Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Putting Yourself Out There

This week I am exhibiting at the Baltimore Fine Craft Show. It is biggest show of all that I exhibit in each year. It is kind of the Superbowl of shows. It has a great buying public and has consistently been a lucrative show. As I stated yesterday traveling and exhibiting at shows has been very taxing on my physical, mental and emotional self each show season. I am separated from my routine, family and all that is familiar. I have made decisions while on the road that has hurt my family, my marriage and my relationship with Christ. I can honestly say that it is only by the grace of God that I am still married, doing a job that I love and able to serve others with a love and grace that was given to me by Christ.

I mentioned earlier that this show season was going to be different. I felt as though God has something more for me reaching beyond just selling furniture. He has been increasing my awareness to my feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. They seem to peak at the beginning of each show. I see all the competition and immediately put myself in a category that is inferior. In my mind I hear things such as "you don't belong here", "your pieces are crap", "you won't sell anything". My eyes have been opened to see these as blatant attacks of the enemy. He knows that if I would allow those thoughts to consume me then the hook is set for me to walk a path to ways of medicating those feelings of worthlessness.

What has changed now? I have worked hard to learn about these feelings, understand when they happen and how to combat them with truth. It has only been by counseling, thoughtful friends, a loving wife and a gracious heavenly Father that my awareness has been increased and my ability to transparent to others and especially myself.

As I thought about this yesterday, I realized the parallel between how being open and honest in my life and exhibiting my work can be drawn together. As I put a part of me into each piece and put it out for all to see it opens myself up to both praise and criticism. I can either allow both the praise and criticism to define me or I can allow God's truth to define me.

In the past I would allow what others thought and said, along with the lies of the enemy to define who I was or could be. On the outside I was trying to be ok, but on the inside I was dying to thoughts of worthlessness and self deprecation. Once I realized how damaging this was to myself and others I learned that true transparency was the only way for me. I am a work in progress, but my furniture is an extension of who I am as a furniture maker, but not a definition of who I am.

I am:
- A child of the King
- redeemed by the Blood of Christ
- a father
- a son
- A husband
- A friend
- A leader
- An encourager
- loved no matter what I have done
- given Grace not for I have done, but because of what He has done for me

And the list could go on. I am working on sharing my story with whoever asks whenever they ask. I know that if I can share my sins and shortcomings, it only gives more praise to God because what He is doing in my life. So as people praise the furniture, it flows through me to HIM. He gave me the ability and the stage to proclaim Him from.

What about you? How are you defined? By the world or by Christ?

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