It’s been a year of new things. A new business. New ideas and opportunities. New communities. A new church. Filled with new people.
As an introvert, new things always seem to require an extra measure of energy. Energy and courage. I think it’s because new things demand risk and vulnerability. Whether we’re meeting people for the first time, or creating from a personal place, or attempting something new, we open ourselves up to failure, rejection and the nagging doubt that Maybe I actually don’t have anything worthwhile to offer.
As I’ve ventured into uncharted waters again and again this year, I’ve repeatedly come face to face with this doubt. Especially when…
…my new idea flops.
…I’m slow to make new friends.
…I perceive success from others in my industry, and I am not there.
…sharing a passion is met by silence.
…a gift I offer is not received.
It’s in these moments more than any other time that I need to cling to the wise words of Emily P. Freeman when she says that:
“You have something unique and beautiful to offer. You have something the world has never seen.”
Each of us is a unique, one-of-a-kind creation. Scripture tells us that God knit us together in our mothers’ wombs and that we are awesomely, distinctly and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14-15) Another verse says we are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). The original Greek for “workmanship” is poiema, where the word poem comes from.
We are literally God’s poetry - His art to the world.
It’s difficult when the art that we are is not received. It’s hard when we offer our authentic selves and people don’t seem to notice or care. And it can feel like rejection when the love we pour out, the words we speak, the way we try to give to and bless others is not appreciated… but that does not diminish the art—the poetry—that you and I are.
As Brené Brown shares in her book Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.:
“Just because we didn’t measure up to some standard of achievement doesn’t mean that we don’t possess gifts and talents that only we can bring to the world. Just because someone failed to see the value in what we can create or achieve doesn’t change its worth or ours.”
Let those words sink in for a moment.
Because it can be hard to receive the truth of them when it feels like we are experiencing rejection.
But we can’t focus on those who said “no” to what we have to offer. It’s up to us to issue the invitation and then serve those who show up.
I love how Emily P. Freeman draws the analogy to this kind of living as being like a hostess. In her book A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live, she writes:
“Live your life like a hostess who serves the people at her table. She looks them in the eye, she meets them where they are. She doesn’t spend her time distracted during the party, hiding out in the next room, calling all the people who said they couldn’t come. She doesn’t try to please a group who has already said ‘No thank you’ rather than serve the guests who want more.”
It is true that some will not receive our gifts or our love. They will not listen to our words or appreciate the unique and beautiful people we are. But that does not negate the fact that we are unique and beautiful.
Today I find myself challenged to continue to take risks, try new things, be authentic, make myself vulnerable and share with the world the art that is my life. Some will value it and receive it. Some will not. But I must not focus on those who say “No thank you”. Instead I must believe that I have something the world has never seen and continue to give it. And you need to too.
If you are looking for support and encouragement to bring your art into the world, check out The School for Creative Direction with Emily P. Freeman.