17 Apr 2010

Accidents and Compliments

A few days ago when I woke up I got up and came downstairs and immediately turned my computer on. This is my routine most days if I‘m not working early. I get up, check facebook, check my emails, check any blogs that I read normally and then start to think about writing for the day.

That day though I got up and went to the xxxchurch site straight away. I am going to be writing a blog for them and I had submitted my first blog a couple weeks prior. And I am really excited about it because xxxchurch saved my life and I love and appreciate what they are doing and to be even slightly involved with this ministry is really exciting for me.

But…for the last week or so I had been logging on waiting to see my blog up on the site. And every day I had been disappointed slightly. Because it wasn’t up. Until three days ago that is.

I logged on and there it was. My xxxchurch blog. Brilliant! I had finally made it. My name in lights..so to speak. So I did a few other things online and I did a curious thing. I did something that I have been getting into the habit of doing lately and its not good.

Every few minutes I would refresh the page just to see if anyone had commented.

And suddenly I realised I had missed the point so badly. I had made this about me. I had made the blog all about me. Instead of writing and hoping that somehow that writing would help people who struggle, I was writing and hoping that someone would say I was an awesome writer.

I wanted Glory.

Now there is nothing wrong with receiving compliments. It is affirming and it encourages us and helps us to become better at what we do.

But on the flipside, when we do our art to receive compliments we have screwed priorities.

Like the musician who just wants to be famous and get rich, we have distorted our art. We have just started and already we have sold our souls to the devil (notice the small d, the grammar version of the middle finger).

That’s what selling out is. The process of doing something we love for all the wrong reasons.

The footballer who just wants to get all the glamour and girls.
The writer who wants people to hang off her every word.
The actor who makes the lowest common denominator Hollywood movie instead of the artistically intelligent indie movie.
The band who rehash their last album because that’s what sold millions.
The Pastor who sets out just to be controversial and offend.

So back to my xxxchurch blog and later that day I returned to it to find someone had commented on it.

Great! The moment I had been waiting for..

Only it wasn’t quite the moment I had been expecting. Instead the first comment had a real go at my post. I won’t go in to what they said but let’s just say they weren’t impressed at all.

But as I sat there reading it I realised it was the best thing that could have happened. I realised that I was free. I realised that if I write just so people can pat me on the back then I am doing something dirty, something I don’t want to be involved in.

If you are an artist or do anything creative really then I’m sure you know this feeling. The feeling of wanting Glory. I think it’s natural. But when you put all your energies into that then at some point you will feel let down. Because if our success is based on what others think of us then we are going to fail. At some point someone won’t think you are that great.

And that’s OK.

Because some will. There will be people who will be moved and inspired and helped by what you do.

But even that’s not enough. We need to do it for ourselves. We need to fulfill that part of us that says “this is what I was made to do”. This is why I am here.

Sooner or later you will crash into a wall. It could be creative or it could be someone’s opinion.

But you will just have to go around it.

Check out my new xxxchurch blog here if you like.

And feel free to say whatever you like


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