(Source: Dollar Photo Club)

(Source: Dollar Photo Club)

I’m sick of talking about the weather. In other words, it’s time for you to be an artist. Seriously. And it has nothing to do with your ability to paint, sculpt, or draw. Bear with me.

See, I’m convinced that we all have a story to tell. What’s unfortunate, though, is that not many people tell theirs. And I’m here to say if that’s you, you’re depriving the rest of us of some very important information. It’s selfish, really.

As individuals, we are enriched when we gain new perspectives to living in this world. It is only if you share that story with me that I am able to gain that perspective.

Think about it…

If mothers do not share what it is like to be a mother, how would I, as a man, ever get a glimpse of that reality?

If a person who battles with depression never helps me understand the heavy weight on their shoulders, how can I appreciate the valiant struggle of millions who deal with these issues on a daily basis?

And if those who live with hope and optimism do not share the reasons for that hope and optimism, how can we have light in such a dark place?

Don’t be a leech. Don’t rob everyone of the chance to learn from your perspective.

The problem is, we have become dedicated consumers. We’re so used to taking and never giving. We leave storytelling to the “professionals.” Listen, I have no problem enjoying a Netflix series, an Oscar-nominated film, or a Spotify playlist. But if you spend your entire life as a consumer, that’s called being a leech. Don’t be a leach. Don’t rob everyone of the chance to learn from your perspective.

I’m not asking you to take up photography, painting, or learn an instrument. And I’m definitely not telling you to start a blog so that you can become rich and famous. The odds are stacked against any one of us gaining such notoriety. But fame and fortune aren’t exclusive measures of success.

The point is this: Find a way to tell your story — a story that will enrich the tapestry of humanity. Perhaps only your closest friends and loved ones will ever read your play or watch the dances you upload to YouTube. That’s okay. The act of creating something connects you with who you were made to be. According to the Christian/Jewish/Islamic story of the creation of the world, you were made in the image of a God who is a creator, so this is a part of who you are. It’s in your DNA, so go for it!

If you’re nervous about doing this, good. At least you’re listening and considering it. I’ve been there. Let me tell you a quick story about me.

I used to play some sports in High School (mostly baseball), and doing so kept me in pretty decent shape. I didn’t go on to play sports in college, and having moved away from all my friends, I didn’t do much of anything in the way of physical activity once I graduated.

I thought about running some races to keep in shape, but I didn’t sign up for any. The reason? I knew I wouldn’t win. Thousands of people enter races and while I can run at a pretty good pace, I knew that there would be people faster than me. I hate losing, so I refused.

Unsurprisingly, I became out of shape. In my late 20s, I decided I needed to do something about it. I signed up for an adventure race. I hated knowing I wouldn’t win, but I hated being out of shape even more.

I ran the race after months of training and turned in a strong time, but I didn’t come close to the best time for the day or even the best time in my age bracket. But guess what: I didn’t care. I was doing this for other reasons.

I ran bigger and crazier races and got into the best shape of my life. It was incredibly satisfying. I didn’t care that other people could finish faster than me; I knew that it was everything I could to juggle several jobs, multiple kids, and a training schedule.

When my goal no longer involved “being better than everybody else,”  I was free to be my best.

There will always be people who write better than you, or dance better than you, or play an instrument better than you, or paint or draw better than you. Do it anyways. You’re not in competition with them. You’re telling your story, and only you can do that.

Your story matters because you matter. Don’t let us miss out on it because you didn’t think it was special enough.

If you don’t have the skills to express your story in any of the artistic expressions, hire a tutor to develop that ability. It’s an investment into yourself. It took time and effort for me to learn to play guitar and sing. I’m still never going to play and sing as well as Ed Sheeran, but that doesn’t matter. (Wow, actually writing that down hurt more than I thought it would. Gimme a minute……okay, I’m good now.)

Your story matters because you matter. Don’t let us miss out on it because you didn’t think it was special enough.

After all, I’d much rather ask, “Why do you dance?” or “What’s your favorite thing to take pictures of?” instead of “Great weather, don’t you think?”

I told you I was tired of talking about the weather.

Thomas Christianson is a pastor, professor, writer and speaker living in the Baltimore area. You can find books, booking info, and blog posts at makingfaithpractical.com.