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I am a ... : the power of words

I've had a review lesson this month on the power of words.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say an advanced course. My paintings have been placed in an art gallery for the first time. The gallery will represent my work in an ongoing relationship. As the owner took me around the art community to introduce me to other gallery owners and shopkeepers, she repeatedly said, "We have a new artist in our gallery. This is Libby Gontarz." The first time I heard her define me that way was jarring. I enjoy painting, but never thought of myself as 'an artist.' But gradually, my thinking changed. As I heard the term applied to me, I began to apply it to myself: "I'm an artist. I work in acrylics. My work is on display at ..." My self-concept began to line up with my words, and my self-confidence grew. I have already seen the result in the way others react to my art and in my approach to the blank canvas.

The first time I learned how important words are in defining myself was when I learned not to name myself by my health problems. I learned not to say, "I am an asthmatic." Instead, I had asthma. (No longer. God healed me!) I also learned not to define myself by my sin--Scripture says, "Some of you WERE these things." Note the use of past tense!

Earlier, I learned to define myself as a writer, and then an editor. The label made a difference and opened doors.

So, in your own writing journey, as you perhaps face self-doubt and self-criticism, learn to define yourself as a writer: "I am a writer." I think you'll be surprised by the power of the words you speak about yourself.

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