I’m currently reading A million little ways: uncover the art you were made to live by Emily P. Freeman. But in many ways this book is reading me in the all the good and refining ways.
Lest you think, like I did, “I’m not an artist!” the back cover clears that up:
You were born to make art. You were made to live art. You might not see yourself as an artist, but you are – in so many unexpected ways. …Creating a life of meaning is not about finding that one great thing you were made to do, it’s about knowing the one great God you were made to glorify – in a million little ways.
Don’t you love how she shifts the focus from us to God. From the HUGE to the bite sized.
I don’t know about you, but my “one great thing” keeps evolving and growing and expanding. Yet, as I evolve, grow and expand and season in life come and go, the heartbeat is still the same.
In the chapter talking about the critics we all have – the other moms, your coworker, Aunt Sally who lives in your head, Emily shared how the critic will get us to focus on our art, on ourselves. Are other children better behaved? Does my boss like someone else’s project better than mine? Will this idea sell?
Instead of being a friend, their art becomes the enemy and I’m certain their good work guarantees I will never work again. The more I think of how much they are shipping and launching and producing and unveiling, the less I’m able to breathe. I’m no longer an image bearer with a job to do. I have become a job doer with an image to maintain.
And in a nutshell she revealed the heart of many of us – we are more focused on maintaining our image than bearing His.
Guilty as charged.
Yes, work, work hard and take pride in your work. But we’ve all been there when we’ve crossed the line in our hearts and minds and our image begins to take over. As reflected in what our neighbors think of our yard maintenance or students think of us as their teacher or other moms think of our children’s behavior. Let’s get a little personal here, I look at my blog stats and at times mark my impact/value by how often a post was shared or commented on. Not by how much I sense God smile at me because I’m an image bearer.
True, it is a small turn of a phrase, image bearer or job doer. But if we can remember who we really are (or were meant to be!), we simply cannot go on as we were. Hallelujah!
As we go into the holidays, I am going to daily ask myself these two simple questions and I invite you to do the same: Am I an image bearer with a job to do? Or a job doer with an image to maintain?
Where do you sense your heart being tugged to focus more on image maintenance than image bearing?
This really spoke to me today, Amy! I think one of these quotes needs to become my new screen saver :)
So very, VERY good and necessary! I really needed to hear this. I think I’ll use these questions as a self check too. Thanks!
emily thomas says
“Instead of being a friend, their art becomes the enemy and I’m certain their good work guarantees I will never work again. ”
I have heard this from SO many writers (including me!). This is my next book for sure. Do you want to do a giveaway of your copy? To me? ;)
Hey, I’m happy to share it with you, Em!
Shared this post with my 15 yr old daughter. She’s sometimes stuck (like her mother) in looking for her “one great thing” or looking at others “one great thing” and thinking that her “many small things” are somehow lesser. Thanks for the reminder that our lives are meant to glorify God, not ourselves.
Katherine, I love that you and your daughter talk about such things!
Mark Allman says
A good lesson that I shall ponder on. I do not want to be one who is looking to maintain some image. I hope I am one who is affecting people in a positive way and they know it is because of who I follow not what I try to project.