I love art. I love creating things. I love pattern and color and enjoying the creativity of others. I could spend hours perusing Pinterest and design blogs, just appreciating the talent and ingenuity that other people are bringing to the world. It is one of my favorite things*.

One thing I like to do is paint. I'm certainly no Picasso, but it's something I genuinely enjoy doing. As I was working on a new canvas a couple of weeks ago though, I realized how much I limit myself. It's as if I'm afraid to try anything too different--even in art!--because I don't want to mess anything up. I don't want anything less than perfect. And while I sometimes share the things I make, I find that I am hesitant and make sure I downplay it by pointing out the imperfections or telling people, "It's really not that good, but..."

Along the same lines, how many times have I thought of a blog post in my head, but never actually sat down to write it because the words I want to put on the screen are imperfect? Or the times I have begun writing, the times I never finish or post because I am afraid to offend, afraid of being perceived as stupid or boring, afraid of criticism--spoken or imagined.

I'm finding that, all too often, I keep my richest, deepest, most creative thoughts and ideas and work inside my own protected inner world. I carefully select the few things that I do share. I am honest, always honest, but I edit myself. I am rarely truly vulnerable.

If I believe my words are valuable, then why do I keep them inside? It is possible that no one will read them; it is possible that those who do won't care. It is also possible that people will disagree with every word that I say. Logically, I know that I will never please everyone, that people will disagree with me, that not everyone will like me. I know this, but it doesn't keep me from wanting it. It doesn't keep me from the fear of criticism and not being good enough, of my good intentions being misunderstood.

But what if not sharing is worse than potentially offending? How many times has God spoken to me through words in a book, in a song, on a screen? Perfect words for the hardest moments, direction in all my confusion. Words have changed my life. Those people aren't so different from me, really, and what if someone's fear had kept those words from being written?

I am not arrogant enough to think that my words alone could ever change someone's life. I don't have that kind of power or influence. However, I do believe that God can use the smallest, most insignificant things to do some pretty incredible things. And if He ever wants to do that through me, I don't want to be responsible for not even giving Him the option.

There is a time to keep quiet, I have learned.
But there is also a time to speak.
A time to create.
A time to be bold and confident in what I have to share.

Even when it's imperfect. I don't want to be afraid.

*My design board on Pinterest can attest to this. It literally has 2-3 times the number of pins than any of my other boards... What can I say, I'm obsessed.

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