Who do you create for?
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
This month, the fewest people gathered here at my table. Of the few that gathered, even fewer joined the conversation.
In my early days of blogging, I used to freak out over my blog stats. These days, I barely remember that I have access to them. It’s better this way. Numbers give me hives and my pride is too easily tempted to begin boasting, should anything amazing be reflected there.
Even as I say that I am thinking–you know what is amazing?–that I have a single reader who isn’t my blood kin.
According to WordPress’s own stats, there are 71, 989,735 blogs on their platform alone. (That’s a ridiculous number–I’m getting itchy.)
Tumblr boasts 143.8 million sites. (I don’t even know what this means). Who knows how many Blogger sites there are, and we haven’t even talked about the various other content online jockeying for your attention.
With that much information and entertainment offered, it is imperative that we remember why we create anything at all.
I hadn’t planned on doing a 31 Days series. I have absolutely no business doing it–with a Retreat to plan and a study guide to write. But, in a moment, in the middle of creating a graphic for a post, I felt a nudge to do this series on creativity.
I knew it was risky. My readership isn’t really made up of people who love to chat it up about art and creativity–at least, it hasn’t been, until maybe, now.
I didn’t join the 31 Days meme to win readers, (which is great, since I lost a good many over this 31 days). I didn’t host giveaways during the series to make you like me. This whole exercise in this out-of-the-box series for me, started with a nudge, a prompting to explore creativity a bit more and to be willing to embrace my own creativity as a gift.
I gave away a necklace because it was beautiful and perfectly suited to the series. I made a leaf garland for myself and thought it was beautiful enough that someone else might like to have one too. I made a one-of-a-kind photo book because I love inspiring art and wanted to offer a little inspiration to one of you.
None of the giveaways were planned when I set out to do the series. Each one cropped up as the thought occurred to me. If you don’t know this about me, I will go ahead and confess to you now: while I like plans and organization, when it comes to my writing and my blog, I plan very little, and I am even less organized.
A good handful of you type-A readers just shuddered, I felt the shockwave all the way over here.
There’s no good excuse for me except that I am a middle child.
This series, (like the retreat I’m planning), is an act of obedience. These are not things I wanted to do, they are things I have been called to do. (Believe me when I say my wants and God’s calling are very often NOT the same thing in my life.)
Ultimately, I don’t create for you–I create as a response, as an act of obedience.
I hope that ultimately, you don’t create for me.
Three years ago, I started signing off with this little phrase, “By His Strength, For His Glory” and repeatedly, when I do anything, that is where I land. I create by His strength, for His glory. So while I always (ALWAYS) want to feed the few who gather here, ultimately, I create for HIM. It is He who chooses when and how to bless the work of my hands. Sometimes, it’s just for one of you. For however many, for however long, is up to Him.
My calling is to obey.
Stop making your art for the praise of man–because when we don’t show up, you will believe the lie that you have failed. Use your gifts of creativity because you are called to–regardless of the size of your audience.
Use your gifts because in your obedience, you will be blessed. Maybe not with readers. Maybe they won’t be beating down your door for your autograph.
It doesn’t matter.
Often the blessing slips in quietly and looks more like a heart transformation–a gift woven on the inside.
It’s better that way. God looks at the heart.
Tomorrow is the last day of this series. I’ve appreciated the quieter time, and the challenge God put before me. I see my own creativity differently now, and I pray you do too.
And, I miss the writing. I miss the words.
At the end of the day, this is my altar. I will come here, with my shoes off, and set the table for you. I will encourage you to live boldly for Christ, and to die to yourself.
I hope you’ll do the same for me. Because of Him.