Design for Discouragement

“I hate that I can still be so easily shaken, and somehow I convince myself that if I could just develop a healthy enough psyche, life couldn’t touch me.” -Beth Moore, So Long Insecurity

I wish the men in my life would stop wounding me. For the most part, they are godly, well-intentioned men. They are just thoughtless and oblivious. And I say that in the kindest way possible.

There are a few officers in my a cappella choir, one of whom is our Media Director. Knowing my experience with graphic design, he asked me to design some posters for our upcoming concert. I was thrilled to be asked and ecstatic to get started. I love to create. I love a blank canvas. I love developing a vision and seeing it become a reality.

Unfortunately, the Media Director already had a vision in mind, but fortunately, it’s one that I liked. He asked me to employ a minimalistic style, but when I showed him my work after spending an entire evening in Illustrator, he said it was too simplistic. Hmmm… minimalistic art being simplistic…? Go figure!

Minimalism

Minimalism

The Media Director sent me a patterned background to add as a layer in place of my simplistic one. I thought his background made the poster look cluttered, but I did what he asked. When I sent it to our Choir VP for sign-off, though, he said it was “too busy” and needed to be “simplified”. I’d used posterization because the media guy asked me to, but the VP said it made it “too hard to make out people’s faces”. He asked me to remember that we want “an aesthetically pleasing flyer.” Oh, we do? Sorry, I thought you wanted an atrocity of a flyer. 

Posterization

Posterization

Art is personal. It’s an extension of oneself. To criticize someone’s artwork without offering any kind of compliment or encouragement is damaging. In his introduction to The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne wrote about the vulnerability of self-expression through art forms:

“The truth seems to be, however, that, when he casts his leaves forth upon the wind, the author addresses, not the many who will fling aside his volume, or never take it up, but the few who will understand him, better than most of his schoolmates or lifemates. Some authors, indeed, do far more than this, and indulge themselves in such confidential depths of revelation as could fittingly be addressed, only and exclusively, to the one heart and mind of perfect sympathy.”

Still further, I was only trying to do what our Media Director asked of me. I wish the officers had gotten aligned, that the VP had been kinder in his words, and that the Media Director had backed me up when the VP criticized my work that was a direct result of his guidance.

There were a few other instances with other guys this week, but I don’t even want to write about them. It will just get me upset again and stir up all kinds of insecurities I thought I had already dealt with.

“I feel everything. My joys are huge, and so are my sorrows. If I’m mad, I’m really mad, and if I’m despondent, I wonder how on earth I’ll go on… God gave me this tender heart, and though I want to give up my chronic insecurity, I really do want to hang on to my heart. I like to feel. When I don’t feel something, it’s like being dead.” -Beth Moore, So Long Insecurity

Authentically Aurora

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Healing the Hemorrhaging

stressI don’t trust God with my life. I say that I do – my head knows all the bible verses about God’s trustworthiness – but my anxious thoughts and frantic, spastic actions tell me that – at a heart level – I really don’t.

I don’t trust God with my career. In the past five years – in addition to continuing to work a full-time job at a major oil company – I have gone to Seminary, worked on a degree in Graphic Design, interviewed with Apple in Cupertino, interviewed to be the Women’s Director at my church, written and released an album of original music on iTunes and started teaching Math after school to test the waters for becoming a Math teacher full-time.

I am straining and striving, flailing and hemorrhaging, desperate to find a career that fits not only my skills and talents but also my passions and core values. But why wouldn’t I trust the One who knows me better than I know myself; the One knit me together in my mother’s womb and created me uniquely and with purpose?

I don’t trust God with my relationships. When my high school boyfriend broke up with me, I lost 14 lbs in ten days. When my college boyfriend broke up with me, I went into a deep depression that lasted two years. When my fiance broke off our engagement last year, I continued to date him for three months after he stated he wasn’t sure if he still wanted to marry me.

I stay in or pine after unhealthy relationships long after they’re over because I am desperate to feel loved and not alone. But why wouldn’t I let my heart rest in the One who loves me more than a man ever can; the One who loves me unconditionally and without reservation?

Trust is something that is built over time, and faith is a muscle we must exercise. This morning, I set my alarm for 5:30am so I would be on time for my 7:00am conference call at the office – a 40 minute drive from my apartment. I woke up when my alarm went off but must have fallen back asleep because the next thing I remember is looking at my cell phone’s screen and seeing: 6:10am. Shoot.

When I dashed out my front door twenty minutes later, I started talking frantically to God:

“Could you get me to work on time today? This meeting is with my boss. Okay, that’s not reasonable. This is a stupid prayer. There are way more important things going on in the world. But it matters to me, so it matters to you, right? Phil. 4:6. I mean, You’re in the details, right? Will you get me to work on time? Ugh, that’s not practical. But You can do anything. But why would You do that for me when I’m the one who overslept? Okay, how about this: Maybe I don’t get to work on time, but will You make it okay that I’m late?”

Probably not the most reverent, eloquent or theologically sound prayer ever, but God just wants our hearts. And He knows my thoughts anyway. May as well be real with the King of the Universe.

When I got to the office at 7:14am, I discovered that my boss was out of the office and had cancelled the meeting last-minute.

Thanks, God.

Authentically Aurora

Versatile Blogger Award: Accepted!

Versatile Bloggerversatile (adjective) – changing or fluctuating readily; embracing a variety of subjects, fields or skills; turning with ease from one thing to another


A hearty thank you to Mrs. Spike for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! As a classically trained pianist with a mind for computer programming, she is the definition of versatile, and I am honored to be counted in her company. If you’re not familiar with Mrs. Spike, check out her blog! She is an inspirational INFJ whose writing is raw, authentic, poignant and tinged with hope.

7 Facts About Me (that display my versatility!):

  1. I have an engineering degree and work for a major oil company.
  2. While working full time, I am also attending school part time. I am currently taking 9 hours’ worth of classes toward a second Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design.
  3. I am a singer/songwriter and released my first album of original songs on iTunes in 2013.
  4. I just finished writing and illustrating a children’s book.
  5. I have been to all 50 states in the U.S. and have a goal to visit all 7 continents before I turn 30!
  6. I am an ardent Christian who has volunteered on mission trips in many third world countries, including South Sudan and the Dominican Republic.
  7. I am an introvert who loves public speaking. In fact, I think someday I may become an inspirational women’s speaker.

15 Nominations (I’ve nominated 10):

  1. Blissful Britt
  2. My Little Piece of Quiet
  3. Steve and Jon’s Best Things
  4. Key + Arrow
  5. Courtney Shea
  6. Em Speaks
  7. Outstanding Bachelor
  8. Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings
  9. LoveLifeandGod
  10. Rogue Cheerios

Thanks, blogging community – and congratulations!!!

Authentically Aurora

Emotions Expressed

Tim Tebow - tebowingI know that I am officially obsessed with something when I can’t help but create my own interpretation of it. When I am filled with adoration and unbridled joy over something or someone, I am forced to face the intensity of my emotions when my creative juices start flowing and my own version of the object of my passion comes pouring out of me onto the page.

Sometimes it happens with sketches or paintings. Sometimes it happens with poetry or music. Over the years, I have sketched characters from favorite books and movies, developed graphic designs of inspiring public figures and written poetry and music about numerous boyfriends.

After yesterday’s post, it should come as no surprise that my latest playful obsession is Dierks Bentley’s song “Say You Do”. It was stuck in my head all day yesterday, so I recorded my own acoustic version of it and have included it here for your listening pleasure. Merry Christmas!

Authentically Aurora