It’s funny. There are times when I don’t tell people I’m a preacher. It’s not that I’m ashamed, it’s that I want them to get to know me before they start to act different, and believe me, they do. I put my pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else, and I value real, authentic relationships that start with being honest. I might invite you to church, but I am not going to ask how long it’s been since you’ve been there or why. I just want to get to know you.
You might be surprised to know, I also sometimes shy away from telling people I’m an artist. I’m not ashamed of that either, but I want them to get to know me before they assume I’m different. Okay, I am different, but most people expect a certain amount of weirdness from an artist. People assume I’ll be flighty, egocentric, undependable, temperamental and a lot of other things people write off as being part of the “artistic temperament.” Can I be honest? There is no such thing. Everyone is different, of course, but we don’t have to be weird. We can just be normal people who make really cool stuff.
I think sometimes artists feel like they have to live up to the hype. I also feel like some people (non-artists) expect it. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that most people like to work with nice, dependable, hard working, people. Talent will only carry you so far. Relationships carry us much further. We don’t have to be eccentric to be artists. What if we used our uniqueness in a God honoring way, so that people would say, “that artist is so kind and dependable and easy to work with, I wonder why?” What if we channeled our “differentness” into making a difference? What if we defied the stereotypes and set a great example? What if we were coachable and teachable and accessible, kind and caring and flexible, not the least bit weird but rather lovable? What if we directed all of our passion into doing great things that touch and bless and reach and help? What if we were normal and put all the stuff that makes us different into making work that is extraordinary?
You have the right to remain normal. Use it to make work that is truly remarkable.