Tanner Olson: Why You Should Share Your Creative Gifts With the World
One afternoon I sat across from a young artist whose backpack was heavy with notebooks filled with writings and drawings. His face lit up as he talked about creating, how he dreamed of one day releasing a book, and maybe even a storefront gallery. There is something beautiful about the dreams of a young artist. But when I asked him how he planned to share his art with the world, the light seemed to leave as fear entered. He explained that while he desperately wanted to share his art, each eager sentence returned to a fear of his art only bringing glory to himself, rather than God.
But that was just the beginning.
He went on to say he feared being rejected; that he would share his art only to discover it didn’t matter.
I believe he’s not the only one who has found himself stuck between this holy tension, being pulled to and fro between the honest line of selfishness and offering, rejection and acceptance. This tension has the powerful ability to leave us paralyzed by fear or to propel us to take a brave and honest step into the beautiful uncertainty of creating and sharing our art from the depths of our redeemed hearts.
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At the wide-eyed age of 21, years before I would ever begin to call myself an artist or creative, I sat with my feet dangled over the edge of a rocky cliff, overlooking the beautiful tree tops swaying across the wilderness of West Virginia. Next to me sat Katie, a life-giving individual with a wild and free soul, her life planted deep in the love of Jesus. As the sun began to melt into the horizon, Katie exhaled deeply, before letting out a whisper of an exclamation, “God is romancing me!”
I was taken aback, my eyes crinkled into my nose, making the “Who farted?!” face, trying to make sense of what she said.
I had never heard anyone say that before.
I don’t know why I hadn’t.
Katie was right.
Romancing us with His honest creation, His story of life and death, hope and decay, beauty and brilliance.
And He still is.
But His creation does more than romance us, it moves us.
God graciously invites us to imitate Him, to create like the Creator, the one who made us in His image. So it is no wonder why something deep within us craves to create beauty, to mimic the Master.
We must push fear aside and step with humility as we begin pouring over words, colors, rhymes, sounds, and keys.
We create without the interruption of fear because we believe that creativity is an act of adoration, admiration of the One who created us.
Easier said than done.
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This begs the question… why?
Why is it that we have grown hesitant and weary to create and share our creation?
Has this holy tension kept you from taking a step forward?
Is the fear of receiving the glory for something you created holding you back from creating?
Or are you paralyzed be the possibility of rejection?
I’d like to be able to write something titled “The 5 Steps to Overcoming Your Fear of Sharing Your Art”, but there aren’t five steps.
But from what I’ve learned, there are a few guiding habits.
First, we trust.
Then, we obey.
And we step forward with humility.
Trust the Creator in whose image you were created and trust His truth in the voices around you.
Be obedient to the gifts He has given you.
And create and share your art with humility.
Perhaps your creation will be an opportunity to point the way back to God.
Perhaps your words will lead someone to the words of Jesus.
Perhaps your painting will invite another to look at the sunset as more than a daily occurrence.
Perhaps your bravery to create will invite and inspire others to create, just like His creation did for you.
The road to creating and sharing your creation is met with miles of second guessed thoughts, lists of excuses, and creeping lies planted by Satan himself.
You’re probably quite familiar with them:
You aren’t good enough.
You’re too old.
You’re too young.
Someone has already done that.
No one will like it.
Nobody will care.
And perhaps the loudest lie of all:
It doesn’t matter.
Leave the excuses and lies and hold tight the warmth of the truth:
You were created to create.
This world needs your creation.
And when you hear it doesn’t matter, know that it does.
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Tanner Olson is a writer, storyteller, and the creator of Written to Speak, a spoken word and writing project that seeks to share hope and announce love. Tanner currently serves at ACTS Church Lakeline in Austin, Texas as their Director of Community and Communications. He loves breakfast food, Orlando Magic basketball, coffee, and his wife, Sarah.
Tanner is set to release his first book with Sword and Swan Media House later this year: “I’m All Over the Place: A Book of Poems, Prayers, and Wonderings.”