31 Days of Good Enough: for the Imperfect Creative

by Christina Hubbard

We come to the table with pen and brush. We walk to the park with camera and dreams. To the kitchen with fresh ingredients. To the guitar with a soulful tune. To the stitch with a killer design. All the while we’re wondering, is this good? Behind that question, bound up in broken questions of worth, lies another: is it good ENOUGH?

We’re tackling this topic with all its baggage and hopes for the #write31days challenge. I say we because I’m inviting 31 creative friends to join me. (I can’t create alone, and neither can you.) I picture each of them talking to me and you over cozy cups of coffee as we help each other in the keep-on-keepin’-on.

Our mission? To lead, encourage, and love one another in heart matters.

The state of our heart affects our art.Tweet This Let’s wake each other up, to take ourselves and our work less seriously. Take the pressure off. Work for the only One who gives us worth.

In creative communities, I hear a silent ache roar like wind rushing through a deep gut canyon, right between not enough and too much. It’s the place where good enough grows, if we let it.

Right in the middle of imperfection, good enough is:

Where we strive and rest,

Where perfection surrenders to grace,

Where giving up hooks its caribiner to hard work,

Where self-hatred stops fighting God’s love,

Where past hurts heal by hitching onto the living Word,

Where courage moves us forward and compassion envelops us whole.

Good enough is good. Maybe it’s an A++ or a curvy C. Heck, it could be a bold F. That’s the point. There’s no grading system in the kingdom of God. Likewise, I believe there’s no grade in good art.

Megan Willome quotes Lianne Mercer on writing good poetry. Apply it to any creative endeavor, and we start leaning into the relativity of good enough-ness.

“What does that mean? What do they think ‘good poetry’ means?…To me, good poetry is when my heart beats on the page. I think it’s good if it moves you, if it makes you cry, if it makes you laugh, if it makes you say, ‘Oh wow!'” –The Joy of Poetry

You can make art which moves the heart, but God is moved by you.Tweet This

Take His love or reject, but His love for you remains. God is outside of time. That means He’s pretty much loved you forever.

During October, I’m giving away a free PDF to new subscribers: Ten Habits of the Spirit-Filled Creative. Get it here.

Love,

 

 

 

 

Links go live on the corresponding day of October at 6 A.M. CST.

  1. The Work of Worship
  2. The Ancient Tell
  3. Create Beauty Like Farmers and God
  4. Hope Past Your Ideals
  5. Trust and Your Less Serious Side
  6. A Prayer for the Story-Logged
  7. Hold Fast to the Memory of Your Making
  8. A Blanket Truth for All Creatives
  9. Your Well-crafted Elaborate Plan
  10. I Beg You, Listen to Love
  11. Remember Your Why
  12. Go Be a Letter. Write Life.
  13. Invite Shame to a Safe Space
  14. Try Enough
  15. In the Tide, Remain
  16. Read the Earrings
  17. What’s Dark Will Grow
  18. Share Imperfect Things
  19. Brave is Belief
  20. We Discover Who We Are
  21. Give What You’ve Got
  22. His Light Was Enough
  23. Your Best Work
  24. Revise with God-sight
  25. Rest Because You are Called
  26. I Cannot Change My Story
  27. Overcome with Worth
  28. My Light Connects with Yours
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His Light Was Enough

by Christina Hubbard

Here was a life made of pure light. At the Black Canyon of the Gunnison on a camping trip, I saw natural incandescence. My dad beckoned us from our tents to a rock in the pitch black. A light the size of the white part of my pinky fingernail glowed on its surface.

It wasn’t a glow in the dark sticker. It was a glow worm, shining the night away. It’s greenish gleam, tiny as it was, lit us up, in every good way. We stood in awe, studying this miniscule piece of life in the middle of nowhere.

Mr. Glow Worm wasn’t worried about whether his light was enough, he was the light he was meant to be. So must we be.

We are life made of pure light. We are beacons lighting up wild, black nights.

Love from a Fellow Creative

If what you are creating keeps you up at night, if it takes up space in your conversations, if it’s what you strive to learn more about, if it makes your insides ache, then go create. Get it out. Don’t let good ideas die in your head because they aren’t perfect.

Amy Sullivan, author.

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Matthew 5:14-15 MSG

What kind of light are you: a lantern, candle, light bulb, or glow worm? 🙂

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Give What You’ve Got

by Christina Hubbard

“I can’t give any more.” This is what I think in the middle of every creative project, when excitement has waned and drive is sputtering. We’re two-thirds into 31 days, but I was done with it Oct. 15. I told myself:

“There’s nothing else in me.”

“What can I say that’s new and interesting?”

“I’m so tired.”

“I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.”

Sometimes we don’t know what we’ve got until we’ve spent it all. We’re bone dry, and suddenly, we realize there’s a new song welling up, one we didn’t know was there.

Beneath the layers of our insecurities lies a wealth of generosity waiting to gush forth: wisdom, experience, and stories. Pick up your tired hands, straighten your hunched shoulders, do a few jumping jacks to wake yourself up.

Set your hands to the keys, hand to the lens, whatever is before you. If you’re tired, make a piece for the weary soul. If you’re overwhelmed, write a love letter of relief to that you. As you long as you’re living, give what you’ve got. Then you will really be making something.

Love from a Fellow Creative

I know this discouragement like I know my own heartbeat, this fear that I’m not good enough to complete the creative task before me (or to do it perfectly). But God broke that cycle in my soul be showing me the truth I’d missed in a Scripture verse I knew by memory: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

Do you see it? If God has called you to your creative task, then you are doing His good work. That means—here’s the best news—the work is already done! God Himself, in His perfection, has prepared your good work in advance. The burden of performance is lifted off your shoulders and easily carried by Christ. You have the gift of simply being the storyteller, the documenter, the vehicle for the creative work God already prepared and chose you to communicate to the world. Don’t worry, He has prepared you for your part, too. All you have to do is walk in HIS good work.

Jerusha Agen, novelist & fear fighter. 

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. —Galatians 6:9-10 MSG

What do you give without even thinking in your making? See, you’re already doing it.

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We Discover Who We Are

by Christina Hubbard

The road of good enough singles out a girl’s soul. She may question everything: who she is, where she came from, where she’s going, and all the inbetweens. The proving, fighting, and wondering if this moment, her very existence really matters. What a journey she trudges.

This is not an expedition for fainting hearts, yet all creatives suffer its pitfalls. We wrestle with worth. We beg for affirmation. We long to be known and delighted in.

What I have discovered is my need to be seen and to make something good is, inheritantly, based on a pure desire to be loved from the inside out. Your voices chiming in with this creative cry for God to inhabit our potholes, tired feet, our very lives shout: “We have become the road. He travels us.” We don’t have to wander. We discover who we are in the laying down of ourselves and everything we want.

Love from a Fellow Creative

There’s nothing like finding yourself curled up in a ball in the corner of the couch covered in snot and tears to confirm you’re on the right path. Somehow, I regularly find myself there, usually before I hit publish on a particularly vulnerable post or release a new video into the world. I used to hate myself for this, seeing it as weakness, not-enoughness, I’m-not-cut-out-for-this-ness. But the Holy Spirit’s been kindly reassuring me that this what growth looks like. Steven Pressfield’s War of Art has been a welcome slap in the face:

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

So I wipe the tears away, hit publish, do a dance, and then start on the next thing.

And so can you.

—Caroline, yoga teacher & Instagram captioner. CarolineWilliamsYoga.com

And how blessed all those in whom you [GOD] live, whose lives become roads you travel; They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain! God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and at the last turn—Zion! God in full view! —Psalm 84:5-7 MSG

What discovery have you made about yourself or God in this series?

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Brave Is Belief

by Christina Hubbard

Brave feels solid,

Like I’m a brick.

Brave is also belief

When I am anonymous,

A ripple from one small pebble,

Disappearing underneath water

Again

and again

and again.

Love from a Fellow Creative

You will want to pitch your project in the fire. Don’t. That’s your baby. Infants look ugly, but we love them anyway (and try to convince others of their beauty, even though we get blank stares and compassionate glances). Growth and change take time and hard work. Be willing to spend the time and put in the hard work. One day, that creative project will resemble a well-adjusted, mature adult. Have patience with yourself as the parent (um, creative), and remember that God created you to create. He smiles when you share your endeavors with him and as he watches your progress.

Anita Ojeda, writer & photographer. Blessed but Stressed

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon. Psalm 31:24 MSG

What does brave mean in your creative life?

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Share Imperfect Things

by Christina Hubbard

Can I give what I’ve got if it’s not perfect? A few Christmases ago I baked a beautiful gingerbread bundt cake with a candied glaze. It was a sight to behold, and…slightly overdone. (A black pan adds about five minutes of bake time, FYI). I didn’t know whether to trash it or slice and share and hope no one noticed.

It’s easy to confuse what we do or make with who we are. Fear, imperfection, inner standards, etc. can keep us from sharing what we make with the world. But we must.

We must serve up slices of extra crispy gingerbread cake to those who have come to our feast. They want to know their humanness is welcome. When they taste goodness and love with a sweet rum glaze, they will savor the cake’s delicate edge, not even seeing or tasting char, only their own imperfection being saved.

Love from a Fellow Creative

Friend, let’s throw out all the scales, the numbers we use to measure and determine the significance and beauty of ourselves and our work. When we walk as a daughter, every moment is steeped in divine purpose.

Awake each day with a childlike expectation, ready to listen for His holy whispers. Respond with a pure, childlike expectation. Move in step with Him, inviting the Holy Spirit into every detail of your day. As we journey into wild, untamed intimacy with Him we discover who we are and what we were made to do. Life becomes a sacred adventure. ”

-Charissa Steyn, writer & artist. Art of Adventure.

 Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of “sacrifice”—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets. Hebrews 13:16 MSG

What are you making that needs to be shared?

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What’s Dark Will Grow

by Christina Hubbard

I know I am not good enough and neither are you. But God.  Still, how does one grow from such newly-sprouted knowledge? Live from tender tendrils trying to grasp on to a firm, guiding rail? We start our journey in autumn, when things will soon surrender to winter, but we are green. Oh, so green.

We will be cut back again and again by shaming wind and bitter doubt. Winter will humble our unfurling foilage down to the crown of our roots.

Did you know, fall is the best time to plant trees and bushes? Winter, fierce as it is, beds what’s underground in protection unseen. Layers of soil, mulch, and snow cover what we know is finding it’s way deeper and deeper. Stay put. Even when you feel like you are dying, wondering if you will see the end, He is adapting what’s dark for the utmost thriving revival.

Love from a Fellow Creative

The Enemy loves it when I sit down to write and instead am paralyzed by comparison or stopped by self-doubt. I recently returned to blogging after a long absence and more often than I care to admit, have found myself drowning in feelings of inadequacy.

I’m confident we all have days when the doubts and whispers rise up, and I wonder if you, like me, might need a little encouragement for the journey when they do. When we surrender our writing to our Creator, we can be reenergized by the truth that He created a writing lane of influence specifically for each one of us.  He has uniquely gifted us with this calling to write and placed us here to share our stories for exactly such a time in history as this. As Jo Saxton likes to say, “Your calling is calling!”

So together, let’s recommit to owning our stories as well as our influence.  Let’s press into our fears and continue to show up and write.  May we practice the courage of connection as we seek to find our flocks of fellow writers.  Let us promote and cheer wildly for one another as we press forward in this worthy pursuit. Our words matter, and we are absolutely on this creative journey together.

–Sarah Leimer, a writer & seeker of beauty. Sarahleimer.wordpress.com.

And I’m an olive tree, growing green in God’s house. I trusted in the generous mercy of God then and now. —Psalm 52:8 MSG

How is God growing His enough-ness in your roots?

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