Why am I so afraid to do what I want to do? Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? I have always felt that one of my biggest flaws is an inability to make decisions. I HATE making decisions. I guess this problem stems from a bigger problem of fear. I sometimes feel like Charlie Brown sitting at Lucy's Psychiatrist Booth.
Lucy: Are you afraid of responsibility? If you are, then you have hypengyophobia.
Charlie Brown: I don't think that's quite it.
Lucy: How about cats? If you're afraid of cats, you have ailurophasia.
Charlie Brown: Well, sort of, but I'm not sure.
Lucy: Are you afraid of staircases? If you are, then you have climacaphobia. Maybe you have thalassophobia. This is fear of the ocean, or gephyrobia, which is the fear of crossing bridges. Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia?
Charlie Brown: What's pantophobia?
Lucy: The fear of everything.
Charlie Brown: THAT'S IT!
Haha.... sad, but so true! (On a side note, I think I do have climacaphobia- at least from those steps that have no backing with each step.... True story. I'm always afraid of falling through. I hate those kinds of stairs. I go out of my way to avoid them.)
But I digress.. I fear making mistakes (perfectionism strikes again!), I fear something being my fault, I fear the unknown... so I become paralyzed and unable to make decisions. What a shame, when I have a God that repeatedly tells us, "Do not be afraid."
All of this brings us to my current decision making dilemma. If you don't know me personally, let me give you an interesting fact: as an undergrad, I went to 4 different schools- that's 3 transfers. I've graduated now, and I ended up somewhere that I truly loved (CBU). Now comes grad school. I wanted to do Art Therapy- and part of me still wants this. So I convinced myself that the "safest" way to secure a career in the field would be getting a Masters in Counseling, not Art Therapy. And it just so happens that my mom works at a grad school where I can get such a Masters degree, and for a VERY discounted price because of her employment status. Makes the most sense right? Wrong. Something in me just couldn't go through with it.... I battled this decision all summer. Around the time of my BFA exhibition, a little voice inside began whispering to me about how much I love art and how amazing it would be to do just that (art shows, making art, etc) with my life. That little voice began saying, "MFA." So I satisfied that voice.... a little.
My next plan was then to get my MAT, so I could teach art. I could go back to CBU, somewhere I felt very comfortable and safe, and there ya go, I will have my schooling and career that both have to do with art. I can still do an MFA when I'm done, it's just this way, I'll have a back up plan. No counseling or other outside-of-art-classes for me! No sir, and I will have a great "back-up" plan, teaching! If all else fails, and I can't get a job in art, voila! I teach. An excellent plan if I do say so myself... Umm.. Ok, wrong again? What's that you say? Yes I believe the little voice came back.... except now it isn't so little. It's a strong urge.
I went to my first MAT class on Wednesday and have had horrible stomach pains (that normally accompany my times of stress) ever since. Something about the whole, just-in-case-art-doesn't-work-out thing..... Kind of feels like, just-in-case-God-doesn't-come-through. Because at this point, I feel almost sure that art is what God is calling me to, and that the little voice was/is really God- gently planting a seed in my heart. What holds me back? Well I said I'm "almost sure," so there is the other small part of me that wonders if I'm wrong about what God is saying. I also have no idea what to do about a job. I had planned on being a student this semester, so I only needed a part time thing. Now what do I do? Where can I find a job that I'm only needed in the mornings, since my classes that I will be teaching are afternoons... Could I make enough by painting murals for people? Will enough people want me to paint? Can I sell enough of my prints? Should I make more children's art to sell?
I also feel like people will judge me- "Why don't you get a masters that actually comes with a career? You can't make a career on your art alone, you need to teach or do something realistic. Do you know how competitive the art world is? I mean, you're good and all, but let's face reality. It' just not possible" I also hate the ridicule that comes with changing your mind. Believe me, someone that went to 4 schools and changed majors each time (if not more than once each time) understands the ridicule or shall I say, "poking fun at?" I hate dealing with having to explain, well yes I did change my mind about Harding, so I went to CBU but changed my mind again after the first class because I realized that all along I want my MFA, and I just want to make art.......
Let me say this: I know an MFA will be hard. Probably one of the hardest things I will ever do- because my art is my soul and an MFA involves people ripping out and at your art, challenging every piece you make, and critiquing anything you create or say. But I know I will grow and become 10x the better artist because of it. You know the parable of the talents? Yes, I know that it really has almost nothing to do with gifts God has given us, but there is a part of me that feels like God has given me this gift, and one of the best things I can do to use it to glorify Him is to refine it and make it the best that it could possibly be. I want to do that. I want to bring God glory in this way. And I think he's calling me to it.
Then why am I so afraid? Why am I still saying, "What if?....
.....I can't do it
.....I don't get accepted.
.....He doesn't come through
Why am I so afraid of doing what I want to do?
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
"Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.... For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you, declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 41:10, 13-14
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you." Isaiah 43:4