Not Creative Enough
BY JESSICA LAWSON
Disclaimer: Before reading this,
I recommend you listen to the song
"Atlas One" by Sleeping at Last
... and also maybe after you finish.
There was a group of us in our middle school who would sit on the curb in our neighborhood to take a rest from skateboarding, or in my case, from watching everyone else skateboard. Amongst idle adolescent chit-chat, someone would ask the question, “What’s your biggest fear?”
The ocean, clowns, spiders, being alone … I made up an answer.
A similar scene played at a high school sleepover. It was all movies and sleeping bags, chocolate and giggles until around 4 hours past normal sleeping hours when someone asked the same question: “What are you afraid of?”
Only this time the answers were slightly more developed and complicated:
my parents getting a divorce, my boyfriend breaking up with me, failing one too many tests, not making the varsity team, etc.
I made up an answer.
Throughout life, I’ve heard some amazing responses to this timeless question. Some of them I empathize with, some I’m so thankful I don’t have, and some spur me to intercede in prayer against lie-covered fears. I've grown fascinated with others' answers because I couldn't see all along why I couldn't give an answer — I was afraid to give the wrong answer.
But I heard a lyric the other day:
“Hold on for a minute
I believe that we can fix this over time
that every imperfection is a lie.
or at least an interruption ...”
I wept. The lyrics continued:
"now hold on, let me finish.
no, I’m not saying perfect exists in this life,
but we’ll only know for certain if we try."
I bawled harder and hit the floor. Why did these words impact me so deeply? What ache were they speaking to? Why have I never paid attention to this ache before?
In the days following my emotional breakdown, I found myself busied with projects. But every time I let my mind settle from the rushing about, I found the background music was that song.
“I want to sing a song worth singing
I want to write an anthem worth repeating”
As I worked on different assignments and tasks requiring different things of me, this song played in my mind:
"but the list goes on forever,
of all the ways I could be better, in my mind."
I guess I never mentioned that I’m a freelancer. I’m a photographer (It has taken me three years to be able to say that sentence with confidence).
What else can I do? Well, my LinkedIn says I can write, I have endorsements in being an editor, and I guess I can help with graphic design needs. In fact, a project I was in charge of in college won a national award ... so yeah, my resume does says that.
"as if I could earn God’s favor given time,
or at least “congratulations”..."
Why can’t I just say it: “I’m a writer”? Why can’t I claim the title of Artist? Why is it so difficult for me to present to different situations the talents I have?
What am I afraid of?
"Now, I have learned my lesson;
the price of this so-called perfection is everything.
I’ve spent my whole life searching desperately"
Being 25 years of age and spending three years as a freelancer I am finally able to answer the decade-old question with truthfully:
I’m afraid of not being creative, artistic, clever, sharp. I'm afraid I'm not enough.
I’ve always held whatever I've created to a standard I could never reach. I fabricated a status that my humanness could never attain to, resulting in the devaluing of my talents and the degradation of my growth in creativity.
See, the fallacy of fear, in regards to being creative, is that it disarms the inspiration of truth. We can not create if we do not first understand who we are. We are the creation and we can never be more creative than the Creator. It is from the Creator that all creativity is given.
“I'll hold it all more loosely,
and yet somehow much more dearly,"
Why fear compelled me for so many years of my life was because without knowing what I was afraid of, I couldn't conquer it. Fear always has a name. Sometimes it's Perfection, sometimes it's Laziness, and sometimes it's just raw Pride. But whatever it is, we have to be quick to name it.
"‘cause I’ve spent my whole life searching desperately"
When we name what our fear is we can release it unto to the Silencer of all fears. We are no longer held back. And in the context of creating, when our fear is silenced, we can freely use our gifts to sing against fear in the melody of truth.
"to find out that grace requires nothing.
grace requires nothing of me."