Always Beginning . . .
The humility of a beginner mixed with the joy, hope, and courage of an explorer . . . oh yes, that’s fresh air I’m breathing in.
I always find a beginner inspiring, in more cynical moments I can find it exhausting with thoughts of “how naive, they have no idea how hard it will be,” but in my clear eyed moments, there’s nothing more beautiful. Besides we all recognize when something gets hard, and then we decide . . . continue or quit.
This is the beauty of children – they willingly try again . . . and again while unashamedly making wonderful learning mistakes. They rise to meet the challenge, especially if they’ve been raised with an “I can,” attitude.
Time and time again I’m convicted of the need to be a continual beginner, an openness to learn versus “perfect” the first time or be “good.” And even if we did perfect _______ the first time, then what? Repeat? Move on to something else? What did we learn? How did we grow?
I started thinking about the most famous paintings in the world, you’ll recognize many of them easily, and about the greats of this art and various other fields, the people whose work we look up to and compare our own to.
And maybe that’s the issue – comparing. How often are we naively comparing ourselves, our work, etc., to others. Did they not have to begin? Is it even truly ours if we are modeling and aspiring to create like someone else? I think the goal of any artist would be to inspire and spark your own individuality, not to have others compare themselves to himself/herself. One thing I noticed about all these paintings was how vastly each one had it’s own style/voice.
What’s uniquely and originally waiting to birthed and emerge from you? Is it a book? Something artistic? Maybe the way you want to wear make up or cut your hair? Maybe just wanting to get into a sport for some weekend exercise that you haven’t played before. Or maybe it’s going against the grain (expectations for your age, area, etc.) with how you want to dress.
I believe there are many things lying dormant in all of us, waiting to breakthrough. I think we drown out these cries with busyness, stress, coffee, not getting enough sleep, not doing first things first, saying yes when we should say no to invitations/activities, etc., so that there’s no time to answer those calls of what your heart is daring you to do. Then there’s the other monster lurking far too confidently in too many minds . . . resistance/doubt. The lies that are so easily rehearsed, “You can’t do that, you have no experience, do you have the time/money to pursue that, who do you think you are, you remember that one time you tried and it didn’t work, that time has passed, you need to move on, you have too many responsibilities now __________,” and I’m sure there’s several more overused lines. Like bad pick up lines that have unfortunately worked far too many times. And leaving these lies unchallenged we slip back into mundane routine more upset than before, until a callous develops that helps us easily muffle the cries from our heart, and with an unexplained heaviness or disappointment/dissatisfaction that we can’t quite pinpoint, we continue on, until hopefully we’re reawakened or so uncomfortable we pinpoint the area of neglect and are faced with the question to begin or suffocate again?
One of the best questions I’ve heard to combat these doubts is, “Who said?” asked by Rick Warren. Who did say those things? And even if it was your 3rd grade teacher, father, or wife, etc., who said they were right?
How many times did Van Gogh paint “Starry Night?” How long had he been painting before then? And being that common art stores I imagine were sparse during that time, I imagine these great works of art took more time – creating canvas, paint, brushes, etc. More time than a trip to Hobby Lobby or an internet ‘how to look’ up. More time and more investment. So starting over took more too, but I suppose more is all prospective. If more is the cost of time/resources maybe it hurts, but if more is at the chance of getting it better, perhaps it’s with gratitude to invest the time/resources. And isn’t it interesting that Van Gogh considered “Starry Night,” a failure? So we can’t always trust our own judgement about what we produce . . . or maybe our opinion/judgement only matters to us? And maybe much of what we want to do isn’t for us anyways, maybe we’re all meant for each other, and that’s why it’s vitally important to answer those calls.
At the start of this thought “beginning” seemed daunting, especially in our society of now, online ordering for Starbucks, be first, show your best and even better if shared instantly on Instagram, everything is a competition, and yet homemade cinnamon rolls still taste better than pillsbury ones from the grocery.
We still want, desire, and need quality, even in this modern day society. So take the time you need. Besides I’m sure focused time doesn’t take as long as distracted time. Beginning now it seems refreshing like a breath of fresh air. We’re always beginning, so take it with courage, take it with ease, explore, and begin again.
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” – Acts 20:24
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19
For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” – 1 Corinthians 4:7
“And though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great.” – Job 8:7
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
“That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:17
“For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.” – Galatians 6:3-5