Often we think the greatest forces that stand in our way are external. The negative forces of too little time, lack of know-how or a platform to shine on. Maybe it’s concern what others might say or think if we put our life on a plate for the world to consume and criticize. Or, as with most creatives, there’s the creeping fear of failure that rises from within.
I have found my greatest fears press in from a different direction. It is not so much the fear of failure that kills my creativity; it is the fear of success. I have heard this said before and raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, right! Says the person who’s living the life and experiencing success. Give me a break!”
But recently I have been pressing into a creative project that is so close to my heart I’m facing that fear with every tiny step I take toward bringing it to birth. See, success is not so much measured by the number of people who say it’s great or buy my stuff – success is actually stepping out on the things close to your heart. Success is breaking out of the “shadow life” into the light.
How many choose to live a shadow life, hiding in mediocrity because quite frankly it is safer and more secure? The shadow life skirts the edges of creative calling but never dives into the eye of the storm to experience the full force of divinity working in and through your hands to deliver the dream you carry so others can experience it.
The most vulnerable thing we can share is not our hurts and fears, it is our hopes and dreams. The things we most desire and our most fragile heart-held hopes.
This is where the giants congregate. Goliath doesn’t want to crush you, just keep you in the line. He wants your sling to stay in your pocket and your life to hide in the quaking crowd. Stepping forward and making yourself visible makes you a target for derision. Even brothers and sisters may “tut” at your boldness.
But what’s the cost of staying in line? What shadow falls over the heart when inspiration and playful creativity is quashed.
I have had in my heart for years now a desire to pastor a house of holy creatives. A community of called-out ones with a desire to share their life and color with the world in wildly anointed ways. God has encouraged us along the way with prophecies and promptings, but every time I step out from the line the pressure has pushed me back. Not a pressure that I would fail. Not a fear that I don’t have the goods or the grace.
It’s a terror of how terrific it would be to step into calling.
I also found that I kept trying to creep behind my comforts. I’m comfortable creating products and putting them to market. The transactional exchange of value is a straightforward proposition for me. But what I want is more than ‘ka-ching!’. I’m seeking transformation.
I wrote a book, ‘Unleash Your Creativity’. 250 pages of unpublished insight. It didn’t scratch the itch!
I have poured hours of time and thought, creating content for a course for Christian creatives, replete with fancy names and acronyms that make it sound like a shiny system. Never to roll it out.
I want more than a system. I’m seeking a tribe.
Each time I’ve pushed my heart beyond the line, I’ve discovered something new.
And this time my discovery is this. It is not safety that I seek, nor is it a safe place I want to offer others. My invitation is not to buy another course or a pile up another library of information on your overburdened shelf – it is to a community of Christ-centred lovers looking to lift one another in the art and act of creation.
I need not know everything to offer something valuable. My journey and my challenges, my trembling hopes, fears, and insecurities are as much a part of this mix as the stuff that usually ends up on the sales page.
Because I don’t want to be in a position where I cannot be myself. How horrible to think we could live a shadow life and not enjoy the freedom of being all out ourselves. That’s what my heart craves. Not perfection, not adulation or success in the conventional sense of the word. I want to find my tribe, encourage one another to create, and make, and write and sing, and dance and delight themselves in the seeds of God coming to fruition.
My journey here has been a lengthy one, and there’s still a way to go. I’m holding hard and tight to Jesus as I pick up one more stone and place it carefully in my sling.
This short confession is one way to let that sucker fly and find its mark.
I have no idea if this makes sense or not, but hopefully it might resonate with some other bold brothers and sisters ready to challenge whatever Goliath is shouting them down.
I applaud you! Come into the field of creativity and fear not. Facing your fears is admirable, but embracing your success, actually doing and delivering what is really in your heart – the full substance of it, not the shadow, is where the fields of joy are calling you to venture.