Amanda Jolley

Studio Joy

Contradiction revisited

Since a recent assignment in The Artist’s Way, I’ve been pondering the truth behind the mantra, “Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.” Being a student of Jesus Christ, my first reaction was that this mantra was not Biblical. The Scripture “let him deny himself” immediately came to mind. But experientially I have found this mantra to be true.

The underlying struggle that I had with the mantra was treating myself like a precious object. I understand that God finds me precious after all He sacrificed so that I could have relationship with HIm. I would be wrong in treating myself any other way. But I am a person of extremes. I hear the media preaching that “I deserve to pamper myself so I must buy their products. I deserve it after all the hard work I accomplish as a wife and mother, as a woman.” I so completely reject this that I often lean too far the other direction. I’ve rejected one lie for another of sorts. The lie I’ve been embracing says that “I am selfish if I pursue a personal interest. I shouldn’t have time left in my day after serving my family and others. And I should not feel drained or empty from all this serving because it is my job. I am denying myself.”

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

This mantra, this struggle, allowed me to take a step back and observe my life and choices. I believe Jesus was talking to the disciples of denying what they might assume as right, or their self will, and instead following the will of the Father. Unbeknownst to them, they indeed had heavy burdens to bear with impending persecutions and martyrdoms. Perhaps I just have a difficult time relating to these struggles. I think that denying myself must be much more difficult than it really is. I certainly don’t expect to be persecuted anytime soon in this country. Perhaps I still believe that seeking God’s will should be painful, and it should be difficult to give up self. Perhaps this is also a lie.

Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I’ve really come to like the mantra, “Treating myself as a precious object will make me strong.” The part about making me strong I had no difficulty with. I am strong in the full knowledge that I am desperately weak. 🙂 I can’t deal with a busy schedule and handle stress poorly. I’ve learned to work within these parameters, but by nurturing the creative within me, I have noticed a difference in my thought patterns. I am becoming stronger. There has been much less of dealing with another day, and much more of looking forward to another day. I am becoming more relational and have found it easier for my introverted self to socialize. I have embraced more of my Savior. It is easy for me to only look at Jesus’ example while his feet walked the earth. He served nonstop, often without proper sleep and nourishment. How physically exhausting. I am learning much more about his “Creator” side. I am growing stronger in my relationship with him as I learn more about who he fully is. Now there’s a nonstop challenge.

I want to thank Amber for her post. I love what she has to say and truly appreciate the time she took to respond. I also found great truth and encouragement in both Sarah and Lora‘s comments on my Contradiction post.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.

amanda ∞


4 Comments on “Contradiction revisited”

  1. Balance in life can be tricky, especially when we feel secure with black and white answers to life’s questions. It’s just that it’s not usually that simple. Why do we not learn to lean more on God’s understanding, to be still and listen for His voice?

    I have found great comfort in this passage:
    Matthew 7:9 (New International Version)
    “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?”
    God desires to bless us, to give us His best. It doesn’t mean we always ask for what is best for us, nor will we always get what we ask for. But we can trust HIm that He knows what is best and we can rest in that trust.
    How does this relate to the topic? We are tempted to believe that because making art is fulfilling and satisfying to us, that it must be selfish. And how could God want us to be doing that? But HE created you and knows you need to express yourself in art. For you to not give the gift back to Him and use it for His glory would be the equivalent of you thinking He gave you a stone. He did not. Your gift, your bread, is to be shared. And isn’t it wonderful that the process brings so much joy! All that is left then is to find the balance of how much time does it take. That is between you and God.

  2. God created us as creative beings…. His gift to us is creativity… what we do with it is our gift to HIM…
    i also really like that mantra/quote/what-have-you
    also i have the worst memory with verses (which i’m working on everyday) but i know the Bible says that the woman is blessed who take care of her family and home but also if she has other things to attribute to her family and home then that is also blessed… its somewhere in the new testament and i remember somebody sharing tha twith me a long time ago when i first wanted to start up my little etsy store. i cant imagine God giving me the talents that i have , for me to do nothing with them, for these talents to be pushed to the wayside. i got this awsome book

    its called God and the History of Art…. i love it… they have verses from the bible talking about art creativity and God. they quote artists who talk about God and art… and then of course it is an art course … its for kids but i love it for me too… its a great refresher… anyways… they make the point that back in the day art was very spiritual and lifted up God and the things of the Bible…and then we sinners made art all about art… you know? we made it somthing like a god itself because it was more important, it was like idol worship.
    so that right there made me stop and go “oh, do i do that? am i teaching my kids that? ”
    so ok i made this really long but its just to say that God wants us to be creative… he created us and the whole world… he is creative… and he created us in His image. which of course is a creative being.
    me personally if my creative times of the day take away from serving my family then i know its getting out of hand…. that is why i wait until my kiddies are in bed and the hubby too… or i hve a day that is just for being creative….

  3. Amanda,
    Thank you so much for this post. I am a mama who always thinks of herself last most of the time. I find this to be fine, as long as I spend enough time with the Lord to strengthen me, and allow moments of creativity to inspire me. I too live best within parameters of low stress and simplicity. It is all a balance isn’t it? I pray that you have a blessed weekend. Love Tami

  4. hey amanda… i made a special blog post just for you… next week i will try it again with just painting… 🙂

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