Jesus, always loving and full of joy, taught and shared his stories lavishly as he feasted with anyone who would welcome him. Extravagantly giving of himself and his time, he never hoarded possessions, stories, encouragement, or energy.
Whatever You Do
What if this radical, joyful giving is the attitude we need? Dance, bake, teach, design, serve, program, sing, paint, write— fling it all out upon the world, trusting God will provide as we use the gifts He has given.
Sounds lovely, but how do we get to that point of abandonment? How do we work for love of God and our neighbors? A number of obstacles can block loving, good work flow, but let’s examine self-doubt and fear of rejection.
Poet Silvia Plath said, “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Self-doubt is a tool of the enemy. In order to squelch the negative, we can drown out the noise with better voices, basking in truth and encouragement. Identify your sources of encouraging words and the truths you need to remember. What books, scriptures, friends or relatives tell you the words you need to hear? If we connect to the Source, then God’s life flows through us to bless others in a continuous stream. How do we stay connected? Post favorite scriptures, spend time in the Bible or good books, call a friend, or do whatever it takes to silence the voice of self-doubt.
Conquer Fear of Rejection
Jesus expressed no worries over how his teaching would be received, though he knew eventually his words would lead to his death. He was so in touch with the Father that he spoke freely, with joy, inviting others to the living water that flowed constantly from his heart. His motives were pure and entirely unselfish.
On a good day, when I’m full of faith, love, and hope, rejections don’t bother me much. (On a bad day, it feels like running a gauntlet of wet leather gloves smacking me on the face, but let’s not go there!) My motives rooted in love, I can trust God has a better plan for me, and he is working his plan for my good. He knows who needs to read what I write or see what I create. Your work will bless someone in God’s own good timing. He knows my past and future, and I want to believe he arranges circumstances to bring about his perfect will.
God Goes Before Us
Sometimes it’s hard to trust that God is working everything out, yet I have seen evidence of this again and again. For example, some years ago we were overseas, sharing a meal with students from the local university. Somehow the scriptures came up in our conversation, and my husband and I started sharing Bible stories with the group, who happened to be Muslims. One of them kept finishing the stories before we could. “How do you know so many Bible stories?” we asked him.
“One time while I was teaching back in my home country, a group from the states came to our school and gave out Bibles. After they left, school authorities demanded we surrender the Bibles, but I tucked mine up the sleeve of my jacket and read it whenever I could,” he said.
Years after the teacher hid the Bible up his sleeve, God arranged for us to meet and bond over Bible stories. We became good friends, and we keep in touch to this day. The Spirit worked through that meeting, and I am trusting he will continue to work in the future.
Do It for Love
Rejection is not lethal when we remember God is in control, and we work from a place of love. Not to say that we don’t listen, accept feedback, and study to grow and learn, but then we trust God to provide a way to share our gifts, the “good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10). It’s not about us, and we do it for love.
I’m an artist who loves to write. If you’d like to get to know me better, please follow me on social media.
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