Yesterday I wrote about the creativity boom I’m seeing in the face of recession. But at some point, all of these people I wrote about had to actually start working on their dreams on a consistent, focused basis. Some people, myself included, are just starting to do that for the first time.
But as I thought about it, one thing more than any other keeps us from getting started/being consistent/pushing forward even though we aren’t seeing immediate results.
I propose that fear is the enemy of creativity. Okay, I know it is. I’ve battled it for years, and chances are, so have you. What do we fear in the pursuit of our dreams?
Well, yeah. There’s a chance of both of those things. In fact, you will be criticized. Let’s just put that out there. Say you write a blog (or have a business website or ANY kind of web presence at all, because hey, most modern day dreams will involve some kind of digital self-promotion).
Those same idiots who post nasty, poorly spelled and grammatically criminal things under YouTube videos are trolling the Internet, looking for other people to say nasty things about. They will always be there. What you need to do is decide not to care. Because they are idiots, and if you don’t believe your God given dream is bigger than a few 35 year old idiots who still live in their parents’ basements, then you need to do some serious thought process evaluation. Get over it.
I want to write that last paragraph over and over again, and then tape it to your face. Actually, write it out and stick it on your bathroom mirror. Now. I’ll wait till you get back.
Heidi Thomason recently posted the following quote on Facebook that sums up what I’m trying to say very nicely:
“To escape criticism – do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard
There you go. Don’t do anything, and nobody will ever hurt you. Of course, then people will criticize you for not doing anything. So nevermind, that won’t work.
In that same vein, here’s a fantastic article by Jon Acuff (one of my favorite bloggers, and the author of “Stuff Christians Like”) that deals with maintaining your creative integrity. Because as your dreams start to take off, there’s also a temptation to stay safe. I don’t want to blog about that/write that song, because then I might lose followers/fans.
See, the thing about fear is that it follows us and adapts.
First, we’re afraid to start. Then we’re afraid to keep going. Then, we’re so afraid of losing what we have that we lose artistic integrity and stay safe. Sanitary. Disney. (Whoops, that last one just slipped in there.)
As a part of this conversation, Daron Lindsey brought up yesterday that fear is the opposite of faith, so what does that mean for Christians?
Okay, I’m going to come right out and call fear what it is: Satan. The enemy of all that is good.
C.S. Lewis makes a compelling argument in “The Screwtape Letters” for the fact that God gives us our pleasures and passions…and Satan tries to pervert or prevent them. Satan does not want us to be who we were made by God to be (the speaker here is Uncle Screwtape, a demon who speaks of God as “the Enemy” – I did a little underlining for emphasis here):
“Of course I know that the Enemy also wants to detach men from themselves,
but in a different way. Remember always, that He really likes the little vermin, and sets
an absurd value on the distinctness of every one of them. When He talks of their losing
their selves, He only means abandoning the clamour of self-will ; once they have done
that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts (I am afraid, sincerely)
that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever. Hence, while He
is delighted to see them sacrificing even their innocent wills to His, He hates to see
them drifting away from their own nature for any other reason. And we should always
encourage them to do so. The deepest likings and impulses of any man are the raw
material, the starting-point, with which the Enemy has furnished him. To get him away
from those is therefore always a point gained; even in things indifferent it is always
desirable to substitute the standards of the World, or convention, or fashion, for a
human’s own real likings and dislikings.”
God made you to be you – he wants you to be you. Satan does not want you to be you, because that’s dangerous. He uses fear, he uses distraction, he uses despair.
Stop letting him.