I know. You’ve worked a long time and you’ve tried to put in those 10,000 hours this man says you need in order to perfect your craft. You’ve lived on hope, and following a dream, and yet, up ahead, you only see more of the overgrown, and hard to navigate road that you’ve traveled so far. And you’re thinking, what difference does it make if I quit? What difference do I make?
Here, it’s important to remember those first few words in Genesis, “In the beginning, God created . . . “ You were created in the image of God, and you were created to create. Those gifts and talents are part of your DNA and by using them, you continue His artistry in the world. By the beauty of what you do, you make pliable the hard surfaces of life for others, you give people a place for their own emotions and feelings to resonate. “I’m not alone,” they think because of what you do, because of your honesty, and they find encouragement in the heartfelt renderings of your life.
God could have given us a soundless, black and white world, but He chose to give us one teaming with sensory beauty. In the same way, you spin delight with your offerings.
When we heard about the butterfly effect, we wondered, but he says it’s true. Those butterfly wings flapping on the other side of the world can affect what happens on this side of the planet. The same is true for you. What you do not only affects you, and the people you touch, but the people they touch and on, and on in ripples ad infinitum. Your work matters in this generation, and the next, and the next, and the next. Truly, a “people yet unborn” may praise him because of your efforts today. And it’s not just the big things that matter, but the small things, too. Even those works unseen by others have import in ways we cannot imagine. Perhaps, tomorrow, in a dark recess, half a world away, another finds hope because you didn’t give up, because you persevered.
When you are tempted to minimize the value of your efforts, remember, the God of the universe leans forward to take in your painting, your singing, and your writing. Your talents and gifts were his idea and He has chosen you. Sift critiques for what can make your work stronger and use them for transformation, but don’t allow rejections or negative comments to summarize the worth of your work.
No matter the means of expression, whether you tool belts, fashion jewelry, design greeting cards, paint landscapes, write screenplays, novels, or devotions, pen lyrics, sculpt clay, construct tables, draw cartoons, play an instrument, develop lessons for adults or children, etch woodblocks, create culinary delights, or anything else where creativity is involved, "Let every detail in your lives, words, actions, whatever, be done in the name of the Master, Jesus . . . " (Colossians 3:17 The Message).
Let Him make His mark through you.
In a week or so, I start a new Bible study on Gideon. In preparation for that, a friend also in the study, sent me this scripture from Judges 6. "But God faced him (Gideon) directly: 'Go in this strength that is yours. Save Israel from Midian. Haven’t I just sent you?'” In the face of overwhelming odds, long lines of closed doors, and feelings of inadequacy, we go in the strength we have, even if it seems little, because God has called us. God has sent us. And God only knows how He will capitalize on our weakness to fulfill His purpose.
Friends, be encouraged to continue. You are not alone. We are on this journey together. Don’t let discouragement shut up your heart.
Please know, in this dimly lit world, the shimmering jewel of your creativity shines forth and brings glory to Him, and He smiles.