Sunday, February 12, 2006

Creative Call - Week 4 - Forgiveness

encourage: to inspire with courage or confidence, to stimulate as by approval, to promote, foster.

This week's journey through Creative Call has focused on forgiveness. Forgiving those who discouraged our dreams, forgiving ourselves for not being able to achieve what we once dreamt we would. Part of the exercise was to list those who discouraged our dreams. I really couldn't come up with a very long list. Sure, I had a couple of teachers along the way who were negative and reveled in humiliation and criticism, and yes, I occasionally got teased and laughed at by classmates, but I don't recall being specifically told I could not do something. I am recognizing that my biggest "discourager" was me. Me and Fear. Fear of trying, fear of failing, fear of being laughed at. Just plain fear.

Here's what I wrote in my daybook:

"As a child I dreamed I could write, act, and sing. I could express myself without fear. As I grew I became self-conscious, afraid to express myself, afraid of criticism and not being liked. I hid myself in safe outlets - a safe job that I could do well - because I was afraid to try, afraid to fail. Now I realize, creativity does not mean I must become the next best-selling author, but, rather I must dance with God in freedom and joy and release that joy in the ink on the page. Not for the world to judge but a love letter, a soul's journey, a prayer."

I am also looking at what areas in my life am I being an encourager to someone else. Do my words lift up or tear down? Have I discouraged someone in their dream? It's been a tough week, as I've watched myself stick my foot in my mouth several times and have regretted speaking words that were not encouraging at all.

A Prayer of Contrition

Father, I am sorry that I have let dreams die, not trusting that you would provide all that I needed - the spark, the words, the means to express myself. I'm sorry I thought I had to do it all on my own and forgot that it was a partnership between you and I. I resolve to seek your vision for my life and do my part to achieve that vision. I resolve also to encourage others around me, to use the words you give me to lift others up and to be on guard in areas where I might be tempted to tear them down. Amen. * o

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