I’ve said a lot about being a mimic and why it’s bad and how it can damage you and others around you. So, I’m going to share some typical Christian blog bullet-points with the intent that you (the reader of the internet) will see them.
How to tell if you have the heart of a mimic:
Insecurity will cause you to constantly look towards the world for your artistic direction. Whether its music, art, clothing, or a human video. Your insecurity looks for a safety net. You see somebody has already taken the leap of faith and has put their ideas on the line. So, why should you? They have already created their own success out of risk. Why should you risk anything when you can just copy their ideas and cash in? The idea of risk and chance of failure scares you to death. You would rather take the easy road and use someone else’s blueprints instead of your own due to your fear of failing.
Pursuit of Praise
You thrive on the praise from others. No one can say your new song sounds bad if it sounds exactly like the newest pop song that dropped last month. Right? You constantly chase after becoming your idols. You praise that person so why not become that person and have other people praise you too? You constantly seek credit for the ideas and works of others, and claim them as your own. If there is any chance for praise, you want it even if you didn’t earn it.
You are constantly worried about the opinions of others on your art. You have a handful of people whose approval and artistic reassurance is required before you can move forward in your artistic endeavors. You have to make sure that whatever you’re working on “fits” inside of the current and hip trends and style. “It doesn’t matter if God told me to do it. If Allen doesn’t like it, I cannot show it to anyone else. Allen knows what’s hip. If he doesn’t think it’s hip I don’t want to follow through with it.” God giving you validity doesn’t matter. You place the approval of “man” over the approval of God.
You don’t take pride in your creation, yet you take pride in the creator. You. You make your art an “I” or “Me” manifesto instead of a creative and stimulating crutch for others to easily receive and be blessed by. If you’re not creating the art, then the art isn’t any good. Projects need your expertise to survive and to thrive. Through your experience and vision, the project will succeed. Without your insight and wisdom, the project is doomed to fail and you make that very known to your followers and peers. Without you in the picture no one else’s work can be of any value. You argue, “Things have to be done a certain way to be successful because that’s just how the industry is”. When in reality, you just want things done your way. This pride is often witnessed in instances of manipulation.
Lack of Vision
This one is pretty self explanatory. You don’t know what God wants you to create. Instead of going to God and asking Him for fresh vision, you waste time copying the visions of others. You fill your time trying to be a person you were never designed to be, fighting a battle you were never intended to fight. You get frustrated at God constantly for things not working out the way that you had planned. You are usually the band member or vocalist who is burned out and tired. Constantly wondering when God is going to use you. God isn’t using you or promoting you because you are not where he wants you to be. Lack of vision is usually a case of lack of communication with God.
I Think I’m A Mimic… What Do I Do?
This isn’t a lengthy blog about how every creative Christian is messing up. This isn’t anyone wagging a finger. This is the farthest from that. This whole realization was sparked by a revelation I received about a year ago in my own life. I was a mimic. The approval of men meant more to me than the approval of my heavenly father. I walked through this season of writing music that wasn’t me. It wasn’t my heart. It wasn’t the journey I was on. I was writing music from a disastrous mindset of “what will people like?” instead of “what will Jesus like?” I wasn’t being honest in my music. I was creating songs that were fluffy, pink, Katy Perry, unicorn tears, sunshine and rainbow Christian music. The whole time knowing that these songs weren’t the ones in my heart. It took others in my life challenging me to “dig deeper”. What a cheesy, churchy, phrase “dig deeper” is, but that’s exactly what I had to do to break the bind of mimicry in my life. Mimicry is a spiritual bind. It is a fear based in failure. A fear of others knowing your struggles and short comings. A fear of not being good enough. It is a bind where you hold the secular world closer to your heart than you do Christ and his love for you.
Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” This verse absolutely rocked my whole perception about what it means to create for the kingdom. I think the biggest lie we’ve been fed by the Christian creative culture is that we have to write music for our congregation. That we need to dumb down and simplify music for nonChristians. Let’s make this one easy to digest. If you are writing music that doesn’t hold a personal value to you, holds no weight, and doesn’t challenge you spiritually, then that is exactly what your congregation will experience. Revelation 12:11 “They triumphed over him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Any song that you compose is an expression of your current journey. We have Jesus, and so does anyone who wants to receive Him, so why should we hold our testimonies hostage? Because some Christian radio station may not like it? (Newsflash, nobody listens to the radio anymore.) Because we have fear? Life’s too short to live scared. Songwriters I encounter that are writing impactful music all have one thing in common: they’re being honest in their music about the journey they’re on. Good or bad. The bad is just as impactful as the good. In fact, I would argue that more people relate to the bad than the good. The biggest victory you can have as a Christian is when you start walking in the promise God designed you for instead of the promise you want designed for your life. Mimicry is wanting what somebody else has.
Lastly, furthermore, in conclusion, regards to, this is the last thing.
Create some accountability in your life with people who are completely honest with you. You need people who will tell you that you can do better. You need people who you can trust to tell you that you did terrible on stage last Sunday. You need people who have your best interest in their mind and in their heart. You need people who have something to lose if you stop creating. I’m referring to mentors. You don’t need to ask your buddies who you won’t be friends with a year from now. You need to ask people who are going to be in your life for a long time. You need people who want to invest in you. While some of us were created to create, some of us were created to disciple and to mentor. These are very special people. These people push the “creatives” to new heights. I hope this has sparked a trail of thoughts in everyone who has read it. My prayer while writing this was to bring into light the darkness of mimicry that lives inside of too many of us. Letting go of this darkness in my life has not only improved my music, but it has also improved my marriage, my walk with God, and my walk with fellow Christians. Not only did it create healing for me, but in that healing, I have finally been able to write music that people can relate to and receive from in a genuine way. When I finally put God into my process of becoming inspired in my creative flow, he started to inspire and flow through my music.
So Go!Create! Be honest! Be you! Write a song with God, instead of a song about God.