Your Art Is Not You.

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The Art of Daring

I am reading the book Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, and I read this passage tonight. It’s kind of long, but please read the whole thing here.

You’ve designed a product or written an article or created a piece of art that you want to share with a group of friends. Sharing something that you’ve created is a vulnerable but essential part of engaged and Wholehearted living. It’s the epitome of daring greatly. But because of how you were raised or how you approach the world, you’ve knowingly or unknowingly attached your self-worth to how your product or art is received. In simple terms, if they love it, you’re worthy; if they don’t, you’re worthless.

One of two things happens at this point in the process:

1. Once you realize that your self-worth is hitched to what you’ve produced or created, it’s unlikely that you’ll share it, or if you do, you’ll strip away a layer or two of the juiciest creativity and innovation to make the revealing less risky. There’s too much on the line to just put your wildest creations out there.

2. If you do share it in its most creative form and the reception doesn’t meet your expectations, you’re crushed. Your offering is no good and you’re no good. The chances of soliciting feedback, reengaging, and going back to the drawing board are slim. You shut down. Shame tells you that you shouldn’t have even tried. Shame tells you that you’re not good enough and you should have known better.

If you’re wondering what happens if you attach your self-worth to your art or your product and people love it, let me answer that from personal and professional experience. You’re in even deeper trouble.


Whoah, did this ever hit home for me.

Want to hear something that qualifies as very vulnerable for me? I’ve sold a grand total of 7 copies of my devotional, Parenting Parables.

Is it maybe because I gave it away to all my friends? Perhaps.

But you know what? I’m OK with it. If I had published the devotional on my 30th birthday, as I had planned, and it had only sold a handful-and-a-half of copies, I would have been up there in #2. I would have been CRUSHED.

Am I still, a little? Maybe. But my okay-ness with the situation shows me how I’ve changed in the last three years. God has worked on my heart so much during this time. I poured my heart into this devotional. But I was able to offer it to Him, not anyone else. It’s my sacrifice of praise. It was something I felt like He called me to do, and I did it.

Maybe it will really touch one of those seven people. Maybe it won’t.

But it has no effect on my being Enough. I am Enough because God says so. Not because of my Art. Not because of anything I do. Not because I read my Bible or brush my teeth or teach Sunday School or wear the right jeans.

I am Enough because He lives in me. And oh, the feeling of knowing that – the fact that nothing I could do would make me any more in His sight – it is warmth. Comfort. Cry-worthy.

So I’m baring myself again, telling you the truth, and hoping that you know: you are Enough. You, who write a blog that you think no one reads. You, who paint what no one sees. You, who want to be on the stage. Every one of you. Enough.


6 thoughts on “Your Art Is Not You.

  1. I LOVED that book. I really need to read it again. This is so applicable as I work on this podcast. Although I’m going forward, it still feels very vulnerable to do it, but I think it’s a sign I’m on the right path.

  2. This is so good, Jessie. I think about this a lot–the making art just for God. Like, why do I write in a journal? Do I secretly want people to read it one day? (I don’t think so.) But maybe it’s a gift for Him. Did you ever read the Deadline/Dominion books by Randy Alcorn? In them, one of the characters is in heaven and sees a storage type place (clearly, prettier in heaven) and it’s full of stories and papers and letters people had written for other people. But God accepted them as gifts to him b/c of the content. I’ve always remembered that.

    Beautiful words today. A gift to Him and me. 😉


    • I haven’t read that one by Alcorn. Nice thoughts about journaling. I think about that, too. Do I want my daughter to read it some day? Or is it just for me and God?

  3. Oh my gosh. This hit home really hard for me too Jessie. I saw this on FB yesterday but was not able to read it at the time…I think I knew just from the title that it was gonna get me. Beautifully written, and thanks for being brave enough to be vulnerable. <3

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