Learning to play the violin

Given the unexpected amount of margin on my hands lately, I’ve been relentlessly researching creativity, vocation, and calling through reading books, listening to podcasts, and most recently, paying a career counselor nearly $1000 to tell me what I already knew deep down (However I will say, it was empowering that an expert who doesn’t really know me was able to pinpoint my strengths and gifts to be what trusted people, and I, myself, have believed about me my whole life. It was also kinda nice to read it written so eloquently in a comprehensive report!).

I love reading books that are inspiring and motivating when it comes to the valiant pursuit of art and creativity. I find myself “Yeah!”, “Mm-hmm!”, and “YESSS!”-ing every sentence and thinking, “Finally, someone understands me!”

That’s also what I love about attending creative conferences and events. There’s something about being in a room surrounded by fellow artists who are also struggling in the battle of fear and insecurity, all too common within our species.

Most of all I love hearing about the victories and the impact that happens from taking a creative risk. I love feeling warm-fuzzies and goosebumps when successful artists share their painful journey of overcoming the odds, and I find myself secretly hoping some of their “magic” (or in reality courage) might fall on me too.

But these things can be like candy or even drugs. They definitely taste good and make you feel good for a little while but if you don’t act on the energy and let the passion fade, returning to the drab reality of normal life can become even more dreary and depressing.

An old teacher of mine once said, “You can read and learn everything about playing a violin – but it’s not playing a violin.” I’m grateful for artists who have gone before and fought the “War of Art”, giving me hope that it is worth fighting. But I’m learning my personal “War of Art” is merely a battle within a greater war of faith: my faith in God, in the way He has created me, and in His purpose for me.

I can continue to be a user: riding someone else’s creativity high and inevitably crashing, or I can just play the darn violin and become the doer God created me to be. I’ve got a few “violins” in my closet and to try to play them all at once would be silly and pretty much impossible, so the one I’m choosing to focus on this month: my camera.

We’ve had a “real camera” for years which I’ve been hesitant to touch because I’ve been paralyzed by the idea of failure. That’s weird and sad because I love photography, always have, and people have often told me I have a knack for it.

So here are a few of my first manual shots! It was intimidating and slightly frustrating figuring this out on my own, but it was worth it.IMG_8051



❤ amanda mae



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