en-courage the fearful artist


Like many creators, I have a lot of trouble coming up with a convincing response to people when they praise my art.  One part of me (the oh-so-holy part) is all like:

“I am but an unworthy musical urchin.  Begone, ye tempter of my inflated ego!”

And the other part of me wants to say,

“Heck yeah it was amazing.  BOW BEFORE ME.”

I haven’t yet reconciled these parts of me, and there’s usually no time in the split second between compliment and socially-acceptable response to promote reconciliation.  #socialinteractionsucks

So I usually mumble a quick thank-you as sincerely as I can and then try to deflect.  “No, thank YOU for thanking me.  What a genuinely grateful person you are.”

Difficulty with this is par for the course in my creative endeavors.

Side note: I’m currently speaking for myself here, but if you’d like me to feel less neurotic (this is all about me anyway), drop me a note in the comments about your social awkwardness.  Maybe we’ll form a club.  #whee

As I’ve dedicated more brain bandwidth to the problem, I think it’s related to a larger issue – that of fear, or perhaps, lack of courage.  Or perhaps, an unwillingness to be en-couraged by others.

It’s cool in society to be real right now about our problems, fears, addictions, you name it.  I believe it’s not only cool, but right.  However, I also believe that our follow-through sucks.  We need to nail the landing.

For instance, we let ourselves hear these truths:

  1. You are not strong enough.
  2. What you’ve created could definitely be better.
  3. Your pain is real and deep.
  4. Going out on that stage, taking that risk, speaking the so long unspoken – these are terrifying and difficult things.
  5. The world is broken and is going to hell.

And forget to hear these trump truths:

  1. Christ is your strength.
  2. You and your creations are lovely to your Creator, no matter the flaws.
  3. Christ will wipe away all tears and heal all wounds.
  4. Courage, dear heart.  The Lord is with you.
  5. This world has a Savior who bled and died to redeem it, and will come again to claim it fully.

In other words: be honest.  Just be MORE honest.

How does this relate to accepting encouragement?  I need to allow myself to hear those words and fully accept them.  That’s what thankfulness is.  I do this when someone buys me cheese curds, very willingly.  Is it that different, besides being better for my waistline, to delight in a kind word?  Besides that, I need to intentionally en-courage others with trump truths.

Soak in the truths of Scripture that fill you with courage this year, because as true as Genesis 3 is, a single verse totally trumps it:

John 1:14 – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

What are some trump truths that you come back to time and time again? Also, do you have any stories or tips on responding to compliments or en-couraging others?



One thought on “en-courage the fearful artist

  1. Pingback: principalities and psalms | art in society | made | new

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