Archive for February 10, 2021

To Thine Own Self Be True

Posted: February 10, 2021 in Uncategorized

I know that sounds very humanistic—far too humanistic for this Christian blog. In truth, it is a quote from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but I’m not going that classical today. Instead I want to talk about doing what you do. In light of the last two day’s posts, I want to share with you a little horror story. I got a call from a wonderful charity asking me to do a speed painting at their banquet. I had already sort of determined that I would donate my services when the red flags began. The person contacting me said “I expect that you will do it for free.” Now you may think this was just outward boldness from the person in question looking out for her charity. What I saw was someone who does not value what I do. The jury is still out on who is right. My thought is don’t tell me I’m working for free. Instead sell me the value of what you do and make me want to donate my services. That way I feel like I am giving you something you value, you know, a “gift.” I was already sold on the charity. So that part of the experience was less than favorable but that’s when I got red flag number two. “There will be a lot of people there, and you will get a lot of exposure.” That implies an ulterior motive on my part, makes me think you think I’m gullible and cheapens my gift. Still I believed in the cause enough to say yes to the “opportunity.” A short time before the program I was told I had three or four minutes to do the piece and they gave me the subject matter.

Now I know what you might be thinking, “Three to four minutes, that’s a short amount of time, what are you complaining about?” First of all, three or four minutes was not enough time. Most of my work takes at least six minutes and that is when I set the subject. This subject was complex and I needed at least twice that time to do a good job. The other thing to consider is it takes a lot of work to get a painting down to six minutes, let alone three. It was a two hour drive to the venue, which includes two hours home, setting up and tearing down, plus all the practicing and the time slot was still to short. By now I had passed the point of no return. Cancelling was out of the question.

I went to the venue, to the person in charge’s credit, there were more people there than I have ever ministered before in my life and I went before them and did what was probably the worst piece I have ever done live. There simply was not enough time to do it right. My “exposure” showed a piece of work I would never have shown. Why do I share this story? To thine own self be true. You have got to be your own advocate. I should have probably said “No” in the first place. Why didn’t I, because in my own mind I was hearing “If you say no they will think you’re ‘only in it for the money.” When I found out my time slot was half what I needed I should have asked for (maybe demanded) more time. Instead I did a bad piece of work in front of a large group of people and I have no one to blame but myself.

You have got to value yourself and your work enough to make sure you are putting your best foot forward and so in this case.

To thine own self be true…