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Sunday, April 21, 2013


Fear is a powerful emotion. It can keep one from attaining one's goals or dreams and even obliterate relationships. Unfortunately, as an artist, I am well acquainted with fear...it frequently rears its ugly head and mocks me. As a Believer in Christ, I am told NOT to fear, but to trust God. Obviously, I'm not very good at it, but I am working on it each and every day. 

"About what on earth do you have to be afraid?", you might ask, "You are living your dream each day by being able to do what you love and were created to do." Well...to name a few...failure, not being good enough, people not liking or appreciating my work, my jewelry not selling, having my work stolen (as in, replicated) by others, and success ( yes, success---not a typo).

Failure is always looming over my head. I quit a fairly decent paying career to chase this dream...what if I don't succeed? What if I'm always "just on the verge" of making it? Or what if I never even get to the verge? What if the money dries up and I can't afford to chase this dream anymore? Failure is a significant specter; one that I must beat down daily. I remind myself that "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28 KJV) I believe creating jewelry is a purpose from God, so I must believe that it will work out according to His plan.

As an artist, I go through peaks and valleys. Sometimes the ideas just pour from my mind; sometimes..."I got nothin'". Even when the ideas come, that old 
phantom, fear, sometimes appears and tells me that those ideas stink. Or maybe that others will think they stink and that I might as well give up because I'm not good enough anyway. Granted, sometimes, my ideas do stink and some are always better than others. However, that's to be expected, and I would do well to remember that. At times like these, it's hard to not feel discouraged. However, I just remind myself to look up and know that it will all work out in the end.

Next, I have grown to realize, that not everyone will like my work; I'm okay with that. In fact, I don't want to make "jewelry for everyone", I want to make jewelry that is true to who I am (see previous blog post), so that when someone sees it, even someone who wouldn't necessarily wear it, they will say, "Oh, that looks like something LaLa would make!" However, from time to time, the thought enters my head that NO ONE will like or appreciate my jewelry. These thoughts are usually concurrent with the previous ones of not being good enough. When these thoughts arise, I tell myself to push through. That what I am doing was destined by God, so someone, somewhere, will appreciate my work. My sweet husband always says, "There is an owner for each piece you make." I thank God for bringing him to me to remind me of that.

Going hand in hand with the previous two fears, is the one that my work won't sell. What if I put my heart and soul into all these pieces and they sit here for the rest of my life without being purchased? What then? Was it all just a huge waste of time? The answer to that is, of course, no. I have been blessed with opportunities to meet and make new friends because of this calling. I have also 
been given opportunities to talk about Christ and what he has done for me. I 
want to be clear to those I meet that any talent I have is straight from God. It is not self-created. Yes, I work hard to hone my skills, but it is entirely by the grace of God that I am able to do so. It has also put me in a position to be there for my family when am needed.  Since I started this journey in June of 2011, there have been several situations where I have needed to help my family. Had I been in my previous job, it would have been much more difficult. I am now free to do whatever I need to do to help them, any time or place. Because of these things, even if I never sold another piece of jewelry, I cannot view what I do as wasted time.

As someone who enjoys creating and implementing inspiration as it is given, there is always a small shadow in the back of my mind that makes me hesitant to share my work. What if someone recreates it and sells it at prices which undercuts what I am doing? That's not easy to deal with because it does happen. I don't know if it has happened to me, but I know artists to whom it has. It is frustrating to sit at a show and watch people pick up a piece into which I've poured hours of time and a part of my heart and discuss with their friend how "This is such a good idea." and they have "everything it takes to make this piece." It is all I can do to squash my ego and just smile instead of stand up and yell, "Don't be a THIEF (yes, thief...theft of intellectual property is still theft) and steal MY idea; get your OWN!" Don't get me wrong, I understand that when an individual is starting out, replicating the work of, or at least similar to, the individuals who teach them or inspire them, is typical. It helps practice technique. I have several pieces I've created in classes that are similar to what the teacher creates; however, I'm not hocking them in my Etsy store and 
passing them off as my design. They are my personal pieces or have been given to friends to enjoy. Continually replicating something identical to someone else and then trying to sell it at a price that is less than the originator, is outright theft. Can two people come up with VERY similar designs having never spoken or even seen one another's work? Absolutely! It happens, and each individual has a right to create and sell their design. There was no theft in such a situation. I'm speaking solely to those who blatantly ignore what is right and duplicate, in its entirety, another's work. That said, I don't want to be one of those people that refuses to teach others what I know or share thoughts because I'm afraid of being "ripped off." In light of that, I am constantly reminding myself that if I truly believe any inspiration I have is Divinely inspired, then I really do not own them, and I have to let them go. Will I eventually be copied? The possibility exists...but if it ever comes to that, maybe it will be because The Lord wants to see if I truly trust Him, or if I want to deal with it on my own. Is my ego more important than my testimony for Him? Again, this is certainly something with which I am in the process of dealing; it isn't something to which I always have the right response. However, I am trying.

Lastly, I'm often afraid of success. No, you didn't misread that...yes, I said 
afraid of success. I suppose that sounds really odd, but it is a real fear. What if this thing actually does take off and grows disproportionately to my abilities, skills, and time? How will I take care of the business end of things? All of this and more has gone through my head at various times. To quell this doubt, I, again, look to Romans 8:28 and find peace that God is in control, and I do not have to worry. He has absolutely provided thus far, and will continue to do so. He has provided me with an extremely supportive network---my husband, parents, siblings, in-laws, my best and oldest (in length of time--not age:-) friend, and a newer friend who pushes me to try new things, keep learning, and keep applying for shows.  Without them, this would not be possible.   

To sum it up, fear can be irrational and paralyzing.  Without the knowledge that God is in control and knowing that I have a wonderful support system, it would swallow me up.  I will continue to press on and do what I love to do.

Until next time...


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