Monday's Musings - The Self-Made Man: Illusion or True?

by Mary Denman

Mary Denman Photography
I saw this statue recently and it really caught my eye. Both artistically and intellectually. It's a really powerful sculpture. I generally prefer finished works of art, but then that would defeat the point that the artist, Albin Polasek, was trying to make. This is entitled Man Carving His Own Destiny

Before I saw the placard with the actual name, I thought it was something along the lines of Self-Made Man. 

Which got me thinking. Can we really be self-made? Can we carve out our own destinies? 

Mary Denman Photography
I want you to study the sculpture first. The man is holding a chisel in his left hand, by his thigh. In his right hand, he's ready to pound the chisel with a large chunk of rock. He isn't using a hammer. 

To me, it looks like he's a bit tired, resting the rock on his shoulder before he strikes the chisel. 

He's freed himself from most of the slab, but he still has to extradite his legs. I can only imagine that it would be difficult to hold the chisel so close to your skin to remove the extra rock.

Notice his muscles. They certainly would be well-toned from the exertion. From the painstaking work.

Which brings me back to the questions. Can we truly be self-made? Or can we carve out our own destiny? 

To answer the first question, I don't think we can truly just be self-made. I think it's an illusion. Especially here in America. We talk about pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. 

Which begs the questions. Can we change our IQ? Can we change our height? Can we change our eye color? No. No. And no. 

Mary Denman Photography

Oh, you may say, we can study more, or have surgery or buy green contacts. But stop and look at the answers. We can't change the fundamentals. Plus, the solutions offered all involve someone else in the process helping us "change ourselves". Other scholars for intelligence. Surgeons for operations. Companies that make contact lenses. 

You can't change your eye color no matter how hard you try. 

You were born as you are. You can't be self-made because you didn't create yourself.

Which brings us to the question, can we carve out our own destiny? I think the answer is yes and no. 

Ultimately, we can't control our entire life. We may try, but really, our control only goes so far. Think about being hit in a wreck and not being able to walk because of paralysis. The example is extreme, but I think you get what I'm saying. We can't control other people's actions.

But what can we control? How can we carve our our own destiny? This is what we can learn from the man in the sculpture.

1) Someone else had to start the process for him. 

That someone is his creator. You were created for a purpose. 

Find out what your purpose is. Ask God. He's the original creator.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10

Mary Denman Photography
2) The man is using the materials he has on hand to work with

He's using a rock hammer and rock chisel because he's in a rock.  

What talents has God given you to work with? Writing. Photography. The spoken word. Ability to teach others what you know. Singing. Encouragement.

Use the materials (gifts/talents) that God has endowed you with.

3) He's working hard. 

You don't get such well-defined muscles from sitting around. He's been working for a long time and still has a long way to go.

Once you figure out what your talents are, exercise them! Use them. Hone them. Make your life muscles strong in the area of your talents.

4) He hasn't given up. 

Look at the pose. He may be tired, but he hasn't quit. He's ready to take the next blow. 

Don't give up just because you're tired or frustrated! Take a breather. Then get back to the work God has equipped you for.  

Ultimately, we can't control our entire destiny. But we can use the talents God endowed us with. We can work with God for him to be able to use us. 

And when life gets hard, which it will, we need to trust that God is the one ultimately controlling things. That he'll get us through.

I'm thankful I'm not the one ultimately in charge. But I love working with God and letting him use me! 

Now, to get back to honing my talents! 


In what areas has God gifted you? Where has he directed you to train? 

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  1. Loved reading this post and what an interesting statue to observe, thanks for sharing! BTW, found your link at Creative Mondays, enjoy your week. :)

    1. Thanks for dropping by Bernadyn! It is an interesting statue. It truly made me think.

      I love your ideas for kindergarten graduation. My kids are long past that. But you have a really good eye for photography. Definitely one of your talents!

      Have a great week.

  2. Great post! I just tweeted it. Tomorrow morning I'm sharing on the topic of Living Your Dream with a class of 4th graders. It's complex, just like your post, and I also planned to share from a few angles and leave them a poem by me and some Bible verses. Blessings! Tina

    1. Thanks Tina! I hope your class goes well. I know that for me, teaching solidifies what I'm learning more than anything else! Let me know how it goes.

      Love, Mary

  3. Very nice, a great sculpture!

    1. Isn't it amazing? I love how thought provoking it is. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.