fear

worship

I’ve been experiencing some anxiety lately. I’ve come to the conclusion that anxiety is the feeling everything is wrong even when nothing is wrong at the moment. At least that’s how it seems to me.

I imagine there are a few things I’ve taken in that have contributed to this: interviews with Elon Musk about AI, podcasts discussing space debris and Earth-facing CMEs, and also watching a play through of The Last of Us, a zombie apocalypse game. Oh yeah, also California fires and more active shooters. Mild things, really.

To combat this, I keep thinking of something I heard during a Levi Lusko sermon. It is impossible to worship and worry at the same time.

Those of you who don’t come from a faith background may have a harder time understanding this, but one thing I’ve noticed in a lot of church-goers is a certain attitude toward worship.

Worship is often thought of in the context of singing. It’s something that happens during the part of a service when the band (or choir, or worship leader) is leading the congregation with music. Or maybe worship happens when you’re driving or doing some chores at home and a “worship” song is playing.

That all may be part of it, but it’s not the thing itself. For instance, you could be doing household chores in worship with or without the musical accompaniment. And you could be doing them in a non-worshipful way as well.

The idea that worship is more than a song is hardly a new one. I can think of a song (ironically) about that very thing. Still, I found the notion that worship and worry can’t coexist to be a striking one. It got me thinking, what makes something an act of worship in the first place?

I do agree that all our best qualities shine forth when we’re in worship. If I’m worshiping, I’m not living in fear or anger, I’m not stressed out or anxious—I’m in a state of satisfaction and peace, I experience wholeness. But why is that?

Worship happens when you’re living the way you were meant to, when you’re being you, and when you’re doing what you’re supposed to. Many times, doing the work (the hard stuff you know you need to do) is doing worship.

There are portions in the Bible where things like rocks and trees can be found offering praise. This always struck me as fascinating and strange. How can something without a consciousness or freewill engage in any manner of worship?

But that’s the thing, a rock or a tree is always being exactly what it is—no more and no less. We humans, however, have something special—a choice. 

I’ve definitely known people who are not living as they ought, who aren’t being true to themselves, and who aren’t doing what they were made to do. They aren’t living in worship. Instead, they’re living in all those negative qualities—fear, anger, worry, and so on. They’re anxious, they’re addicted, they’re out of control. They harm themselves and harm others.

There’s a lot more to worship than all that, but I believe being creative and living your creative calling can be a big part of worship. It’s living in one-ness, centralized, being as you’re meant to be. It sounds kinda fluffy-puffy and maybe even a little feely-wheely, but I don’t think it’s too hard to tell when you’re doing it and when you aren’t.

I hope today finds you in a state of worship and not worry.

performance

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I had drama for two years in high school. I’m talking about the class here, not being in a state of unnecessary emotional upheaval. That was the full 4 years.

I really enjoyed our drama class. Most of our plays were pretty hokey or strange, and I didn’t really see eye-to-eye with the teacher (especially when I stood on my desk) but I made some great friends and learned a lot through it.

Having been in drama, I know a bit about performance.

It’s an unusual part of creativity. It’s fascinating, really, how a musician can play the same song over and over or a broadway actor can portray the same character for many years yet not tire of it.

Perhaps it is the slight differences that occur each time they take the stage.

Maybe it’s how they find ways to make alterations of their own to every presentation. 

I know that in drama each show we put on had a life of its own. Whether mistakes, ad-libs, or crowd’s response, each performance was unique.

Most attempts at creativity are, in some sense, a performance. No audience necessary.

You convince yourself to go at it again, to try once more, with feeling, even when it often just feels to you like the same old thing. 

But then, there it is, that new little unexpected something. And you’re all giddy once more and excited to let the show go on.

Or maybe you’re terribly nervous every time you begin. I know I was. My whole body would shake before crossing that curtain and stepping into the glare of the stage lights. 

Maybe I’ll totally blow it this time, maybe I’ll ruin the whole show and everyone will hate me.

But, every time, once I started acting, started moving and speaking, all those fears melted away like morning dew. Then I had fun.

I felt the same way, to a lesser extent, when I used to play guitar for the high school group at my church. Once I started playing, everything just felt right and I forgot about myself. Even if I did mess up (and I surely did) I just played on and didn’t fret about it.

I hope Creativity is like that for you. Though dull routine or the grip of fear may tempt you to stay back, I hope you step out once more into the bright lights and discover things falling into place once more, in a way you hoped they would but are still surprised every time it happens.

set and forget

Here is some advice I’ve been giving myself lately (side-note, do you ever do that, give yourself advice because you know it’s good but you’re not great at implementing it?): set it and forget it.

Following the launch of this site, I’ve been more active on social media. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I sense a few dangers from such platforms. It’s very easy to fall into a trap of constantly checking posts and the like in search of validation, looking for approval from every like and comment to follow. This can get unhealthy fast, regardless of how well-received your offering is.

I’m often reminded of the very end of the movie, “The Social Network” where we leave a movie version of Mark Zuckerberg as he is constantly hitting refresh on his Facebook page in hopes of a reply from an old flame. The sad irony is, he’s become a slave of his own invention, he’s just like the rest of us.

My other unfortunate habit is to obsess over something before putting it out there for the world to see. Yes, I'm a recovering perfectionist. The thing about perfection and wanting to appear perfect is it gets in the way of completion. As copywriter Ray Edwards puts it:

"Done is better than perfect because perfect never gets done."

Besides that, a perfection obsession can lead us to a place where we aren't being real anymore but instead just trying to make ourselves look good. We convey to the world a false image of who we really are. But people can't get to know and care about a fake you (well, they can, but they won't know the real you this way).

So, my solution is simple: set it and forget it. When you post anything, just let it be for a while. Turn off the notifications and just let it sit out there, riding the high waves of the interwebs (or however it works). Give the world a chance to take it in instead of smothering it with even more time and attention.

I’ve found this practice helpful beyond social media. In a broader respect:

Let your creative work go.

Don’t cling so tightly to your inventions that you are unwilling to release them to the world. And when you do release your creative doves from their creative coops, don’t let your concern for other’s reactions cloud your experience. Like the witch from Oz, you must cry, “fly my pretties, fly!” and then, without another blink, turn your back on them.

This is not always easy. After all, those babies were ours. We raised them, nurtured them, cared for them from the nest, and now must we release them into the cold, cruel world? But yes, it must needs be so (or is it needs must, help me out here Shakespeare).

When it comes down to it, there are two things I’m most scared of when I put something on the internet:

  1. No one will see it
  2. Everyone will see it

The first terrifies me because I fear what I’m doing doesn’t matter, that it will go ignored and unnoticed. No one really cares what I have to say. The second, because I worry people will finally see the real me and not accept me for who I am. The struggle is real, people. And I know I’m not alone in this.

So I encourage you, keep making, keep doing new things and when it’s time to release them to the public, let them stand or fall on their own feet (or fly on their own wings). Let your validation come from the quality you put into the work itself. Get your advice from the people closest to you, the ones you don’t have to prove yourself to, not from any random Joe or Sally who knows how to type words on the internet.

If you don’t have people like those in your life (mentors and friends), it’s time to start creatively building a few deep and real relationships with people who are willing to spend the time it takes to know you. It’s time to find a tight group of like-minded folks who have your back. And if you just need a little encouragement, I’d be glad to give it. I’m proud of you people and I want to know about every little creative project you’ve got in store, because if it’s creative, it matters. If it’s important to you, it’s important to me.

 

Creatively yours,
A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, do you ever have a hard time letting your creativity go? What have you done to overcome the struggle? Let us know in the comments below.