A few of my friends and I took our first trip to Sips-N-Strokes, which is just what its name indicates. It's a local venue that allows even the most novice of painters to have a fun atmosphere to create art while, of course, sipping on your beverage of choice (wink, wink).... Sips-n-Strokes, get it?
The instructor presented us with white canvases which boasted just a few simple lines that we would later turn into works of art as long as we followed her directions. But before she began she gave some words of guidance, that I'm sure she thought were just about art. Boy was she wrong!
As we began applying our brush strokes to the canvas, she said, "Now, it's going to look messy at first. If you look at your painting after the first coat, it's not going to be anything worth hanging, nothing magnificent, nothing pretty. Just trust me and keep going." How often do we do that in life? Take a look at what we have going on, decide it's not pretty enough, not good enough and deem it unworthy? We focus on the way our circumstance is now, not what it will be in the end?
We start school and the moment it looks like it's not going to turn out the way we planned, we give up and say it's not worth continuing on. We put in the work towards our dreams (writing a book, a new career) and when it seems like the resources are drying up or that the dream is unreachable, we call it a mess and feel like it's not meant to be so we stop trying. In our relationships, if things aren't going the way we think they should, we tap out. New projects, making changes in our diet, we file them all in the "Tried it," instead of the "Completed" folder of our world if the progress we've made doesn't match how we think it should be at this point.
WHY DO WE DO THAT?!? WHY DO WE FORGET THE PURPOSE OF THE PROCESS? Why do we put finish lines and stop signs where there should be "Keep Going, but Try Harder," or "Keep Pressing toward Victory" signs?
Our instructor offered more painting wisdom as we put on our aprons and prepared for what was bound to be a fun night. "During the creative process, you may be tempted to look at your neighbor's work and compare it to your own. DON'T DO IT," she screamed enthusiastically. "No two paintings will be alike. Because no two artists are alike."
Again, she was talking about paint. But my heart's ears heard more: LIFE LESSON........Comparing this person's looks to your own, or finances to your own, or career, or marriage, or grade point average, or talent or WHATEVER they have going on to your own won't get you very far. In fact, that's a toxic, growth-stunting habit that makes it even EASIER for you to throw in the towel and give up like we mentioned before.
NO! DON'T DO IT!
YOUR journey is YOUR journey, specifically designed for you! It's not going to look like anyone else's because it's not supposed to. You never know the leaps, bounds, detours and sleepless nights it took to get them where they are or just how close you are to reaching your very own dreams and goals and new levels if you could take your eyes off of their "portrait," and get to working on your own! (* Hint---they have the same 24 hours in a day that you do. The difference? They aren't spending THEIRS watching how far YOU'LL go!) GO CRAFT YOUR OWN LIFE'S MASTERPIECE!
Lastly, life is messy! You will color outside of the lines OFTEN and have to clean it up. You will NOT be perfect. You will NOT get everything right on the first try or even every day. You will make mistakes; have to paint over some stuff. Have to blend a few colors (life experiences) together to get the perfect shade of direction for you, but you will get there! "Just keep painting and have fun doing it," were her words but let's translate that to: JUST KEEP GOING!
HAPPY 2017 EVERYONE!