I’ve been putting my writing and art “out there,” into the world online for over a decade now. And while I get lots of wonderful comments, I also get some “haters.” Not just negative people, but people that attack me for my beliefs, my looks, my work… whatever they can find. It’s never easy when that happens, but at the same time, God has been prepping me for years on how to deal with it.
Before I worked as a freelancer, I worked for really awful bosses. LOL! For real. Some of the most insecure, backhanded, and egotistical people I’ve ever met. I worked in creative fields like marketing and getting my ideas ripped apart was a regular occurrence. Getting promised raises or promotions that never happened (while I worked like a dog and did everything that was asked of me and more) kept me in this phase of constantly needing approval, trying to just be treated well, to be liked.
It wasn’t a good time. But I look back on it and see God there, helping me to be strong. What I thought was just endless suffering in these jobs has now helped strengthen me for when I am online, getting questions from people, interacting with people. It helps me stand up for my faith, reach out to angry and hurt people looking for God in their lives, and helps me to do this without taking the hurtful things people say personally.
God continually shows me how to deal with life, through my prayers and through His word. One thing about the Bible that has always fascinated me is that the words provide deeper meaning for me the older I get. Sometimes a passage that was just a beautiful way to express my faith transforms and becomes a way for me to better understand God’s love and our world. Subtle changes, yet profound.
I used to read certain passages and not really pay attention to the words. They were lovely, of course, and I enjoyed reading them. But then suddenly, a few of those words that seemed pretty now bring meaning in a totally new way. It’s one reason I like painting with words from the Bible.
I’ve been open about my art process on my blog, showing how I create things and the steps that don’t always go smoothly when I’m working. My process and the way my art has changed is out there, and people comment on it (some nice and others not so).
I’ve heard unkind words from even acquaintances, whispered behind my back about my art or writing. When you put your words and art and heart out there, people will look at it and see what they want. They project what’s in their hearts on to you, and some of its wonderful and loving and some of it is nasty. All of us do this to some degree.
Have you ever had someone who didn’t even know you say or do something hurtful to you? Tell you what they think about your life when they don’t know your life? This is what people do when they are missing a piece of joy in their hearts and they think the way to find it is to lash out at someone else.
But that’s their issue. I know my heart. And more importantly, God knows it as well. I see now that even in those dark times when I was so miserable at my corporate jobs, I was there for a reason. God was preparing me to do all the things I do now.