song: pack up by eliza doolittle
read time: 6 minutes
they call it a “fine line” for a reason.
it’s barely there.
it’s hard to see if you’ve crossed it.
it’s hard to know if you’re still teetering it, if you’re on one side, or the other side.
they call it the “grey area” for a reason.
it’s not black. it’s not white.
it’s a mix of two.
we all experience the “fine lines” and “grey areas” when creating. [if you aren’t, well let’s talk about that. cause maybe you’ve learned something i haven’t. maybe you can teach me a thing or two over a glass of wine.] the “ugh, i’m not sure if this is right or wrong, good or bad, cool or not cool” feeling is part of the creating process. creation is messy. it’s chaotic. there are no limits, there are no rules. because it’s just that — creation, making something from nothing. as mr. webster says, creation is “to cause something new to exist, to produce something new by using your talents and imagination.”
we see the tagline plastered all over — created to create.
yes, we were made to create. we were designed to make new things, to explore new thoughts, and push forward. but here… when we create, as soon as we produce something that is tip-toeing the fine line, that finds itself in the grey area — we get shamed. why is that? if you are causing something new to exist, aren’t you going to have to conjure up some new ideas of expressing something? aren’t you going to have to tell stories that may be a little “too close to home” for our ultra-conservative minds? aren’t you going to mix patterns and colors together that are unconventional? you will, won’t you?
i think too often — we want everything to be safe. we don’t want people to discuss touchy subjects, we don’t want anyone to create something that might challenge our way of thinking, we don’t want anyone to create something that might intimidate the way we do life. we don’t want anything to be produced that might expose different parts of ourselves that we might want to hide. we want these new expressions of creation as long as they don’t create controversy in our lives. we want safe. we want comfortable.
i might be wrong here —
but how we can progress as a people, as a culture, if we don’t allow creators to put forth things that challenge our current line of thinking? how can great things be produced if we ask for a sanitized creation process?
our expectations are unattainable for mere humans. we want creators to produce, but we only want the material that makes us feel good about ourselves. but that exchange — it’s not fair. you take it all or not at all. you cannot put your opinion on a creator and ask them to tailor create things to your liking. it doesn’t work like that.
i was recently at design conference full of the most brilliant designers. during one of the panel sessions, an attendee asked one of the designer asked, “what if you have a client that doesn’t like your style and wants something else?” the designer said something along the lines of, “they can go somewhere else. i am not going to change my style, i am what i am.”
we have free will. we have the ability to follow or not follow creators and leaders. the big secret is: if we don’t like what someone is creating, we can go look somewhere else.
let’s go a little deeper. i might be digging myself into a hole here —but if i do, i’ll find a way to climb back out. either now, or later on in life.
we are an audience, we are a crowd — begging to be led. we see people, for some reason justify them worthy as leading them, so we do. then, we follow them and hold them to an unrealistic expectation to be perfect. we expect them to edit their movements, censor their words, be cautious of their whereabouts — all for us. we want to restrain what they create, say, or the opinions they express because we need them to. we put expectations on them that they never asked for and essentially, we are asking them to loose a little bit of their humanity, all because we want someone to follow.
for the sanity of all of us— this cannot happen. as people, as humans, we cannot do this to one another. however, unfortunately, i see this happening on the regular. we put this pressure on pastors, community leaders, bloggers, instagrammers, musicians, movie stars, and anyone else we deem as a “leader”. heck, we put the pressure on our yoga instructors! we can’t. the pressure to be this perfect image, to always say the right things, to always create something safe, to never mess up wasn’t meant for our mere humanity. only one man in the history of the world could handle that weight and carry it with grace. other than that, we are all messy humans, we are all chaotic creators, we are imperfect souls walking around trying to figure things out.
if everything was a definitive line and in the black and white color scheme — we wouldn’t be having this conversation. but it’s not. there are barely there lines and mushy colors that you can’t pick apart. so we create, we go about life, and we try to make good things. along the way, we try to keep everyone happy, but reality always sets in — we produce things that upset people, we make choices that create whispers, and we fall short of people’s expectations of us.
as followers, let’s remember that the people we are following are humans just like us. they may slip and say a curse word. they lose their temper. they may say something they are not supposed to. they may hang out with people we think are questionable. they may see “right” and you may see “wrong”. they may create something that makes you feel uncomfortable for a split second. but, let’s stop stripping them of their humanity, just because we need someone to look up to. stop and look at the full picture — overall, is this person good intentioned? is this person trying to create better? is this person trying to lead well? if so, have a little grace. we’re all human and a little graced is needed in this life.
as creators and leaders, don’t listen to the whispers floating around nay-saying who you are, what you have created, or what you are doing. ultimately, you have one person to account to: God. the mission of our time on earth isn’t to please men, but to please God. yes, 100%, check your motive, check your intentions — but ultimately, you can’t please everyone. no matter what, you’re always going to have a hater or two. choose to focus on the people you are impacting for the good, and not the people that just have opinions.
so, if you are reading this,
i can’t promise that you will love everything i write. i can’t promise to never let you down. i can’t promise that i will always convey my ideas in the most eloquent way. i can’t promise to be perfect.
but i can promise God, myself, my parents, and you this —
to write things i believe in, to speak truth that is laced in grace, to choose my words wisely, to be vulnerable, and never write to keep up appearances. while sometimes the words i say may hurt a little and expose pieces of yourself you were trying to hide from for a little while longer, i promise to always encourage you. i promise, that while this may be a messy creation process, to make it a beautiful one.
that i can promise you.
what do you say? shall we do life together or what?