Praise and criticism come wrapped in the same package. You rarely experience one without the other, and being overly concerned what people will think or say about you if you step out creatively is crippling.
I want to talk about something today that is a universal affliction of almost every creative who puts themselves out there. And it’s something that we will all face at some point point and oftentimes at often points. In fact, it is a fear that we face every time we press the publish button. Well, at least I do. I don’t know about anyone else. And it’s the fear of rejection. I mean, rejection is such a painful thing to go through, such a very real fear that we have to look eyeball to eyeball and step through every time we put ourselves out to the world, that sting sometimes of not being wanted, that smart of being misunderstood, that question as to how people will respond, or indeed, and perhaps even worse, not respond to what we put out into the world. It is a scary thing. And as we’ve been looking at Genesis, chapter 26, we find Isaac did not just face famine circumstances. He didn’t just face pushback from his contemporaries. He didn’t just face his fair share of inward struggles which are common to man. But he also experience the bloody nose of outright rejection, just that punch in the head that sometimes comes when we set up ourselves and we push ourselves forward and we take the leap and there’s no one there to catch us.
I don’t know how many of you can relate to that, but I’ve been there on a number of occasions, and I can tell you I do not savour those moments. And here we find in Genesis, chapter 26:16, Bimalek, who was kind of the authority and the leader at that time. He was a man that Isaac was connected to, perhaps even felt contemporary with or looked up to. There was a connection there of some description. And here we find a Bimaleck coming to Isaac and saying, Go from us, get out. We do not want you around here anymore. I’m not saying that rejection is always quite so outright and so blatant, but that spirit of rejection wants to come and wants to prevent us from either number one ever stepping out or number two, ever stepping out again. It’s like once you’ve been on the floor, once you felt that glove on your nose, sometimes you just do not want to stand up and step out again. But honestly, my dear friends, my creative brothers and sisters, my Christian creative comrades, the men and women in this creative army that God is raising up to bring delightful wonder to the world.
It is something that we need to be willing to do. It is something when someone says, when the world says, when circumstances say, when our own emotions say, because oftentimes rejection is speaking to us, and it is of our own concoction, our own making. People are hearing, people are reading, motion is taking place, you are moving forward. And we cannot bow to that inward voice that tries to diminish what we are trying to accomplish and what we are stepping out to do. And so I want to encourage you, keep going. Get back up. Have another go write another book, put out another blog post, record another podcast, whatever it may be. Don’t back off. Shirakatulamo Kura, Bendi Kingda I break the power of that spirit of rejection and that spirit of fear. And I call forth the mighty Holy Ghost in your heart once again that refreshing stream of life, that light and that life and that love that is God in you, coming forth like a mighty flame. Hallelujah. We don’t want to stand in the crosshairs. Of course we don’t. Stepping into the ring of dreams and making a splash in the world inevitably puts you in the crosshairs.
And you don’t want it pointing at you. You don’t want criticism. You don’t want to face those fears. You don’t want to hear oftentimes what people might say or think about what you’re putting out there. And when they say things that are less than positive, it will hurt and oftentimes. See, the thing is, here in Genesis 26, what we find is the ones that were resisting Isaac were those who felt as though there was a fixed pie. If Isaac gets a bigger slice, it means I get less. Yeah, but creative life really demands that we continually come and face that fear and step through that fear of rejection and not worry about others and how they will respond when we choose to kind of step away from living only a half life, living only part way, stepping only so far. It demands that we put our foot in the water and believe for the waters to part. It demands that we step out of the boat and believe Jesus and look to Jesus. It demands that we take a hold of every resource that we’ve got, both within and without, and put them to use in ways that we believe will benefit other people.
You can’t put your work out there without inviting criticism and sometimes even outright aggression. A message worth hearing will always, to some degree, cause controversy. And part of building an audience is also alienating the folks who don’t belong in your tribe. And of course, I’m not talking about being rude or unmanly or political or I’m just talking simply about being uncompromising and confident in the clear communication that you present and put out to a specific audience. And what I want to bring out, really as part of this podcast, this episode is it comes down to this. You can’t help everyone, but you can help someone. If you try and reach and please everyone, you’ll most likely end up reaching no one. As coaches, creators, artists, and influencers, we come with a message to share, not just widgets to sell. And any message worth it sold is going to be polarising to some degree. Finding your tribe is as much about sifting those who won’t be blessed by what you contribute as finding those who will talk about. Again, I’m not talking about actively repelling people, just knowing that your message will be of such a kind that it will do that work for you.
And sometimes that is going to hurt. Sometimes when people unsubscribe from your email list, sometimes when people criticise the book that you’ve put out, sometimes when people may speak negatively of you on social media or post a bad review or a bad comment on your blog or whatever else it may be. These all come as part and parcel of this sifting process. I’ve had folks leave scathing reviews on some of my author and software courses because I speak about Jesus in those courses. I’ve experienced the most incredible rudeness on Twitter for suggesting that the theory of origins, known as evolution is somewhat unscientific, among other things. But I’ve also enjoyed the satisfaction of many who resonate with my heart, my message, and even my manner. However odd it may be, praise and criticism often come wrapped in the same package, and you rarely experience one without the other. And being overly concerned about either about what people will think or say if you step out creatively is crippling like an inordinate desire for praise. Always like scrolling to see if someone’s liked whatever you’ve done, or Conversely, like a crippling fear that someone may say something bad.
Both having a desire for either to a degree is not helpful. We have to be willing to continue and consistently contribute without worrying either way how people will respond as far as building my tribe is concerned, and I know that there’s some question about the world is so tribal, sir. Let’s just say my people. Yeah, the people that I connect with, the people that I resonate with, the people that God has wired me and shaped me to help and bless and build. Yeah, they’re Jesus people. That’s who I’m called to Minister to. I’m a pastor at heart. My wife and I did many years pastoring, and I wasn’t the greatest pastor and I didn’t build the biggest churches or etc. It’s not a brag. I’m not trying to kind of lift myself up and show off my shiny badges, but I do have a heart for people, and that’s been played out throughout my career, if you like. Throughout my life in Christ, I found that, like when I stepped into the marketplace, there was no hiding it. I had no invisibility cloak of respectability or what some call a personal faith that I can crawl behind and just keep quiet.
I couldn’t help but be who I am, and I’m encouraging you. I’m not saying that you have to be the same way. I guess what I’m saying is you have to become comfortable with who you are and turn up become very comfortable with who you are, the message that you carry, the gifts that you bring to the table and don’t be ashamed. Don’t be fearful. And as I say, that’s not to say that you have to fanfare your faith to be faithful to the creative call of God. I’m just sharing the kind of the sieve, if you like that I use. Yeah. Like, you know, a sieve where you’re doing cooking and you’re kind of sieving flour to get the fine flour and you put the flour in and shake it around a bit. Your message is like that sieve. When you get your messaging right, it will do the job for you. It will sift out what oughtn’t to be left in there and will bring you into contact with the people that you are called to bless. And my whole emphasis really, that my Jesus first. Everything else follows philosophy does shake the flower.
It does and ultimately finds the audience that I feel most comfortable to engage with and who I feel best equipped to help with regard to my work here online. I love to Minister encouragement and equipping to creative Christians. And that doesn’t mean that I don’t have love for those who don’t know Christ or those who aren’t in the creative spheres of life are from it. But I do know to who I’m called in this season and with the products and training that I create. And I’m content. I’m content. I’m confident that I’m following the leading of the Holy Ghost in this, and I’m ready to turn up 100% and to allow God to lead me and to kind of shape that as I continue to take step by step. And as you begin to take those steps, God will shape things and God will clarify things for you, too. And surely I could reach a broader audience and build a more lucrative business if I adapted my style and kept quiet about some things. Of course I could. But it’s not who I am. That’s not my call and the message that I share. And a lot of the training that I do could certainly serve a wider audience if I close it differently.
But as I say, we need to know who we are and we need to be content and confident to turn up in that manner. I guess my question to you today is this idea of rejection coming from that top point in what we started with and then coming down through this idea of actually any message is going to polarise and not in a bad way. It just simply helps you to define and to become more clearly helpful to those whom God has called you to. I want to ask you, who has God called you to and to whom has he not now being able to clearly answer this question can really help you sharpen the edge of your message. I guess be ready for some kickback as you do that around every statement of certainty, the doubters love to congregate and criticise. And when we begin to get bold with our messaging. Sometimes it can cause some kickback, so be ready for that. But don’t be fearful of rejection. Don’t be fearful of misunderstanding. They never feel nice. They never feel good, that’s for sure. But as you lean in to what you believe God has placed within you, you will begin to resonate with the people that you are called to influence.
You are called to build and you are called to bless.
Thanks for listening to today’s episode. Hopefully it was a blessing to you if it was do please consider leaving a rating in a review on whatever platform you are listening on. I also would love to encourage you to cheque out my new book Faithful Creative. We’ve got a package of resources designed specifically to encourage you in your Christian creative call. You can cheque that out at faithfulcreativebook.com and if you choose to pick it up, use the Promo code podcast for 50% off so you’ll get its for half price. Have a great rest of your day and God bless Jesus first everything else follows.