enough you know, just as you are, with or without making a single piece of art again. Let that settle in your bones just a little.
Second, prioritize the things that keep you well. We live in a world that celebrates hustle and success. We measure worth and importance by busyness and outputs. There are seasons of hustle but most often, we just do the best we can with the few hours we’ve got.
Third, keep investing in your craft amidst all the pressure and what it looks like. As we move into our vocation more seriously, particularly when it becomes our full time pursuit, it’s easy to allow the pressure of “shoulds” and “by nows” and “do it this way” become our mantra. Don’t let the critics fool you. Hang tight. We’re in this together. Light is just around the corner, we just have to keep walking forward. And that art you make, the one that tugs at your heart and keeps you up at night, is needed and necessary here.