Is there someone in your life that discouraged you? Did someone tell you that you couldn’t be an artist or that you did not have enough talent to pursue a career in art? If the answer to those questions is “Yes,” then you will benefit from reading chapter four of Janice Elsheimer’s book, The Creative Call. The chapter is about forgiveness.
If there was a person that discouraged you then it is possible you are holding resentments against them that are affecting your creativity. Living a life of anger and resentment can be harmful. Forgiving someone of a past injustice can be healing. God forgives us of our sins on a daily basis. We need to follow God’s example and forgive others.
Janice discusses what it means to forgive. She gives several scriptural references and five exercises to help the reader go through the process. Forgiveness is a choice. Forgiveness can be cathartic. Janice says that our attitude toward forgiveness must be “an act of setting ourselves, as well as the one who has offended us, free.” Doesn’t the thought of being free sound wonderful?
One of the exercises is to make a list of all the people in your life that have inspired or encouraged you as an artist. Janice calls these people our artist heroes. These encouragers may be acquaintances, friends, family, or artists we have studied under or about. I’ve had many artist heroes in my life. This is a good exercise to remind yourself of all the people throughout the years that have been supportive of your creativity.
Another exercise in the chapter is to answer a few questions which can help you to determine if you have been your own worst enemy. Somewhere along the line you may have lost faith in yourself. Maybe you are “the discourager”. It is possible that you need to forgive yourself for not using your talents.
Janice reminds us that all gifts come from God. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ” God provides the talent and the encouragement. It is up to us to do the work. You will have to look at your own heart to determine whether or not part of the work will include the act of forgiving.
Next week: Chapter Five: Breathing In
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