Monday, November 7, 2011

The Careful Critic.

"Um, are you going to sell that?"

"Yes, why?" 
As she looked at me in surprise, I searched her eyes to see if she really didn't know.

"Violet, that looks a bit sloppy.
 You need to work at being neater and don't rush so much.
  People want to buy things that look nice.
  It takes patience; a lot of patience.  Keep trying til you get it to look right."

A moment's pause was followed with,
"Well, Grandma will buy it."


It's a hard thing, knowing where the line to honesty and compassion meet;
to understanding your child's learning curve, and the desire to help her improve.

(A clock I bought to repaint.)

When I took art at college, there were only 4 of us students:  Dave, Missy, Jackie, and me.  It was a small college and art classes were after normal class hours, so it made those day much longer, but I loved art and would have gone at midnight if required.  I had longed for real art classes, and the teacher was fantastic, especially since there were so few of us, so her help was very accessible.

 (Filling in the grooves before adding wood-filler).

Have you ever been in a classroom setting with four people, sitting quietly, working intensely?
 I must say that artwork in this kind of setting is an unavoidable monster
when it comes to peeking at your neighbors' work.

Comparison is inevitable.
Our teacher spread us out to avoid this, but I think it must be human nature. 
Dave and I were good at drawing, but not like Missy and Jackie. 
While Dave and I completed 4 or 5 drawings in a semester,
Jackie and Missy may have done 2. 
The detail, the incredible perfection of their work caused gasps of unbelief.

I was not so determined for perfection.  I wanted it to look nice,
but beyond that, my patience waned.
  Still, I learned  much more about patience and demanding more from myself than I ever would have mustered on my own.

"For we dare not make ourselves of the number,
or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves:
but they measuring themselves by themselves,
and comparing themselves among themselves, 
are not wise."
II Corinthians 10:12

 (The finished clock.)

  It's human nature to compare ourselves among ourselves.  But God made each of us different: different skills, talents, capabilities.  I feel a bit shy and awkward when somebody tells me they like reading my blog.  I often write to organize my thoughts and remind myself of God's fingerprint in my life.  I write because I need to.  I tend to look at other women, their capabilities, their organizational skills and unruffled demeanor, their service to others, and I rate myself by them.  It's very easy to fall into the sinking pit of despair looking around at how much better everyone else is.  I begin to feel like I did in Kindergarten when we all sat around comparing our letter 'B' writing pages.  My fingers seemed too clumsy and incapable.

On another hand, I have heard people say that Christians are judgmental
  and/or hypocritical,
and that they have no desire to believe in Christ because of it.

  I guess, if I'm honest, this is often true.

 (Chicken image has been transferred from The Graphic Fairy's Blog.)

Being judgmental and comparing is common to all of mankind. 

We all rate ourselves on so many different levels,
if we don't guard our thoughts.
  It is only by realizing that salvation is not anything of our own doing,
that we could never earn heaven,
that salvation comes only when we honestly look up instead of around.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus unto good works, 
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

We try to do good, not to gain heaven, but because Christ has gained it for us.
Trying to be good comes from a thankful heart,
but being human can mar this process,
exhibiting hypocrisies and judgmental attitudes.

Christianity cannot be about Christians, but about Christ.
The Bible is the guidebook of definite right and wrong,
but Jesus was the friend of thieves, prostitutes, tax collectors,
murderers, adulterers.
He reached people in their need.
We all stand needing His reach.

"But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
For not he that commendeth himself is approved,
but whom the Lord commendeth."
II Corinthians 10:17-18

I know when Violet compares her crafts to mine, she gets frustrated. 
She wants hers to look better, but her fingers are still very uncertain with the paint brush.
  She doesn't want to wait until the blue paint is dry before adding the orange spots.

It's a hard lesson, learning not to compare,
to see oneself in honesty but with hope to improve.

  But it is a valuable lesson.


  1. I love your clock Tonya! It's so beautiful.

  2. Is the hen and chicks picture for sale? I wish I could paint like that!

  3. (love that note about grammas having to budget. :))

    a nice post. full of truths. :)

  4. That clock is gorgeous! And she's probably right. What grandma wouldn't buy her work of art???

  5. Thank you for visiting my blog and your sweet compliments.

    I enjoyed reading your post - and I really do love the transformation of the clock. The simplicity of the bird enhances the clock so nicely.

  6. I had to stop looking at your pictures because I was comparing :) That was a great post and so true:)
    Love the clock!

  7. That's why I stopped trying to paint, hated comparing to you! I know how Violet feels :)
    Loved this and how true it is. Love you, talented, sweet sister!

  8. Fortunately, my abilities are so far removed from any of your artistic talents that I don't ever compare them!

    But I surely do appreciate them. And that clock is just lovely.


  9. Very powerful and thought-provoking post....That line between comparison and seeing oneself in honesty with hope to improve is such a narrow and illusive one....Smiles & Hugs & Wishes for a Wonderful Week ~ Robin

  10. Love this!!!visiting from the hop

  11. What a great post and so very true! And the clock is beautiful! What talent!

  12. Your dear post has brought me much peace tonight...and that clock is so very beautiful! :)

  13. What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing!

  14. The clock looks so great! Thanks for sharing and I really enjoyed reading what you had to say.

  15. what a fantastic idea. How many ugly clocks have I passed by? Who knew it would turn out so lovely.


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