“I feel as one who has inadvertently stumbled upon a private moment between lovers. Perhaps, I muse, that is some of what art is meant to be? Why not? It already is a language of love between God and me. Now it appears to be even more than that, spilling outward and touching another life and heart.”Sara Joseph | Gently Awakened
In her incredibly moving and insightful book, Gently Awakened: The Influence of Faith on Your Artistic Journey, Sara Joseph masterfully explains the relationship between God, art, and self.
Tonight as I was reading, this passage stood out to me (condensed for LI):
“My art is not for all, but for specific others. They almost seem to be predestined to be drawn to a specific work. The urge to have another enjoy [my work] as much as I do is not as pressing as it once used to be.
It is His business what is done with the work upon its completion.
Another casualty in this slow stripping away of all that once consumed and stifled me is the desire for the praise or approval of others. Instead, I participate in many more moments of His love, sacred and holy.”
So many of us (myself included) are guilty of creating with the intent to share. The intent to have our work admired, widely read, distributed, talked about, and adored.
We obsess over every jot and tittle of our prose, every line and brushstroke, every 1 or 0 in a piece of code, hoping that someday, we will make it “big”.
(Not you? Okay, quit reading.)
We so desperately want our work to be loved. *We* want to be loved *through* our work. We check our social media stats, read articles on how to become ‘successful’ (whatever that means)…we toil & fret, for what?
This perspective has rattled me. I do not need to write for everyone. I need only write for the *right* one!
I may never be published in a major publication, never go viral, shoot, I may never even pass 200 Instagram followers. But by golly, I’m going to keep going.
Because somewhere, I have an audience of one.
I will create in such a way that I will touch the right person’s life. I don’t need to touch thousands of people’s lives. Just one. The right one.
A favorite tale of mine is about a missionary who started a church in a foreign land. The congregation was small, sometimes only consisting of one man.
The missionary prayed, he wept…why could he not grow his tiny congregation? What was he doing wrong? He was sorely discouraged. Yet still, the young man who frequented his church kept coming, kept listening, kept absorbing the missionary’s teachings like a sponge.
Eventually, the missionary became severely depressed, and sadly, took his own life.
After his death, that young man who faithfully attended the missionary’s church became the *pastor* of that church; a church that grew, and grew, and grew to a congregation of THOUSANDS.
Never underestimate creating for an audience of one. You never know how your work will change the life of another.
If you liked this post, consider giving Sara’s book a read. It’s been invaluable and transformative for me, as I know it will be for you. I don’t get paid anything for sharing this link with you, I just want you to benefit as I have.