Mark Batterson is one of my favorite Christian authors and is one of the most well-read authors I’ve ever encountered. He challenges me to read from a wide array of sources because there’s always something to learn. His writing is a consistent reminder that we never arrive, and there’s always some area of our lives that we can grow in.
As if that wasn’t enough, Mark is a complete dreamer who goes after those things that God has placed within him. His combination of dreaming and getting things done is a breath of fresh air for me.
In Chase the Lion, he gets on his soapbox a little bit, something that I simultaneously love and am challenged by!
“Too often the church complains about culture instead of creating it. The energy we spend on criticism is being stolen from creativity. It’s sideways energy. We need fewer commentators and more innovators. I try to live by Michelangelo’s maxim: criticize by creating. Quit complaining about what’s wrong, and do something that makes a difference!” p. 16
This is so challenging! I completely agree with what he says, and yet, I often find myself criticizing others instead of focusing that energy on creating.
The truth is that it’s so much easier to criticize, it’s terrifying to create. But the magic happens when we choose to create instead of just commenting from the sidelines. It’s easy to have something to say about what someone’s made when we have no skin in the game and we’ve risked nothing but, like Batterson said, it’s sideways energy.
It’s also easier to check out than to create. If we don’t like something for long enough and are too frightened to actually create something, then it’s tempting to check out and just ignore what’s happening. Apathy is one of the most pervasive and dangerous things lurking around our culture today. But that’s also not what we’re called to do: we’re made to channel our God-given creativity to help others and glorify God.
I know so many people who want to write books, start businesses, launch non-profits, make movies, and so much more, and each of those is a beautiful and insane act of courage. And if that’s you, I encourage you to go for it! If you’re unsatisfied with the way something is right now, begin creating something new in that space. Put yourself out there and take the leap. My suspicion is that the things that irk you to no end are probably some of the very things that the Lord wants to use you to change.
The beautiful thing is that we’re not creating alone, we’re co-creating with the Lord. He is with us and for us. And he is the one who determines our identity, not how people respond to the things we create. We can take baby steps daily to create something new in our various areas of influence and, when we do that, I believe God celebrates.
Have you read Chase the Lion?
Do you tend to criticize or create? Why do you think that is?
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