To those who know me, I love anything arts and crafts. I love to craft with paper, or grab a paint brush and create something new to hang in my house. My home is filled primarily with pieces of art that have been made by various family members. Occasionally, I will head out with some friends to one of the “sip and paint” style events. You can bring food and drink, socializing with your friends for a ladies night out… while you paint.
Painting is not something new to me, I take to it pretty easily but even more so when I am being given step by step instructions.
A friend invited me to a “sip and paint” party at a local studio, we were going to paint an Octopus on these cool boarded plaques. There were about six women seated at my table, and despite the instructors best efforts these various octopi couldn’t look any more different from each other if we tried. Well, maybe if we painted them different colors would could get one step further.
The instructor would pass by and comment on my octopus.
“You’ve done this before, haven’t you?”
“That’s really good. I like how you painted the tentacles.”
“I love the detail spots you added.”
“Wow. That’s coming along so well.”
Let me key you in on something, I really do not like public affirmations like that. I don’t. I get embarrassed easily (shocking, I know). It makes me uncomfortable for others who may be struggling. I am also highly critical of myself and would prefer to float under the radar… or I’m too busy fretting over that mistake no one else notices but is staring me in the eyes challenging me to “fix it”.
After her first few passes and comments, the gal sitting next to me was starting to feel something about the attention. Kindred to my own soul, she made funny comments about it. Not directly TO me, but in my range of hearing. I’d laugh about it, because… well… she was funny. I’m down with self deprecation, so I chimed in a bit myself. She laughed. I laughed. Then just as the tension was dying, the teacher would whiz by again commenting on my octopus. The cycle would start over.
Finally, she began to speak a bit louder to ensure the teacher heard her.
What about me? Am I not doing a good job? Is she the teachers pet?
While her tone suggested she was saying these things in jest, we all know there is usually a bit of truth in these types of comments. The teacher was not picking up on it, but I already had. So I began complimenting her on certain aspects of her piece. I pointed out a detail that she added that I had skipped because I didn’t think I would do it right. I shared that I was worried about messing up the piece. The one of the other gals chimed in, complementing another facet of her finished piece.
It is hard, when you are trying to do a good job. We seek encouragement so that we know we are on the right path. If we have put in a lot of effort, we desire someone to notice it and appreciate that effort. That’s a lot to handle and balance with being humble. It is a check to our pride, graciousness, and humility.
Sometimes, it’s more than just a painting or a task we completed. We just want to be acknowledged as a person.
There are times, however, where the Lord doesn’t want us out in front of the pack. He doesn’t want us waving our arms, bouncing in our seats, shouting “look at me”. In fact, he wants our work to unknown… no credit, pats on the back, accolades. In a world that is giving prizes for participating, picking weekly superstars, and overloaded recognition we can begin to expect it within all the facets of our lives. Then, when it doesn’t happen … we take it too personally.
I wonder though, if we are supposed to give the Lord the glory in ALL THINGS… why do we demand such accolades for ourselves? Why do we demand to be seen, even when He clearly is asking us not to?
Lord, let my human fleshy needs take a back seat to your wonderful righteous glory! Amen.