Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that a new year has begun again. It is an exciting time full of hope, possibilities, and plans for most. I am one who loves to set goals and resolutions for the new year. I enjoy the process of figuring things out and working through step by step how to reach my goals. In the past there was no doubt in my mind that I would actually accomplish what I set out to achieve. I am sad to say that it made me prideful and not very compassionate to others who were struggling to meet their own goals. I didn’t realize it wasn’t a normal thing to set my mind to something and simply do it. For me success wasn’t an option, but a requirement. I didn’t understand that life can get in the way and stop even the best laid plans.
Things have happened over the last five or six years that have changed this in me. I have come to learn that there are days that it is hard to get out of bed due to a body that can barely function and the inability to move forward because of panic and and paralyzing fear. I have learned that life getting in the way is a real thing…and I usually resent it. I am not very fond of my humanity and it’s weaknesses…I mean after all the perfectionist in me is demanding perfection and my humanity cannot give it. Looking back over my journey and struggles these past few years is kind of amusing to me now. I see that it is not logical to resist the very thing I am…a flawed human. I know my expectations are unrealistic, but it isn’t very easy to see something when you are so close to it. One of the driving factors to this resistance to my humanity was my need for people’s approval. Good behavior, productivity, and dependability are praised. In my mind receiving approval meant I was loved and had value…so I kept working towards it because we all want to be loved and have value. What I didn’t realize as I was driving myself into the ground to gain this love and worth was I already had it. It was something that God had already lavished upon me in Christ. Grace is something else I have that I forget to rely on when I mess up in my humanness (which is often). It is hard to get that to register, but I am trying to remind myself of that as I walk out each day.
You may ask what in the world does any of this have to do with a jewelry challenge? Well, I have needed to walk in the grace I have been given. My humanity has been in full swing this week as my best laid plans went awry.
The piece I chose to work on this week is the Amphora Vessel Pendant Tutorial by Nicole Hanna. I was tempted to pick a simpler tutorial to begin my challenge…one I was sure I could finish. However in the spirit of aiming higher this year I chose this one for the challenge. It is a tutorial that uses a cabochon as the focal and I have only made one piece with a cabochon before this. It wasn’t a happy experience for me because the cabochon kept popping out as I was trying to wrap it. One thing I did know is that I wanted to keep wrapping cabochons until I was comfortable with the process.
I am sad to say that I didn’t get this piece finished. That has been a battle and it feels like a lame beginning to my challenge, but I am choosing to give myself grace. I will not give into the feelings that I have failed, but will instead continue making this piece until it is finished. I will see this piece for what it is, the beginning of something great…not as a failed attempt. It would only be a failed attempt if I quit and that is simply not something I do.
Here is a picture of my progress so far…
Not too shabby. The cabochon in this piece is labradorite and this is my first time working with it. It is such a beautiful and fun stone. The reason is because of the hidden properties of it. When light is applied to it there are different colored flashes that come out of it.
Here is a picture to show what I mean…
Isn’t it beautiful and so unexpected! It is a good reminder to me on those days when I am feeling gray that I might need to shine some light on things in order to see the beauty that was there all long.
I hope that as you go through your week you find encouragement in your own struggles and dark places. Not that the struggles or dark places themselves are beautiful, but that out of them we can become more beautiful and sometimes we get grace to see some beauty while in them. Just remember that it won’t last forever…no matter how long the night may seem!
Some of the beauty that has come out of my struggle to embrace my humanity is I am a much more compassionate and gracious person. While I am still working on learning to give myself grace, I can more freely give it to others. I don’t depend on others to fill me up with love and value…I know I already have them in Christ…I just keep reminding myself of that. This allows me to love others without needing something from them in return. It isn’t an easy thing to do and I still fall into old patterns, but I redirect my thinking when I become aware of it.
Well, it is time to say goodbye for now. No matter how your new year has started, I hope that you won’t quit looking for the beauty in each day. May you find encouragement and hope for those hard places!