There is an enemy to artistic expression that if left unchecked will completely neutralize your creative nature. No matter how talented a person may be, this one thing can cripple them. It will literally turn an open heaven of anointing into a prison of defeat. It is something that I am calling “the comparison trap”.

How many of us have had this thought before? “I would like to do ____ but there’s no way I could do it as good as ____”. I know I have. What are we doing? We are putting another individual’s expression in a place of superiority and submitting ourselves to the notion that unless we do it just like them, our creative expression has no value. This thought process has tragic consequences. We have not and will not experience some amazing gifts and graces in people simply because they devalue who they are before they ever get a chance to release them. Notice I said “who” they are, not “what” they do. A true gift can never be “done” it must be lived out, because we were never meant to be performers.

We were not created to entertain; we were created to worship. Worship cannot be defined by a style of music or whether or not it is sung in a church. Worship is simply ascribing worth to Yahweh. You can worship in countless different expressions so don’t take what I’m saying as confined to “church” music. There are some characteristics, however, that help us distinguish between a worshiper and a performer. A performer by nature is someone who provides entertainment or amusement. An amusement is anything that does not allow you to muse; to ponder or consider thoughtfully. One early definition of amuse is actually “to stare stupidly”. I think that fits our culture quite nicely. We must turn the table on this epidemic of creating antiseptic art that only serves to dull the senses. When someone hears or sees the artistic expression of a son of the most high God, it should do anything but elicit dullness. It should cause the world to erupt with light and beauty in ways that reveal the gray that they’ve been living in up to that point. We must be the color and we must be the song. However, we can’t do that until we stop comparing ourselves to others.

The beauty in eliminating comparison and expectation upon yourself is that creating becomes second nature. You should never have to strive in a gift. If something is truly a gift, you shouldn’t have to “work it up”. A gift is a natural outflow of who you are in the Holy Spirit that causes ideas, inventions, songs and other works of art to just come naturally.

Try this…stop trying.

Commercialism has told us what art is and most of us have bought into it hook, line and sinker. Music was once a means of documenting stories and traditions in order to pass them along for generations to come. Now, as I stated earlier, music is created in order to dumb down or anesthetize the pain of life for a few moments but leaves no hope once the song is over. I am encouraging you to think differently about what you have to offer. Stop comparing yourselves to others and especially to the culture that we live in. Your expression is vitally important to who we are as a people because it holds within it the DNA of Christ himself. If The Apostle’s shadows could heal people, who’s to say your song can’t do the same. The stories and truths that live inside of you must be expressed so that others can get a glimmer of the hope that Christ has planted within your heart. Be who Yahweh made you to be. We are all waiting to experience the glory that comes as a result.