“Should I or shouldn’t I?”
What have I got to lose?!

That was my thought loop 2 months ago when I read the announcement calling for artists for the Diocese of Austin’s 13th annual art exhibition.

I had just finished Our Lady Queen of Peace.

I stayed up till the wee hours in the flow of this piece. I couldn’t believe my hands created it. I loved it, but would the committee agree? Was it good enough? Was I good enough?

Ahhhh, there was that voice again. The voice of perfectionism. Perfectionism masquerades as a friend looking out for your own best interests. Watch out, or you might make a fool of yourself! Are you sure you have what it takes? Maybe you just want to keep this to yourself for now, until you have a better handle on it and you really KNOW what you’re doing. Stay safe. Does this sound familiar?

Thank God I didn’t listen!

That’s because perfectionism goes by another name: fear. It shuts down flow, cuts off creativity, prevents play. It tells you that you don’t have time. Playing is not sensible, it’s silly. I beg you, don’t listen!

It was 9:00 pm on the day of the deadline and I thought, “What in the world have I got to lose? I’ll never know unless I ask.”

At the opening reception, I showed my piece to one of the organizers of the exhibition. I was explaining it to her, adding, “I wish I’d…; I should have…” She replied, “No, Renee, I really like it the way it is.” AND, “if that’s your very first piece of art, congratulations!” How would I have known any of this if I’d kept my art to myself, too afraid to show it to anyone?

Now that I teach Mother Mary inspired art classes, I remind students to push through that urge for the piece to be perfect. The spirit of play and the joy of creating the art is far more important. Mother Mary doesn’t expect perfect!

Some of the most beautiful spoken prayers happen when the words just flow out of the mouth. Some of the most beautiful sacred art is created when the pieces come together from the heart, with NO “helpful” input from the voice in the head. When you’re in this space, you’re connected to spirit.