a letter to a young artist

Dear Young Artist

 

Dear Young Artist,

It feels strange and uncomfortable in a way for me to be writing to you because I feel like a young artist myself. Not in terms of age, but in respect to practice and calling and purpose.

I have so much to learn.

I suppose that is my first point. As you grow into your craft and practice it more, a feeling of competency and arrival will probably never accompany it.

It’s like when I first brought twins home from the hospital – I couldn’t believe the doctors and nurses allowed me to take them. Shouldn’t a responsible grown up be in charge? But I looked around and my husband did too and all we saw was each other.

We didn’t feel capable but we didn’t have time to wait for our feelings to catch up with our reality. There was too much work to do.

If you are waiting to feel qualified, certified or professional, stop. Give yourself permission to work from your smallness, from your humility and your humanity . . . visit Be Small Studios to read the rest of this letter.

My friend Annie Barnett (different from Annie Downs – I love me some girls named Annie) is starting a new series on her blog, Letters to a Young Artist, and she invited me to join in. The series was inspired by this letter written by Makoto Fujimura. I enjoyed writing this letter, though after I sent it to her I thought of about a hundred different things I wish I had said instead. But part of the process is deciding to call something finished even though it isn’t exactly how you want it to be. Visit Annie to read the finished letter.

Comments

  1. says

    This is a great post. I teach a Bible study, and tonight, my topic actually has something to do with this type of feeling. Sometimes God calls us to do something, gives us a gift in a certain area, but we are never fully confident. It can be a good thing at times, but can also hold us back from walking in what He wants for us, as well.
    I have twins also! They are four. I can so relate to what it was like bringing them home and feeling unsure.
    Thanks for the post.
    Jennifer´s last blog post ..Enter the Land

  2. says

    As a fellow young artist (Not in terms of age, but in respect to practice and calling and purpose :) ), I want to thank you for digging in, finding grace and putting down these words that almost always echo my heart. God uses you – like a mentor and friend – to encourage, challenge and spur me on as I pursue Him. He’s leading (always leading) and this place creates more light for my path. Thank you. (and let’s be friends)
    Carrie Rogers´s last blog post ..Silenced? Maybe.

  3. says

    Hi Emily!

    I recently found your blog (I recently starting blogging), and it is so inspirational to me :)
    I love this post, it was just what I needed to hear, especially this sentence:

    “If you are waiting to feel qualified, certified or professional, stop. Give yourself permission to work from your smallness, from your humility and your humanity.”

    Thank you for sharing! xx
    Kadi´s last blog post ..A story of how a girl named Kadi chose her blog title.

  4. Karla Neese says

    I don’t consider myself an artist but have always wanted to be one. But for all of my life I’ve never given myself permission to just start. This post is so applicable to all of life, isn’t it? In every area of our lives we have a tendency to think and act as if we have to know it all, be it all, do it all before we can start anything. It’s led me to many years of being stuck and not moving forward. But in recent years, perhaps since turning 40 two years ago, I’ve realized that just starting something is the biggest hurdle. And perhaps the biggest qualification in all of this is just being willing to do it afraid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge