Overcoming Fear of Creative Failure, Part 3: Putting the Work In Its Place

We spend so much time developing our projects that it's hard not to see them as extensions of ourselves. That's why the fear of creative failure can be so crippling.

If my work is misunderstood, then I'm misunderstood. If it's a flop, I'm a flop. 

Perhaps even more damaging, I may believe that if my work's valued, I'm valued. If it's worthy, I'm worthy. If it's beloved, I'm beloved.

Oddly, I never felt this way when I worked in a commercial kitchen. If I turned out a bad batch of something, I didn't feel like a failure. I just felt annoyed. If I had a good shift, I didn't feel that my personal worth had increased. I just felt thankful for a good day. Either way, I'd earned my paycheck. 

Those were simpler times.

Sometimes I miss them.

But I'm grateful for those experiences. They're reminders that at the end of the day, it's all just work. 

Work is hard and tedious and challenging and rewarding and annoying and deeply satisfying. 

But my work isn't me. It's not the sum of my worth or value or identity. 

Only Christ is strong enough to serve as the anchor for my soul.

If I idolize my creative projects, I will crush them under the weight of my expectations. If I put them in their proper place - as work done in faith and obedience - then neither the successes nor the failures will wreck me.

* * * * *

Photo Credit:

By Niklas Bildhauer (who also is User gerolsteiner91. (originally posted to Flickr as folder) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Well stated. I think it is important not to take ourselves very seriously but to enjoy what we attempt to create or think about...It alwasys amazes me the way my mind soemtimes works....can't always figure it out.


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