There’s a war raging.
Bombs are dropping everywhere and sirens screaming.
The noise is deafening. Your freedom is under attack.
The enemy of your soul wants to take you captive to something so present and pervasive you can almost miss how aggressively dehumanising it really is – passive mediocrity!
Settling for the norm.
Don’t Be Conformed
Certainly the world would like to stuff you into norm’s mold, shape you for norm-ality and ensure that you never question the status quo.
Because creatives are dangerous!
Your propensity to question, to push the bounds, stretch what’s possible; these are subversive and revolutionary tendencies that must be crushed before they infect others with the idea that they too can break free.
Jesus people. Holy happy crazy creative people who have shaken the shackles of the world’s hopeless religion plain off, and embraced a reality where the Light of the world sits on the throne of their hearts, illuminating a new future, and dispelling impossibility.
The Bible speaks of ‘not being conformed’ to the norms of this world, but instead being transformed, and becoming an agent of transformation!
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
Right here is where the battle is fought. The lines are drawn in the arena of our thinking.
The MESSAGE version of the Bible is not always my favourite but I do like how it paraphrases the first part of the verse we are looking at:
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Rom. 12:2
The Battlefield of the Mind
Out thoughts lean to freedom or tend to bondage. We embrace limitation or liberation.
On the opposing side to our victory, stand a few notable adversaries to our creativity.
First in line and formidable in stature – Insecurity.
She leers at out efforts with derision. Who are you to even attempt to bring worth to the world?
Then her growling brother steps into the fray. A well dressed dandy with flawless jaws – Perfectionism.
If sister Insecurity can’t convince you that you yourself are defective, then Perfectionism will move the spotlight to what you produce; what you do, what you make, what you create is not good enough, and never will be.
The Comparison Twins – Pride & Shame
Then a double whammy – this time power twins that topple even the best warriors.
Comparison enters the arena – on one side Pride and the other side Shame – both greedy for attention. They work in tandem to stretch you between exaltation of self and condemnation.
Lean to their hands and they will tear you apart. One day you will be the king of the hill, the next the mud on a peasant’s dirty shoe. Pride will climb you to the top of your nose to look down on others, then with a tug of your emotions and an evil response Shame pulls you valley-ward to lick somebody’s boots.
Their master stroke is to keep you at the centre of your own world.
If you believe that you are the hub of the universe they have you right where they want you, and will surely tear you apart.
THE FIGHT IS MOST CERTAINLY ON!
The Weapons of our Warfare
Fortunately, Papa has not left us helpless in the fight. He has equipped us not only to survive but to conquer and prosper in the fray.
First, you have a helmet – Salvation covers your every thought if you keep the headgear in its proper place. No longer an orphan seeking approval you quickly chase Insecurity from the ring. Once you may have been broken, but now, even with bruises that tell your past, you are perfect in Him – a new creation with old things passed away.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”
(Ephesians 6:17 KJV)
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:”
(Hebrews 10:29; 1 John 3:1 KJV)
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV)
Then the promise that your works will be blessed – all that you put your hand to prospers – affirmation from the Spirit assures you that your works are no longer your own, infused with the character and quality of the One who sent you. Sure. They may be tarnished by my humanity, ruffled by my quirks – but inspiration drips from every pore and Perfectionism can go harass some other sorry soul. Not today – good enough is good enough and getting better every day. What I have to offer is worthy of the world, and I will not be denied.
“The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 28:8 NKJV)
The field is looking cleaner and victory in your reach. Other skirmishes litter the arena; Offence, Envy, Fear and Self-righteousness all punch it out and don’t give up easily, but our wrestling with them will have to wait another chapter – right now it’s the terrible twins of Comparison we need to rout.
Pride piles in first lifting us above the crowd. My, my, my what a wonder you are – so much better than John, Jane and Jack – how clever, how anointed, creative and handsome – a beauty to behold – compared to the others you are head and shoulders exalted. Take the credit! You did it! You’re the one! Lap it up!
But we know that there’s nothing we can do without Papa and Son. That the Spirit is the One who inspires our heart. We’re convinced that the Vine is where the juice flows, and that we are the branches simply carrying the life of Another more beautiful, more wise, more wonderful than we could ever express. Pride, begone!
“I can of Myself do nothing.” (John 5:30 NKJV)
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” (John 14:10 NKJV)
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NKJV)
Then with a tug Pride’s twin throws us down. Shame covers our face as we squirm in the mud. Only moments before we were the toast of the town, but now here we are in the dust. Usually it’s a habit hard to break, or a trait that won’t budge. It’s the mountain we circle time and again. Just when we think we’re a winner the voice of Shame pipes up and tells us plainly that we are an object of hatred. That all of our boasting in God is nothing but inflated pride, a cover for our defects. A Scratch below the surface will expose the worm we really are.
But Shame will not have me. I am not the man I used to be. And you? You are not the woman you once thought you were. We bring to mind new creation truth – old things are passed away and all things are new. My past cannot hold me, even yesterday’s sins are not today’s shackles. The blood of my Savior washes all Shame away – I stand perfect in my Papa’s presence ready for another day.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NKJV)
“In You, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame.” (Psalms 71:1 NKJV)
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV)
Perfect in Papa’s Presence
Ready to believe.
Ready to create.
I’m ready already and cannot be beaten.
The loser is not the one who never falls, but the one who does not rise again. I may lose some battles along the way, but the war is already won.
If I fall down six times, I will get up seven!
Your creative capacity and your fruitfulness in this life and beyond is prepared by your Papa.
You have something to say.
Don’t let Insecurity, Perfectionism, Pride or Shame prevent you.