For the Struggling Creative

Any time I post a blog I will undoubtedly get someone misinterpreting what I am saying, because well, that’s what people do. We interpret what we think someone is saying and we put our own lens over it. It’s not bad, it just happens and is inevitable if you are going to share your creations with the world. I know all of this yet I’ll be honest, there is still always a moment right before or after I post a blog when I hesitate and wonder if maybe I should just stop doing this thing. There are two questions I have around blogging – should I create anything at all and is it worth being vulnerable to do it?I know that being creative takes courage. It takes courage to share what’s in your heart without being able to control the outcome or manage the misunderstandings that will inevitably occur. I look at artists, designers, songwriters, dancers, writers, chefs, musicians (anyone in the creative industries really) and I take my hat off to them and say thank you. Thank you for sharing yourself with the world. Some of you bring me so much joy as I experience what you have created and I’m grateful you pushed through your fears to share what you have with your fellow humans. I may not always like your expression or agree with every message, but I acknowledge your courage and say well done.

“There is no creativity without vulnerability”
– Brene Brown

If I am going to be misunderstood and perhaps ‘take a personal hit’ for something I have written, why on earth would I keep doing it? It’s because for every person who misinterprets what I’m saying, I get another who tells me “that’s just what I needed to hear today” or “Far out, I never knew that was happening in the world”. It’s for those people that I keep sharing my thoughts. There are many times when I think to myself… “Nah, don’t write any more Jess, honestly who really cares what you are thinking”. And then for some reason I just keep doing it anyway. As I said before, there is always a moment when I put myself out there and I question if it’s worth sharing. If no one likes this, is it still worth creating? For me, the answer is yes. I create for the fun of it. If I can, you can too. Create because you can. Dream it. Do it. Work at it. Create something uniquely you. You can do it. You should do it.What started out as a blog to update people on our travels has morphed into an avenue for me to share my thoughts. My short unedited writings are unlikely to make it into main-stream media, so I continually check in with my heart to see if it’s worth doing. Does it still provide me with a creative outlet? Yes. Do I enjoy putting words and thoughts together even if I struggle in the process? Yes. Although I only write about things I have already processed, many people don’t know that I’ve already moved on. How could they, unless I told them. So sometimes I get a message from someone asking me if I’m ok, or perhaps someone (*cough* my husband) looks at me sideways for a few days, wondering if I’m ok (love you Babe). It is the price I am willing to pay by sharing honestly with others.

What price are you willing to pay to be creative? If you are willing to be misunderstood, misinterpreted (which you will), then keep going for it. I would encourage you to create and share it with the world. The ‘world’ may end up being your five friends on TikTok or your Nan the next time you see her, but I would remind you that the people you impact need to see your creativity.  I have heard many amazing original songs that I wish everyone knew the lyrics to. I have viewed some breathtaking photos which will never be in a gallery and I have tasted some amazing meals by home chefs that will never feature on cooking shows. However, it is the exchange of other peoples ideas in those moments that enriches my own life; I am aware of the impact. One of my Pinterest boards is full of other people’s creativity that in turn inspires my own. I am so grateful for my fellow creatives and I need you to keep it up.

Those moments in time when others have shared their giftings with me have added delightful wonder to my life. I am a better person because of the things others create and my life is richer for all their hard work. But let’s be real, not everything everyone dreams up can be a masterpiece and some people excel because they have trained hard for many years. With all this in mind, even if your creative expression doesn’t get the recognition you think it should or you lack the resources/time/energy to develop your craft, it may still be worth it – simply for the joy of creating. Create simply for the joy of creating.

This leads me back to my original questions – should I create anything at all and is it worth being vulnerable to do it? Yes and yes. Let’s keep creating for the fun of it. Let’s keep being vulnerable and push past our fears by sharing our ideas with those around us. Please, please dear reader keep on creating and I will too. Let’s do it together.

Love Jess xxoo

PS – Those who know me well are aware of my love of the music group BTS, and will probably have a little smile as they read this. 😉 If you like dance you’ll appreciate this gem – the choreographer and dancers in this video just blow me away.

Some Perspective on Significance

My nation of Australia has been ravaged by devastating fires and many parts are now experiencing floods. I (like many people) have given money to help those affected, but I desperately wish I could do more. My contribution feels futile when I see the images on my phone. What is happening to my country breaks my heart and brings me to tears. I can’t do much, but I have done what I can with what I have, unfortunately at times like these it still doesn’t feel like enough.

Yesterday I had a moment in my kitchen, looking around my little house and thinking about my life. I felt so very insignificant in that moment. Not unhappy, just insignificant. I know that we all have those moments; when we want to be more, do more, help more, see more and yet… that may not be on the cards for us. At times like that I often picture an old lady working in the rice fields in a country like China and wonder if she feels the same. I wonder if she would be envious of my life? I’m sure many, many people would be and would give anything for my seemingly insignificant life.

As I wiped down my kitchen bench, I also thought about those who are more fortunate than me and what they must be exposed to in their lives. What experiences and opportunities they might have that I will never come close to? As I packed away the craft paper from the dining table, I felt inconsequential. Although I keep a tight lid on my own social media, I thought about people with millions of followers and imagined what it would be like if someone very famous requested to follow me. How would I react? Would I feel more valuable? Would I believe that I had something to offer that no one else did? What story would I tell myself about my self-worth now that a famous person had noticed me?

AND THEN….

And then I felt God whispered so clearly…

“I created everything and I am following you.
I am watching your stories and your day.
You are significant to me.”

Oh man that made me smile. I hope it made you smile too. It’s a delightful reminder for those of us who feel insignificant at times isn’t it? Even if history doesn’t remember us, there is always One who does and I am quite frankly, in awe.

Sometimes when I see tragedy around me, I feel small. Sometimes when I get a glimpse into a far more glamorous social circle, I feel small. Both at opposite ends of the scale, but similar feelings. Honestly, it’s not even about where I sit on the social or economic ladders that I’m struggling with here, it is clearly about worth and value. It’s about realising that if and when I encounter tragedies or trailblazers, I am still significant. That thing I did, the words I wrote, that call I made, He actually thinks they were wonderful. He is not as impressed by quantity or output as I am, it is who I am (the person of Jess) that so captivates His attention.

All of Matthew 6 is a great read, but I just wanted to put verse 26 here in front of your eyes as a reminder. When I heard God tell me that He’s following me, I instantly thought about this verse:

Matthew 6:26 (NLT) – Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

I also like this translation from The Message – Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

You are significant. Perhaps your name will never be recorded in earth’s history books and maybe you will live out your life in the same area you were born, but don’t believe the lie that there is anything wrong with that. God thinks you are significant. God thinks I’m significant. Sometimes, being reminded of that is all we need.

Love Jess

PS – If anyone super famous does want to follow me; I’ll just give you a heads-up now that I’ll probably take a screen capture and send it to all my top WhatsApp contacts.

Living Simply: A quote

“Ironically, studies show that increased consumerism comes at a steep price. A rise in prosperity is not making people happier or healthier… We are incurring debt and working longer hours to pay for the high-consumption lifestyle, consequently spending less time with family, friends and community.”

– Jen Hatmaker, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

Shout out to Laura Swanson for the recommendation