Turn Your Art Inside Out: Make to Share

by Christina Hubbard. An artist naturally makes art for herself. She does her craft because it’s what she loves. But our art is not for ourselves. It is meant to be shared.

For Whom Do You Create?

This past weekend I encouraged a group of creatives to write down who they were created to be. My instructions were to finish a prompt like this:

  • I make…
  • I lead…
  • I help…
  • I recreate…
  • I change…

Then I said, “Don’t write down who you are.” (Roles, jobs, etc.) I wanted them to think about the gift they bring to the proverbial creative table. “Don’t overthink it. Write down the first thing that comes to mind.”

The exercise proved challenging for several reasons: 1. I didn’t explain it that well AND 2. we should have started with another person, not ourselves.

When we create, it’s often just us and our raw materials in a room shut out from the world. What if we started our art with another person in mind?

We are called to believe and serve beyond ourselves. Scott Cormode says it well,

“…But we do not exist for ourselves and neither can we work for ourselves. Instead, every Christian’s calling begins with listening to the longings and losses of the people entrusted to our care.

God calls us neither to a task nor to a job, and not even to exercise a gift. God calls us to a people. The entire point of doing the task or exercising the gift is to benefit others. For example, we create because God creates. Artists and entrepreneurs alike celebrate this point. But why did God create? God creates for the sake of his people.10 Artists who create just for the sake of creating miss the point. Art should be shared.”

Your Art Heals Someone

Think of the individual who needs the beauty you bring. Who is she? What does she look like? What are her struggles and stories? What is her deepest desire? How can you help?

When I consider these questions, I construct a bridge between my heart and another’s. My art extends beyond the bounds of my body. Tweet This

Pair what you do with whom you serve. Pay attention to the “longings and losses” of your people. Turn the “I” into “we.” Make to share.

Share a sentence about the person you serve in the comments below.

This post is inspired by Five Minute Friday. Our one word prompt was TURN. I always try to write it in five minutes or less, but I went over again. C’est la vie!

FOMO, Get Tos, and Real Success

by Christina Hubbard. This winter FOMO and I became fast friends. Two-thousand seventeen left and 2018 entered quietly as I succumbed to the ick. Instead of partying it up with the fam on New Year’s Day, I watched PBS travel shows while I huddled and shivered under a blanket. Keep reading for giveaway info.

FOMO or fomo: 

nounSlang. a feeling of anxiety or insecurity over the possibility of missing out on something, as an event or opportunity

Two weeks of sickness, a reprieve, and then the flu hit. Over the next three months, I spent the total of an entire month either being sick or taking care of someone who was. (I added it up.)

This winter the world officially passed me by.

A Bad Case of FOMO

FOMO is short for the “fear of missing out.” When we can’t keep up with the world, racing at its frantic pace, comparison and a general feeling of uselessness can overtake. An injury lands you on the couch. Winter blues hit. The kids are out of school for another day off. Life happens. Sometimes it feels like the universe is doing its darndest to ensure you will never finish that house project you’ve been slogging through.

Cooking show binges and Netflix do not heal feelings of worthlessness and unproductivity.

Hopping onto Instagram and scrolling through friends’ seemingly amazing lives doesn’t help either. Social media is not real life, and we know it. Yet we scroll, enforcing the soul dissonance.

Even when we stay offline, less-than thoughts still have a way of entering.

Thoughts like…

  • How can I keep up?
  • Rest is for the weak.
  • I’m so behind!
  • Somebody’s got to make dinner.
  • Who is going to take care of all the things?

We’re doing exceptionally well to simply exist, but it feels like the world is passing us by like a bullet train.

FOMO, Speed, and Addictive Affirmation

Fear of missing something important is what drives a lot of us. Has so and so posted anything lately? OMG, I have no idea what is going on in the world! I haven’t read a blog post in months! We get on the interwebs and everything we can’t do or participate in is crystal clear. Comparison settles in.

Speed also contributes to FOMO. So many of us are used to going, going, going all the time. Sitting still and doing what seems like nothing feels like someone has wrapped us in duck tape. Going fast and strong constantly primes us for a false sense of productive identity and affirmation.Tweet This

Likes come from social media and people giving us high fives and dollars for things we’ve done efficiently and well? They’re awesome, but they’re also addictive. They stir in us the longing for more, the kind that can never be satisfied really. We become chasers of things which were never meant to last.

We’re approval junkies who long for another hit, but the only cure is recovery.

What’s a body to do?

We could power through. Keep going until we crash. From personal experience, I can say that chugging Dayquil and telling yourself it’s all going to be over soon is not the magic sauce.

Let’s be clear: none of us can keep up with the world and not one of us should. (Especially when life throws us a snowball for Easter!)

When you can’t keep up, need a rest, or get sidelined by life happening, there is something you CAN do. It requires absolutely nothing. Warning: if you’re a hustler, it might demand everything.

It’s a beautiful little word: RECEIVE.
  • RECEIVE grace for your inner superwoman.
  • RECEIVE understanding for your drive to overachieve.
  • RECEIVE self-compassion for not doing it all.
  • Let others lift your load. Ask for help and take it gratefully.
  • Remember your finiteness. The world doesn’t depend on your hustle. Can I get an amen?
  • This is time for you to think, to remember you don’t have to compete to be worthy.
  • RECEIVE slowness and healing. Recuperate. Restore.
  • RECEIVE the blessed reminder to be still and small.
  • Recover your life.
  • Recall your GET to’s.

What You Get To

GET TO: noun, slang. Tasks and circumstances viewed as a privilege or blessing because we get to do them. But we often take them for granted because they seem small or insignificant.

Just when spring was springing and staying well promised to blossom into reality, I broke my foot. It happened hours before I was to throw my sister a baby shower. Now a boot and crutches help me get around rather skiddishly.

What takes five minutes now takes fifteen. I plan my route through the house and remember to wear clothes with pockets to help me carry my phone. I can’t cook dinner, prep a bath, or get the mail without help.

I’m learning to receive and let go. Naturally, I thought I was over my winter FOMO. Turns out, sitting with a propped-up foot messes with one’s mind in serious ways. At night, I’ve had several good cries on the matter.

Recently, I’ve watched writing friends release books or get published in literary journal after journal. I’ve had to cancel classes and a writing conference. I’ve succumbed to comparison and self-defeating thoughts.

Move on to Better Things

When FOMO hits, it’s easy for resentment to build and pity parties to have their way with us. When receiving the gift of self-compassion proves tough, try get to’s.

Get to’s turn what we can’t do into what we can. They shift our perspective from what’s not to what is. A dose of gratitude. Get to’s open our eyes to what’s good.

FOMO fades when I get to:

  • Snuggle up with my son to read The Lord of the Rings.
  • Help my daughter brush her hair.
  • Receive a cheesy, heavenly casserole from a new friend.
  • Understand someone else’s disability firsthand.
  • Teach my kids how to be helpers with gusto.

Real Success

True success is not the hustle. It’s not the have to’s and want to’s. It’s not attaining lofty goals, getting ahead, or even winning approval by what you do. Success is aiming your life with purpose and integrity. It’s serving God and others. Success is using what you’ve been given today to make the world more beautiful.Tweet This

Sometimes it is giving, and, sometimes, more often than we’d like to think, success is receiving humbly.

When FOMO Strikes, Remember

  • Move at your pace, whether you’re a bullet train or a sniffly blob recuperating on the couch.
  • Admit your humanity.
  • Discern what is necessary today.
  • Remember the value of rest.
  • Honor quality over quantity.
  • Enjoy a break from media noise. Ask yourself why it’s your default.
  • Listen to what your body and your life are telling you. Tweet This
One day we are strong, the next we are weak. This is real life.

We don’t have to fear what we’re missing. We don’t have to do more to be more. Comparison kills our creativity. Let’s choose better. Slow down. Take care. Rest up. We’ll have more perspective, energy, and clarity for tomorrow.

Do what you get to, and do it with love.

Giveaway (This giveaway has ended.)

One of the best ways to fight FOMO is to celebrate friends’ successes. Today I’m giving away a signed copy of Kate Motaung‘s memoir A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging. She tackles the questions of, “Where is home?” and “How do we find hope in the midst of pain?”

Her story travels from Michigan to South Africa and back. I know Kate personally and her story intrigued me from the moment we met. She’s the real deal, on the page and in person. Her memoir shows us redemption rescues, even in the messy parts of our stories.

To enter, share your get to in the comments.

Giveaway runs from April 3, 2018, 4 p.m. CST through Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at 4 p.m. Winner will be identified in the comments. The winner has 36 hours to claim their book by emailing their mailing address at christina@creativeandfree.com, otherwise, a new winner will be chosen. USA and Canadian entries only.

Good Friday: History Pivots on Its Crown

by Christina Hubbard. What’s so amazing about Good Friday? On the history book’s, this day appears as a bleak period of death. Christians celebrate the goodness of the day because, without it, the crux of our faith would not exist.

Good Friday’s Crown: the Day the World Is Saved

This is part I of an Easter poem for Mary Brack’s lovely art journaling series Lent Words.

Drape me in black cloth

Today as I forego food,

Push away drink.

Lash me, not Him!

Sharp rocks unflesh

Innocence.

I cry out

In hunger and thirst

Because I don’t feel a thing.

He feels it all.

His very nerves fray apart

Before my eyes.

He is my Rock,

Hunched over.

Thorns, a grisly honor-crown

Askew—

My Refuge.

Read parts II and III HERE. Be sure to check out all of Mary’s lovely reflections on her site.

Suffering, Spring, and the Resurrection of God’s Timing.

The Reward of Routine

routineby Christina Hubbard. Routine feels so routine. Personally, I resist it on a regular basis. In some ways, I’m addicted to novelty and adventure, that intoxicating sense of the unknown. Yet routine benefits our creativity in countless ways.

When I was a girl, my mom taught my sister and me piano lessons. From the time I was three until age fourteen, we practiced our scales and etudes nearly every day. No, we did not love it. I secretly wished I was shooting hoops in the driveway or riding my bike around the block. Sitting down day after day to the black and white keys, I learned the discipline of routine.

The Pay Off

In high school, I opened my own private piano studio in my living room, just like my mom. I earned good money without having to drive anywhere or flip burgers. Routine turned out to be a huge blessing.

What routine gives us is the ability to do something with less thought. The more we do it, the better we get at it. Even though I haven’t played the piano seriously in years, I can still sit down and sit down a piece fairly well.

Sit Down and Get to Work

Routine eliminates the daily decision: should I work at my creative passion or not? Routine sits the will into the chair and instructs it in the art of showing up and working hard.Tweet This

…routines allow you to carve out time to pursue your passion every single day. Once it’s a routine, there’s no more wriggling out of painting or writing or working on your business plan because you’re too tired or the muse eludes you. -Ellie Robins, “The Secret Benefit of Routines: It Won’t Surprise You

More on welcoming routine.

This post is part of Five Minute Friday, a creative community of bloggers who write for five minutes on one word. Today’s word is ROUTINE.

How does routine help you?

What 39 Years Have Taught Me

39by Christina Hubbard

Thirty-nine nudges forty just barely. Enough to know forty won’t be awful. Enough to know getting a little older can fill you with grace and chutzpah, and you really do start to care less what people think. That feels like a whole new level of freedom!

As you may have guessed, today is my birthday. It’s funny—39 feels a bit nostalgic and thrilling. I used to think what I had to say wasn’t wise or worthy, but time has a way of revealing what’s true.

God values each of us. He invites us into a beautiful lifelong adventure with Him, not dictated by social media, culture, or politics. Thanks for giving me the floor for a few minutes. I hope it inspires you. Also, check out my announcement at the end.

Love, rest, and speaking up: what 39 years have taught me

  1. Every voice matters, so use yours with no apologies.
  2. My mom was and is superwoman.
  3. God loves to use our weaknesses.
  4. That thing you love to do? Start doing it.
  5. It’s O.K. to quit when it frees you to pursue better things.
  6. Slow down. Whatever you’re hustling hard for will pass away. Then what?
  7. Forgive. Now. It helps, I promise.
  8. Teaching kids and dogs good manners make the world a better place.
  9. I may never get all the artwork I own up on my walls, but at least I went beyond them.
  10. Put down the phone. Look people in the eye.
  11. Take walks. They’re nature’s cleanse.
  12. Ask for help when you’re struggling. That’s real courage.
  13. Reach out. People are lonely, and friends will be found where you least suspect.
  14. Trust your guts to speak the truth. Edit less.
  15. Do less. Be more.
  16. Spend time learning to pray.
  17. You are not a clothing size. You are a work of art, designed by God.
  18. Let others have the last word.
  19. Take a regular Sabbath to remember God is in control, and you are not.
  20. Pain refines. Don’t fear it.
  21. Give what you love away often.
  22. Poetry is never a waste of time.
  23. Compassion is not only having empathy and meeting material needs. It’s listening and sitting in the hard spaces with people.
  24. If you can’t answer WHY you are doing something, then don’t.
  25. Don’t apologize for your messes.
  26. Be yourself although it may qualify as totally uncool (for my tweenager).
  27. God often calls us to places we question ourselves. That’s called humility.
  28. Share the story of what God is doing in your life aloud.
  29. Two things to be a better human: read books + shut up when others are talking.
  30. Chew slowly. Enjoy food.
  31. You don’t have to say yes to everyone who asks.
  32. Tell your favorite people exactly what you love about them.
  33. Write thank yous. Pick up the phone.
  34. Your pace is not the next person’s. Chances are they are busting their chops behind that shiny smile.
  35. Creativity requires whitespace. Lots of it.
  36. Love is always worth it.
  37. If you want to heal, give.
  38. Make friends with your body, skin, emotions, and mind.
  39. You can change.

The upside-down kingdom of God puts things in the right order: God-sized love first, others next. Like you, I’m still in process on most of these. I can’t wait to see where today will take us.

My new site

Speaking of new things, today I’m launching my new writing + speaking site! The blog will stay put as the place where what I write lives, for now. This new site features my services as a speaker and retreat leader for creatives and leaders. Do come on over and check it out.

Real Help When You’re Just Plain Tired

by Christina Hubbard

I went to church by myself today. Kid number two is down with the flu again and my husband graciously stayed home with him. It’s month three of 2018 and I’ve tallied it up: I’ve spent one whole month of it being sick or taking care of someone who is. I’m tired of sickness. I’m tired of being strong. I’m just tired.

We often get weary because life loves to throw us the character-building learning curve of interruptions, delays, and disappointments. We find ourselves needing a real rest, but who else is going to buy the groceries? We can’t stop adulting simply because we are tired.

Beyond just fine

Recently, a dear woman honestly shared her burdens with me. Through tears, she shared the stresses of parenting, caregiving, and facing a crisis in her marriage. She was tired and she was real. I looked at her and said, “That’s beautiful.” I meant it. She went beyond just fine. She shared what was actually going on. Although she was exhausted, she had joy. Not a pasted-on smile, but a genuine hope she could face whatever comes. Her willingness to be real in spite of everything encouraged me to keep going and go get those groceries later with gusto. After a hug and a thank you, I got the sense we both felt a little lighter. I gave her an ear, and she gave me resilience.

God gives

God gives tired people the supernatural strength to carry other tired people. Tweet This

I think I can keep adulting a little while longer.

This post is part of Five Minute Friday. Our one-word writing prompt was TIRED.

More on sharing burdens.

What helps you keep going when you’re tired?

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