There’s a gap that exists between who we are and who we want to be, the gap between our current project and where we want it go. What do you do when you encounter the gap? Nobody’s dream is to maintain the status quo. We want to grow and shift things. But we are up against a huge challenge. We are trying to share the Gospel in the 21st century. We are in a gap between where we are and where we need to take this message.


What to do when you encounter the gap…


1 – Ignore the voices.


Artists rarely have a positive internal voice. What are the voices you hear? What tensions are you facing? We always hear voices that say someone better or smarter than us can do something better than we can. Social media makes it easy for us to compare ourselves.


The comparison game is deadly. Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. We will always hear “who are you to do that?” at the beginning of a project. The Bible is littered with mess-ups who God used to do amazing things. If you feel like a mess up, you’re amongst good company. The right question is, “who is God to do that?” God is bigger than your project, your budget needs, or the challenge you are up against in your community. Ignore the voices.


2 – Face your fears:


Other fears get louder when you face the fear of starting – the blank page fear. When you start something the dragon of perfectionism is awakened. Perfectionism looks like a character trait, not a flaw. We burn people out in the church. Perfectionism always presents itself as “close.” Just one more tweak, one more edit… an endless chase that can’t be caught. If you going to start and finish projects you have to murder perfectionism. 90% perfect and shared with the world changes more lives than 100% perfect and stuck in your head. 90% is OK. The blog posts you never get comments on are the ones you don’t publish. The programs that never succeed are the ones that never start. Allow room for God to finish the last 10%.  


The fear of failure. God is about filling hearts first not rooms. If you are going to risk and maybe fail, fail gloriously at something that matters. Even in failure, lives will change. The worst kind of failure is to work on things that don’t matter.


The fear of success.  Fear is brilliant… it’s both sides of the coin. Expectation is present when good things happen. A diamond is just a rock unless you think it has value. There’s a lot in our lives that can clamor for our attention that appear to be diamonds. [Social media, Klout score, number of friends and followers, etc.] We can treat the right things as rocks. We go to the Bible for research, not renewal. Ideas instead of our identity.


3 – Have friends


Social media is in a weird place. If the Internet is a teenager, social media is a toddler and we’re all fumbling. It never sleeps… it’s never done. It’s awkward and fumbling. You never finish… it’s always wanting more. Are you paying attention?


When you start to work on something that you care about you can lose sight of things that are important. You can lose sight of your friends. The ROI on friendships suck. They are ineffective and messy. They don’t behave. You can’t measure them. We need friendships and relationships. Real, face-to-face relationships matter… not circles or lists. Make relationship decisions. You’ll get motivation. You’ll get validation. You’ll get challenges. You need people who love you enough to speak the truth into your life.


Why Does it Matter That We Close the Gap?


It matters because God cares about art. God cares about art more than we do. Sometimes we don’t use our best creativity to honor the author of creativity. We sprinkle a little Jesus on pop culture and call it creativity. The church isn’t a leader in the creative movement. God deals with the leaders and the artists in Exodus. The pastors and the creatives. Exodus 31: God loves art. In Exodus 36 they start to build the ark. Something crazy happened… everyone who had the skill and were willing to work came… People had the skill who sat on their art and missed their chance to build the Temple. We’ve got the same opportunity every day. 1 Corinthians 6:19: We use our skills to help people rebuild their lives… and that’s our way of rebuilding the Temple. We are room builders. That’s why we do what we do. That’s why we face fear.It’s not about our art it’s about the Temple we are building. We have an amazing chance and an amazing call. We need to be artists who answer that call. We’ve been given a skill. We need to be willing to come and do the work.


Jon Acuff is the Wall Street Journal best-selling author of Quitter and Stuff Christians Like. He speaks to businesses, colleges and nonprofits. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN.


Used by permission of the author.

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