Impressions From Expression
In order to create we need to be vulnerable. We need to open up. We need to let go; let go of our reservations, of those fears. It's in the creation that we express ourselves —isn't it? In expressing ourselves we give glimpses of what's on our minds and hearts. But more than just creating something and just leaving it on display can we just process it with God? Process it with someone? That's what's beautiful about interpreting art, we get to dialogue about someone's creation, not just about what they made or what moved them to make it, but to identify with it in some way.
I recently asked a friend candidly what she thought about my my newsletter. For her, she noticed that, through my writing, I am on a path for emotional health. Emotional health. She noticed what I care about and what I want to cultivate: a life of being emotional healthy. I am what you may call an emotional person. I love emotions; I love to express them, I love to talk about them, and I love to thank God for them. There is a line between being out of control with emotion and just beautifully emotional. Just like Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time "to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance," we can have some control over our emotions. A healthy kind.
There is such a thing as an unhealthy control of our emotions, where we live like robots: unemotional and heartless. I used to be this way. You can read my experience here. At the time of writing that post I was journeying into a relationship with Holy Spirit and learning about self-control and the beauty of emotions. I'm still on a journey towards emotional health, I think we all are and that's OK, that's good!
What is the impression the people around you get from what you create? Are there any gaps that you need to fill to tell the full story? Their push can lead to something bigger than you originally imagined, that's if you want to take it there.
I was incredibly inspired by author Mahogany L. Browne during her "Chlorine Sky" Reading and Talkback with Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye. Her writing process includes great effort and sacrifice, and input from others. Her latest work is a young adult novel written in verse — her first! "It started with a poem but it kept going because of a push," she said.
Receiving feedback well can lead to growth and encouragement. Do you feel too shy or too scared to hear it? Ask God for wisdom. Ask Him who to ask for feedback, ask Him for feedback! I remember learning about constructive criticism in school and realizing how it's nothing personal to get critiques, the intention is to lead to improvement.
With social media we share to receive validation, yet we can't handle feedback — or we don't seek it. Validation from strangers who don't know the heart of something doesn't last forever or leave the greatest impression on your heart. We can easily share, share, and share; speak, speak, and speak but not take the time to listen. "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger" (James 1:19). Don't rush out your creation, take the time to reflect on it, hear from the Lord, hear other people's thoughts, and take the feedback with open arms. You'll keep growing from what you learn, not just about yourself but about the world around you.