We often lack perspective on how close we are to achieving our dreams. We toil in seeming obscurity, and are ready to give up just before that big break. Why do we do that? Why are ready to throw in the towel? More apropos, why do we feel we are deserving of notice at all? The world is full of artists vying for attention. The Internet is a noisy, crowded place. So many voices want to be heard.
What makes us special?
Nothing, and yet everything. If you feel a burden to share, if your life feels empty when you don’t: write, paint, make music–in short, create art–by all means put it out there.
But realize your are competing in a very noisy arena. In the case of blogging, there will always be those who have a larger following, get more comments. As we discussed yesterday, it serves no one any good to compare ourselves with our heroes. Our job is to create the best art we can, do our utmost to remove any roadblocks, and leave the results to God.
That is faith, my friends.
Trusting the God Who gave us the abilities, talents–in short the desires in our hearts–to provide the increase. We sidestep the hard roads on the way to our detriment, for it is in them that character is forged. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule–there are seeming overnight successes (even so, we often don’t know of the years to toil that went into them)–but they are just that: exceptions.
The simple fact is this: there is no shortcut to character. You don’t want to be one of those people who we altogether too frequently see, having achieved success, their lives then implode–because they weren’t ready for it. You only need turn on the nightly news to know this is true.
I have been there, my friends. Back when this blog was at Blogspot, I had some early successes. I wrote something about how Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz helped me through a hard time, and somehow it came to the attention of Penny Carrothers. Yes, the Penny from BLJ commented on my blog! And so did Michael Hyatt’s wife, Gail!
I thought I was special–that if I wrote it, they would come. But that didn’t prove to be true. It only proved how immature I was, and the depths to which I would stoop for attention. And when attention didn’t come, I was ready to give up.
I lacked perspective. Talent, and ability, I had–but not character. I had not been tried, forged in the fires of obscurity.
Even now, this blog is not huge. But that’s okay–because I get to sing my song, and tell the truth. And that, my friends, is what we need to be about: telling the truth. Whether it’s to an audience large, or small, tell the truth.
And trust God to provide the increase. He either will, or won’t, in His time, and way. But work hard along the way. By all means: don’t give up, but stop looking for shortcuts. There is no substitute for time in the trenches. Honor your art by taking the time to do it right.
The results are out of your hands.
How about you? Have you had any false expectations shattered by harsh reality? Have you wanted to give up?