Audience of One
This week I've been exploring the incredible and limitless creativity of God, and how that creativity is extended to you and me in order for us to fulfill our calling to be co-creators with God.
I have come to believe that our calling to co-create with God is something that most of us feel at some level even though we don't have the words to describe why we are feeling it.
And this is largely due to the fact that it has remained the subject of theological debate and not something that's part of our everyday reflection.
Which is why I want to bring the conversation down to earth a bit, and talk about expectations today.
The reason that most of us come to believe that we are not creative, nor do we have the tools to creatively engage in God's ongoing works of creation in the world is that we feel unqualified and ill-equipped to the task.
Mostly, we feel this way because of other people's expectations, both real and imagined.
For example, every single day of the week I get up and I write. There are some days when I stare at the blank screen of the computer in front of me and I have no idea what to say.
And then I begin to fret.
I worry about what happens when I can't think of something, and what that will mean to the people who are expecting to see their Daily Devo appear in their inbox. I worry that if I approach it ham-handedly then what they do get will be terrible. It's a spiral that keeps going, spinning me in really unhelpful directions.
These are imagined expectations that I have placed on myself because I am assuming a bunch of things about the people who are reading these. There was a time when my entire motivation for writing was to make sure I wasn't letting anyone down.
There are also real expectations that we face from others as well, and they can quickly become our own.
When someone's anxiety, fears, biases, or opinions are expressed to us in the form of expectations, we can quickly find ourselves reacting to them and even internalizing them, turning them into a tyranny of sorts.
Fr. Anthony de Mello had this to say about the tyranny of those kinds of expectations:
As long as you live to fulfill other people’s expectations, you better watch what you wear, how you comb your hair, whether your shoes are polished—in short, whether you live up to every damned expectation of theirs. Do you call that human?
You gotta love Fr. Anthony's bluntness here, right? In essence, he's saying "Is that any way to live---always reacting and responding to the expectations of others?"
When it comes to creativity, and our calling to co-create with God we need to shift our mindset to a place where we are playing to an "Audience of One," and that "one" is quite simply God.
The shift happened for me some years ago when I began to realize that constantly reacting to both the real and imagined expectations of readers was stealing my joy of writing.
I decided to stop worrying and to start writing what was on my heart, what I believed the Spirit of God was filling me to write. It didn't happen overnight, but eventually, the weight of those old expectations faded, and my joy returned.
If you have been held back from fully embracing your role as a co-creator with God... If you have been hiding your light... If you have lost your joy in creating---whatever form it takes for you...
Know that you have an Audience of One, who loves you beyond measure, is your biggest fan, and has but one expectation of you: Do what you do with all the love you have within you.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.