Accept your art as a gift

Writing music has brought me both joy and sorrow. Much of the sorrow has come from putting the weight of satisfaction on how the work is received by others. 

What do they think of it? 

I have considered the reception of my music, then used that to evaluate the value of what I had created, and this has disappointed me. It seems clear to me now why that leads to disappointment. 

In order to feel satisfied, the art must break into someone’s busy life, and they must like it, and they must speak up about what they like. That is a brittle chain that could break at any point. Most of the time it doesn’t even make it past the first step.

But is that the only way to evaluate whether art was successful? 

Certainly not. I have found much more joy in my art by shifting where I place the weight of satisfaction. Rather than looking between me and those I share with, I look between God and myself. 

I believe that God has given me the desire to create and also that he gives me the music that I write. When I compose, I am meeting with him. When I compose, he is giving me something. When I compose, I receive a gift. 

When I consider this, it fills me with gratitude and joy. He likes me. He gives me music. I like him. I like the music he gives me. I am taken care of. I am provided for. I am more than provided for. My cup flows over.

By the time I share my music with someone else, I have already found my satisfaction. I can share from a place of peace and joy, rather than from a place of anxiety and neediness. 

If my music is ignored, that’s ok. If my music is scorned, that’s ok. If my music is loved and treasured, then that brings me even more joy. It is a continuation of the love that came first from God to me and is now flowing through me to another.