Hey, check out this link. Buy my music. Listen to my soundcloud. Like my facebook page. Watch my youtube video. Did you see my tweet? #newmusic Look at me. Like me. Love me. Follow me. PLEASE PAY ATTENTION! I want you to hear me.
Social media has seemingly created a frenzy of artists/writers/musicians/producers all fighting for attention. Attention from each other, attention from labels/publishers, attention from potential fans… attention. Why? Why do we care who watches/listens/likes?
Buried deep within the creative person is this desire to be accepted, validated, and loved. Without these feelings of love and acceptance of our creative-ness, our inner-monologue kicks us right in the self-worth with lies like, “if no one likes what I create, do I even have value?” So naturally we want our message to be heard and our ideas to be accepted so we can feel valued. And sometimes screaming into the unsuspecting crowds of people on the Internet becomes somehow logical.
I’ve been there, screaming into the void of the World Wide Web. I mean, look at all those people… all those potential listeners. Right there. Right within a few clicks. It’s hard now to admit, but about 8 years ago I had a myspace band page (oh yeah!) and I messaged hundreds of people a day trying to coax them into listening to my new song, watch my new video, click stuff, buy stuff... ughhhh.
Some of you may have even fallen victim to my annoyances… for that, I’m sorry. But man, did my play counts soar! Man, was I getting views! I was going to make it! It felt so good to see people listening!
But that feeling of accomplishment soon disappeared, as I couldn’t get enough plays. I couldn’t get enough attention. I wanted more and more. Like an addiction of sorts. After a good while screaming into the crowd and getting maybe a few onlookers I was out of energy and I was back at the start. My music and me.
And I still just wanted someone to hear me, and someone to say, “That’s really solid, Sean”. Someone to validate me, and accept what I do.
The game got old very quickly. Message after message after message. It was exhausting. And the validation never truly came. I was gaining my identity from what people said about, or didn’t say about, my little creations. I continued to look for a source of validation from friends, family, and others I unknowingly took hostage around me… “What did you think about the song I sent you?” I'd say in an in-person ambush.
But the reality was I was stuck, desperately trying to find that ever-elusive validation and acceptance. I was in hand-to-hand combat with my self-worth… deciding whether or not music was even worth it anymore.
No one beyond mom and dad seemed to care. Doubts, insecurity, fear... no one told me this is what creatives wrestle with. In my naivety I thought you decide to dive head first into music, and from there you are on tour buses, making records, and selling albums. Hahahaha! Boy, was I stupid. I thought I was alone as a creative wrestling with grown-up words like fear, discouragement, and disappointment.
It became me versus the world and my goal was to awaken the world with my awesome music, but no one listened. But somehow after all of that, I still held onto the poisonous thought that I had something to offer.
Somewhere deep in my internal journey to discovery, Holy Spirit reminded me of what I already knew in my heart to be true. A truth I had lost sight of. A truth that is still a complete mind grenade even today. A grenade that continues to shift my perspective as I continue to wrestle any sight of those same discouragement issues, as I know many of you do as well.
God accepts me.
God validates me.
God loves me.
God HEARS me.
Every song I thought was a waste of time, I could almost see God listening just outside the door.
Every hand-crafted lyric that long seemed lost, He keeps like His child’s project on His fridge.
Every melody that seemed to vanish in the wind is a sweet sound in His ear.
Every time I was sitting alone with my guitar, disappointed, discouraged, and dejected,He was there… I was just so focused on the music, I missed Him.
I was unaware that He’d been with me the whole time, just as He promised. I was too busy trying to write, record, and attract strangers out of the crowd to spring on them my sales pitch. I was too busy yelling in my bullhorn to hear the identity God had been singing over me.
This revolutionized my perspective… and still does. When I fully digest what it means to be validated, accepted, loved, and heard by the Creator of the Universe, another play on Soundcloud seems so trivial. Another like on Facebook just doesn’t hold its weight anymore. Another CD sale seems so cheap. All of the carnal things that give us some sort of false identity just don’t matter anymore.
Our identity is not found in the things we create, our identity is found in our Creator. And I believe that some of us, especially myself, need to awaken and/or be reminded of this very truth.
When this truth takes root, people will be able to see the humility, and gratitude shining through what you do… Christ shining through who you are. Because no longer is it about YOU BEING HEARD. It becomes about CHRIST BEING SEEN.
And I believe when He truly starts getting the glory in all that you do, you will find yourself in places you once thought unreachable, and standing in places you never thought possible. Shouting into a crowd will never compare to His will and timing for your life. He is working right now on Your behalf, connecting dots that aren’t even on your page yet.
And when He brings you to the next place, ironically, you won’t care about likes, plays, fans, sales, blah, blah, blah. God will have pruned away all those worldly desires, and you will have laser beam focus on doing what you were always designed to do… worship God with every moment.