This One Thing: Faith for Creatives

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind…The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man.”~ECCLESIASTES 1:14;12:13

The book of Ecclesiastes was inspired by the Living Spirit of God and written by not only the wisest man to ever live, besides our Savior, Jesus Christ, but the wealthiest man of all creation; King Solomon.

In his lifetime, he had tasted of every indulgence he could, wealth was in abundance, of women he did not lack. There was nothing under the sun that was denied him.

And yet, after running around the mountain of indulgence and want, whether of Godly pursuit or in the attempt to appease the longings of his own flesh and desires; he came to the simple and yet profound conclusion, that nothing, NOTHING else was of true value, all was as chasing the wind, except loving God.

The word “fear” used in the scripture in regard to the Holy God of creation, is not that of being afraid and cowering, but one of awe and reverence. To be totally stricken silent by the glorious wonder of the One you are beholding. At the end of it all, King Solomon had found his One thing. God was his one thing.

Some may be thinking, “Well, that’s all well and good for him, but I live in the real world and I have real problems and cares.” So did Solomon. Whether at your greatest height or your lowest low, there is nothing so sweet as the embrace of Christ Jesus but you can only experience that by giving Him permission to take you in His arms.

Christ Jesus longs to love you and be loved by you. He died for you as His greatest expression of His love because YOU are HIS ONE THING.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.~ ROMANS 5:8

I encourage you to listen to the song again, read the words and maybe even sing along. Allow yourself to be enraptured by the truth that you are His One thing and His desire is to be close to you. And allow Him to be your One thing, for in Him are all things and you will lack for no good thing! (Matthew 6:24-34)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”~REVELATION 3:20

*Revised from November 18, 2015

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

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The Art of Tireless Pursuit: The Expression of Faith in Creativity pt 3

Faith is not only defined by giant leaps but is often reflected in the tiny steps.” ~Candice Coates

A few years back, I was sitting in front of my television, watching some show on HGTV, eating a plate full of room temperature leftovers (good leftovers nonetheless,) when a thought popped in my head:

You will never know where you are going if you never take a step.” ~Candice Coates

The thought seemed simple enough, for, as I was watching HGTV, eating room temperature leftovers, I was also thinking about this creative platform, my writing career,  my art, and all the other things I had planned to do in that year which seemed to have been getting derailed from every angle. Truth be told, I am still thinking about all of these things.

But when I first had these thoughts, I was thinking about my serial-blog-novel, ASCENSION GRAVEYARD. I will be honest, AG (for those of you who are just now tuning in, AG is my blog novel that I started writing in June of 2014…it is still a work in process and progress,) had given me some reason for creative pause.

I felt like it might have turned out to be a far longer novel than I planned for it to be, and coming to terms with that had been difficult. I have said this before. But even with my previous mention, I felt like the thought alone had caused me to stop my creative motions.

Even now, I am planning to charge at this unfinished body of work with full faith and force this summer. This will be my fourth attempt at writing this novel. If that is not fighting tirelessly, I don’t know what is. But still, there are some questions that remain unanswered, that need answering, as I continue on with my creative pursuit.

What do I want for this novel? What do I want for this creative platform, for my art, for myself? Where am I going?

I want a lot and sometimes I feel like the chasm between here and there is just so wide. But that only leads to the next question.

How do I know it is wide unless I take a step? 

It’s like looking into the rippling waters of a pool and trusting my first impression that the waters aren’t that deep when in reality they might actually go twelve feet down.

The realization that I have come to, is that none of it really matters, the true depth or my perception if I never take a step forward at all. And how will I have the faith to step? I have to want it enough and be willing to fight for it until I get it. I have to be willing to count the cost and press until I have a breakthrough. (Luke 14:28)

We all must step forward. We all must have the faith and tenacity to pursue our dreams even at the risk of error. Sure, we will reach moments where we look at how far we have come, scan over our maps and wonder if we have gone the wrong direction. That is part of the faith process.

But even if we have gone the wrong direction, that is not a cause for us to cease proceeding forward, to set up shop in the place of the unknown just for fear of having lost our way. It is all about recalibrating, getting your bearings and then stepping forward in the right direction, again.

So what you may not know where you want to end up exactly. Maybe the answers will only come once you start walking.

So many biblical pictures come to mind; Abraham being told to leave his home by God and go to a place  He (God) would show him (Genesis 12:1). God didn’t tell Abraham where exactly he was to go, he just said go, take a step of faith. Believe.

Then there is Psalm 119:105, which says, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” That to me indicates that more times than not the steps ahead of our current footfalls are shrouded in the dark, but we have got to take another step to discover that which lays hidden from view.

For me, I have just got to keep pressing forward, keep stepping through the darkness and trusting the Light to make my way plain. If I want ICFTS to flourish and to nurture the creative growth of myself and others, then I’ve got to keep seeking the Lord for answers to creative questions and sharing what I find.

If I want my art to stretch itself out and grow, then I have got to give it a platform to do so. If I want my writing career to take off, then I have got to keep writing. I have to take steps and keep stepping after that. And I have to have the confidence in the Lord that HE is guiding me and has made room for me for the times that I stumble.

 “Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” ~HEBREWS 10:35-36

No matter how big or small the step you take toward accomplishing your dream, celebrate the courage that you displayed in the step that you took and the ones that are sure to follow.

Each stone you put forth is one more to add to the foundation of your future. Be grateful for your progress and keep moving forward no matter how long it takes! Keep stepping, tenaciously in your creative journey and see how the Lord honors that faith.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow wearyand lose heart. ~HEBREWS 12:1-3

So getting back to the original thought I had, it is true that we will never know where we are going if we never take the first step…but that is only if you plan on going nowhere.

Press forward. Keep dreaming. And keep seeking.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

Pausing to Remember: Memorial Day

 

Happy Memorial Day! In honor of this day of remembrance, ICFTS is forgoing this week’s postings for Motivation Monday.

Tune in next week for new motivations to help you #SiezetheDream.

In the meantime, we pause to remember those who gave up their lives for the liberties of others. We celebrate them, not out of politics, but out of the heart cry of person to person, life for life.

Those who’ve fallen gave up the luxury of having the little things we take for granted.

However you celebrate this day, if you celebrate this day, do so with sincerity and thanksgiving. Life is precious.

Happy Memorial Day!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

5 Ways to Maintain Creative Joy: Wisdom for Creatives #Creative #Writing #Art

 

Being a creative person is a gift, one that is inherent to us all. Whether you are a writer or an artist, an educator or a parent imagining a new way to get your kids to eat their broccoli, you are operating in your creative nature.

For those us who want to take our creative passion to the next level and turn our hobbies into lucrative business ventures, we run the risk of facing burn out.

This burnout isn’t just from creating nonstop on something awesome. This burnout comes from being unprepared for the reality in the shift that we are making.

When our passion becomes a businesses there is another level of accountability that we have to step into, a level that is not as ‘fun’ as creating itself but just as necessary if we are to be successful.

With that in mind, I want to encourage you on ways to keep the glow of joy in your creating even as you stretch beyond your comfort zone and begin to make your passion available to your audience.

5 Ways to Enjoy Creating

  1. Make a plan: Realize that having an idea is just the beginning. You have to take the necessary steps that will take your plan and make it a reality and this requires time, dedication, and hard work. As Thomas Edison put it, “There is no substitute for hard work.” But the fruits are certainly worth the labor.
  2. Take your plan and break it up into daily, weekly, or monthly achievable goals: How do you eat an elephant? Whether with a knife and fork or simply your bare hands, it’s going to take one bite at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, folks, and neither will your next novel or great sculpture reach completion the very day you begin. Take things a step at a time. The Book of Genesis outlines how the world was created, one day at a time, one plan at a time, and with the completion of each day, God said IT IS GOOD!
  3. Don’t overdo it: Aim for a number of tasks you can do daily and have maybe one or two smaller tasks you can do in addition should you accomplish your big three in a shorter time, but no more. Time with family and friends is just as important and actually more so than work.
  4. Set work boundaries: Give yourself a dedicated time limit to work and then honor those boundaries. Boundaries create discipline. When discipline is developed our productivity is more effective. We can focus more on quality than quantity which saves us time in the end. Boundaries also create balance and enable us to enjoy our work and appreciate the freedom in our lives. I heard Pastor Ron Carpenter say, “The difference between a swamp and a river is boundaries. “ Because a river has boundaries it has a greater sense of order and bears fruit, whereas a swamp…well it’s a swamp. Both have water and trees but which do you most prefer to visit?
  5. Celebrate each victory: Even if you don’t reach your daily or weekly goal in totality, give thanks for what you were able to accomplish and give yourself a reward for a job well done. Whether it is in a specialty cup of tea or coffee, or just fifteen extra minutes of leisure time, be sure to celebrate. Celebration makes the worth just as worthwhile as the goal itself. Life is not just about the destination but each mile that makes up the journey. Again, if the God of Creation can see His daily tasks as good on the way to the greater destination, so can and so should we!
  6. BONUS: Remember that your value is not rooted in the work you do, that you are not measured by your victories and failures. Rather remember that because you have value you are able to do the work you do and do it well even through the ebbs and flows of victories and the unavoidable fails.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Steps & Leaps: A Quote on Faith #Quote #Inspiration #Encouragement #Faith

 

faith-in-stepsNo matter how big or small the step you take toward accomplishing your dream, celebrate the courage that you displayed in the step that you took and the ones that are sure to follow. Each stone you put forth is one more to add to the foundation of your future. Be grateful for your progress and keep moving forward!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Time: A Quote

Time is really the only capital that any humanbeing has and the only thing he can’t afford to lose. ~ Thomas Edison

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The Prophet Moses wrote in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.” As we draw to the close of the civil year, 2016, my prayer is that each of us would take to heart what we still have left to sow during this time, and all of the blessings that are ahead. Let us make good use of the time we have, numbering each day, loving the ones around us, and creating like the world’s existence depends on it!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Write the Book: A Quote

If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.” ~Beverly Cleary

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Many Great Authors began their writing careers in meeting their own imaginative and literary need. Perhaps that ‘book’ you crave to read, but can’t seem to find, rest deep within the soil of your imagination. Perhaps it’s time you begin to bring it to light! Write the book!

*This was originally shared December 18th, 2015, formerly titled “Write the Book.” In the weeks before NaNoWriMo 2016, I think this was worth the re-post! Write the book, folks.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!