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Approval at the Cost of Creativity

I have a lot of fears – oddly, most of them are related to modes of transportation – but my greatest fear is failure. As a general rule, I hate playing games (other than word/trivia games, but even those can bring on fits of self-loathing and insecurity) because it means the potential for losing. I have walked the straight and narrow path in my life that I knew would lead me to approval and my version of success. I thrive under human praise and shrivel under criticism. And because I’ve only had the highest of expectations for myself, failure is really, really scary.

So I was going out on a limb starting this blog and Etsy shop, an endeavor that has no guarantee of success. Because of my dreams of swimming in the cash I planned to make within half a year of starting, I’ve been discouraged by the slow going. I’m not exactly the Patron Saint of Patience and I’m more interested in the end result and less in the process. Art has been one of the few processes I’ve enjoyed while at the same working toward an end. But I am by no means a professional. I have no formal training. It’s because of the encouragement I’ve gotten along the way that convinced me to pursue this in the first place.

I have started this vicious cycle of checking stats on Etsy and watching the rise and fall of views. I live for the like on facebook and instagram (tell me I’m not the only one). I’ve bought into the lie that my success is only as good as my number of followers or my sales. I’m one criticism away from ending up in the loony bin. It’s discouraging to try to build marketing and see almost no results. I get it, art isn’t something people need, and my art speaks to a niche market, but still.

So here’s what happens: I miss out on the creativity because I’m obsessed with the publicity.

Can anyone relate? We would do well to shut off the noise and just create – create our own unadulterated, undiluted, unabashed versions of beauty that God has given us to create. Step away from the screens and clear our minds and create to the glory of God and not man. Oh, why is this so hard to do? We so easily replace the intangible with the tangible.

Maybe I’m not cut out for this creative life; I function better in an 8 to 5 job where I have clear parameters and I feel I have earned my right to create after putting in hard hours. I feel I need to justify my time at home. But God is teaching my stubborn heart that my worth is not found in likes, follows, orders, comments, listings. My worth is in the hard death won by His son to cover my inadequacies. It is in Jesus’ resurrection and my future glory with Him.

Sometimes it’s that our vision of what our lives should be doesn’t match up with God’s ultimate plan. And the steps we take along the way to His plan can be discouraging and sometimes painful. But He will take the brokenness and unfulfilled dreams and make them new. We only see a snapshot, but God sees the entirety of the film.

So let’s put down our lofty dreams and replace them with the creativity God has given us for this time as we work toward His far better goal.

Birds and Berry Studio Anne Hockenberry Artist
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Birds   &berry studio

Anne Hockenberry


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