Living for the Likes – Approval at the Cost of Creativity

I have a lot of fears – oddly, most of them are related to modes of transportation – but my greatest fear is failure. As a general rule, I hate playing games (other than word/trivia games, but even those can bring on fits of rage and self-loathing insecurity) because it means the potential for losing. I have walked the straight and narrow paths in my life that I knew would lead me to approval and my version of success. I thrive under human praise and shrivel under criticism. And because I’ve only had the highest of expectations for myself, failure is really, really scary.

So I was going out on a limb starting this blog and Etsy shop, an endeavor that has no guarantee of success. Because of my dreams of  swimming in the cash I planned to make within half a year of starting, I’ve been discouraged by the slow going. As you know, I’m not exactly the Patron Saint of Patience and I’m more interested in the end result and less in the process. Art has been one of the few processes I’ve enjoyed while at the same working toward an end. But I am by no means a professional. I have no formal training. It’s because of the encouragement I’ve gotten along the way that convinced me to pursue this in the first place.

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It starts out small with little indication of where it’s going.

I have started this vicious cycle of checking stats on Etsy and the blog and watching the rise and fall of views. I live for the like on facebook and instagram (tell me I’m not the only one). I’ve bought into the lie that my success is only as good as my number of followers or my sales. I’m one criticism away from ending up in the loony bin. It’s discouraging to try to build marketing and see almost no results. I get it, art isn’t something people need, and my art speaks to a niche market, but still.

So here’s what happens: I miss out on the creativity because I’m obsessed with the publicity.

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Over time, the image becomes clearer, the vision stronger.

Can anyone relate? We would do well to shut off the noise and just create – create our own unadulterated, undiluted, unabashed versions of beauty that God has given us to create. Step away from the screens and clear our minds and create to the glory of God and not man. Oh, why is this so hard to do? We so easily replace the intangible with the tangible.

Maybe I’m not cut out for this creative life; I function better in an 8 to 5 job where I have clear parameters and and I feel I have earned my right to create after putting in hard hours. I feel I need to justify my time at home. But God is teaching my stubborn heart that my worth is not found in likes, follows, orders, comments, listings. My worth is in the hard death won by His son to cover my inadequacies. It is in Jesus’ resurrection and my future glory with Him.

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Finally, the complete picture emerges.

Sometimes it’s that our vision of what our lives should be doesn’t match up with God’s ultimate plan. And the steps we take along the way to His plan can be discouraging and sometimes painful. But He will take the brokenness and unfulfilled dreams and make them new. We only see a snapshot, but God sees the entirety of the film.

So let’s put down our lofty dreams and replace them with the creativity God has given us for this time as we work toward His far better goal.

{I have postcards and 4 x 6 prints of the iconic Irma Hotel available for $2.00 a pop. Email me at annehockenberry{at}yahoo{dot}com and I’ll send you some with free of shipping}

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About birdsandberry

Etsy Seller, Art Enthusiast, Blogger, Jesus Lover, Teacher, Crafter
Image | This entry was posted in Seeing God in all of Life, The Creative Life, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Living for the Likes – Approval at the Cost of Creativity

  1. Shannon says:

    This happens to me, too. I’ll forget why I write because I’m too focused on how others are responding to my posts. I have to stop and remind myself that my approval comes from God, not man.

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  3. Yep, I’ve almost given up on my blog a few times due to the numbers and what I deemed as failing… but then I realized I LIKED writing it and would miss it. But it is hard to focus on just writing for the joy of writing when I so badly want my blog to take off.

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  4. I can relate to this post very well. It seems when I am trying to write for my “target audience” (which is what we bloggers are told to do), I get caught up in trying to write for their approval. I find my best writing is in my journal that is between me and the Lord. I’ve had many blog posts borne from my quiet time.

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    • It can be so hard, can’t it? The more I learn about blogging, the more I’m torn by the aspect of promoting to grow an audience and remaining authentic with the purpose of sharing God’s truth.

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  6. jerushaagen says:

    Wonderful post, Anne! This line really got to me: “Sometimes it’s that our vision of what our lives should be doesn’t match up with God’s ultimate plan.” That is my seemingly constant struggle. I have to remind myself that my life is turning out exactly the way God planned and it is GOOD, even though it doesn’t match what I imagined should be my reality. I can also relate to relying on social media numbers as our measure of success or sense of self-worth. You are so right, that our worth come only through Christ! Thanks for this encouragement today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to remind myself of this things every day because it’s really easy to fall back into that pattern of relying on the approval of others. It’s hard to be an independent artist of any kind, but it’s good to have those reminders of who our worth is really in, whether our numbers show it or not.

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