Transparent? Taking my Own Advice
So in case you were wondering YES I am behind on this writing challenge…AND THAT”S OK!!! But it’s time to be transparent. And if you have been with me since the beginning you know we talked about Esther’s influential attribute of transparency on Day 6. I have been silent on my blog, not just on this writing challenge since day 13. This was not my plan. I wish I could define it. The long and the short of it is this though the last 3 months have been a full on attack from the father of lies.
During this time I have been in God’s word. ALMOST EVERY. DAY. Just because we are doing the “Christian-y” thing to do, does not mean that Satan’s darts won’t fly at us. Matter of fact it puts an even bigger target on our backs.
Opening My Eyes to What’s Really going on
Just around the time I hit day 13 of this Challenge I began this devotional with a lady in our church. It’s a very low key situation. We are keeping each other accountable, but it’s pretty much all via text message. Both of us are introverts and texting works great for the two of us. We have talked about our challenges and how we have grown and how we are being stretched through the process. And depending on the specific challenge we will text each other pictures of drawings and the like. (THERE WEE NO VIDEOS OR PICS OF THE DANCE PARTY- Sorry but not sorry)
But something began to happen. I don’t know as to how or what specifically happened but my drive to write for this challenge died…like dead away. I would sit here at my desk and stare at the computer screen and then I would get up and walk away. Nobody was reading my stuff anyway!
And then I hit week two of this study Courageous Creative- Act 2 as she calls it! And it is all about Creativity KILLERS! OH BOY!!
So far we have studied 5 out of the 8 killers of creativity. Out of the 5, four have played a major part of my last two weeks..
#1- People Pleasing
I already gave you a hint as to one of them and it just happened to be todays lesson. PEOPLE PLEASING. Yep I am one. This does not shock me, I know this is a real struggle in my life and I know that this is a constant problem for me, what I didn’t realize is that it is SLOWLY killing my creativity.
The reality is this: I need to write, paint, sew, create for God- NOT for man ( or woman). When I pour myself into creativity it needs to be focused on God, not what others think of it. SOOOO who cares if no one reads this. This is what God has given me to say, so I choose obedience over views, likes, shares and comments.
This also translates into many areas in my life not just this one.
I think this second one and people pleasing actually play a connected role at least for me.
I have this constant fear that I am going to offend someone with what I write. Yes this stems from a circumstance that happened a few years ago and then I virtually became silent here and other places. I have let that fear control me. I didn’t do anything wrong then. I was blameless, but Satan had a foothold that would last years and I began to find myself thinking ” well what if I make someone mad?” The problem is this, I am writing about God’s word and that is offensive to others.. EVEN to Christians, especially if it is something they don’t want to hear- something that might be convicting them of sin in their own lives. it’s called “stepping on tocs” in church-ese. I have purple toes as I have been reading a lot as of late. Three out of the four devotionals have been beating ALL of these areas AND none of them are connected.
I am warned in Scripture that this will happen. It happened to Jesus ALL. THE. TIME. because the gospel is offensive. God’s word is. offensive. It is as they say “sharper than any two-edged sword”.
In reality I don’t need to fear what might offend someone as long as I am blameless before God in the things I do and say (or write for that matter).
Rules and Regulations
The third thing is this RULES AND REGULATIONS! ( I am a mom, Rules and regulations are my jam) Yeah, we set all sorts of crazy rules and boundaries on our kids. We expect them to be little adults all the time. I do this a lot without realizing it. We are unrealistic with them.
In scripture the disciples are trying their very best to “protect” a weary Jesus by keeping children away from Him. When Jesus catches on He says, ” let the little children come to me”. He doesn’t care that they are full of energy, wiggling, running, and being loud. Because Jesus understood something that most “mature adults” don’t. Children have reckless faith. They love unconditionally. They believe without restraint. They care far deeper than most adults. Do you know how they get to be stoic non-emotional adults?They get that way because WE stuff their little boundless bodies into an adult sized chair and make them behave according to our wise ways.
Today I had to answer hard questions for my kids.
Questions like: Why doesn’t so and so like me? they said they love me but then they treat me in bad ways. That’s not how you show someone you love them! (out of the mouths babes)
Then we had to answer why so and so has cancer, and watch a child’s sad eyes as they realized the reality. Tears filled their eyes as they were moved to tears. As we stood praying for lunch, hearing one child praying for this person, and then themselves, that they would become more loving and kind. My heart broke. They aren’t perfect, they know that and yet their hearts break in ways most adults hold back.
And so today I have chosen to let my children be children. They do not have a greater responsibility because they are pastor’s kids, they have a greater responsibility because they are believers and followers of Jesus. And to other’s dismay that doesn’t only mean in the behavior department. They have the great and mighty task to show us adults how to love unconditionally, how to abound in grace and mercy, how to forgive without holding a grudge and to break all bounds in social standings. Telling someone they are beautiful when they smile, telling them they love them, hugs and grace, no matter the circumstance. THAT is their responsibility and from where I stand, sit, walk and worship the kids in our church are knocking THIER responsibilities out of the park. It’s we adults who are failing miserably.We need to take a lesson from these kids how to live with reckless abandon. I want to be more like them when I grow up!
And the last thing in this devotional so far that I am struggling with is STRESS! We constantly say we need to de-stress but as the author points out it’s not about getting rid of stress, we can’t it is a apart of life. It is WHAT we do with that stress that counts.
What do you choose to do with stress when it comes? I can tell you what I do. I grumble, complain, and eat chocolate !!!! And then if that doesn’t solve it (hint it never does) I finally take it too God. I have been on this earth for 38 1/2 years. I have been a believer for 34 of them, ya think I would have been able to have a better grip on this by now! to quote comedian Ken Davis, I am. one of God’s sheep and sheep are stupid!
Creativity Killers Impact on My Influence
So how does all of this fit in with influence? Well, it’s like this, when I CHOOSE to be focused on other things besides my relationship with God, like people pleasing and fear, then I am giving over control to other things and that will affect other choices that I make.
So by choosing to fear offending people , then I am choosing at times to NOT say the words God has laid on my heart. When I fail to speak truth because I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, I am failing God. It’s about HOW we choose to say those words. Are we saying it in a loving way OR are we being critical judgmental, harsh, and just downright mean? I am actively choosing to not do what God wants me to. And at times over the last two weeks I have chosen NOT to choose. It is still a choice.
So yes I guess over the last two weeks I have been opting for the negative influence only because I was choosing the non-choice. to ignore this monumental task to took nearly a month ago. BUT today I am picking it back up and I am GOING to finish if it kills me!
How about you? do any of these “Creativity Killers” kill your influence? I can definitely say that they are influence killers as well. And by writing this post I am CHOOSING to let my transparency INFLUENCE YOU the reader. Can I challenge you to be an influence today by being transparent with where you are at on your journey? Tell a close friend or a family member! And ask them to to help you fight the battle!