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!

 

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Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: March 26th, 2018

 “He stumbled through the darkness, the light at his back forcing everything into angrier shadows that toyed with his perception. His fingers curved and clawed at nothing as if to anchor himself to where he was.”

RULES: 

  • Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or a line of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within up to 20 minutes.
  • Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of THIS POST to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “MondayMuse.”
  • To get the Above Image follow this LINK

If you do not have a blog of your own, leave me a comment and send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Silence of Clocks: A Short Story

He silently watched the car shrink away, eaten up by the distance. Strange. Although his lips were unmoving, he had so much he wanted to say.

The good thing was that he’d learned long ago to hold his tongue, swallow his errant thoughts and words like creme soda. At that moment, however, the words had the same burn as a straight shot of liquor, nothing but fire upon his throat.

He clutched the time peace at his chest. Felt it tick beneath his sweating palm. Its steady cadence like a heartbeat. Time was precious and theirs was just about up. the clock in his hands would go still and history would continue to roll forward…or backward. In his case, it went in every direction, even sideways.

That was the way of the Ministry of Time. The linear view of years and moments no longer mattered. Somehow his new perspective didn’t make this part of his job any easier.

He sucked in a sudden breath, pressed his eyes shut and clutched the timepiece so fiercely he feared his hand would bleed. The sound of burning rubber on pavement, horns blowing in the distance like a band out of tune, and shattering glass danced around his whispered goodbye and the silence of the clock in his hands.

The clock had ticked its last tock. Her story had come to an end in the fatality of a collision. He ground his teeth as a tear slid down his cheek. He could have said something. But he knew the hell that would be paid if he had. So he remained silent…like the clock in his hands.

THE END

*Okay, I know this story seems a bit strange but every now and again, portions to a series I am working on come alive and I can’t help but write them. The Ministry of Time is mentioned in my debut novel, NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL, coming soon. These are my results for MONDAY’S MUSE WRITING PROMPT MARCH 19th, 2018.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

 

Paths MADE Straight: Faith for Creatives

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” ~PROVERBS 3:5-6 

Some translations of this scripture say, “He shall make straight your paths.” Both of these translations lend great confidence to the glory we have in trusting in the Lord and allowing Him to be our trust even as He has authored and finished our faith.

Jeremiah 17:7-9, says, “The person who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.” (CSB)

We, as creatives, we as His children by faith, actively creating in faith, have confidence not only in the person of our God, Jesus Christ, but have Him as our Confidence. Each step we take toward our path of purpose is a step we can take knowing that He is with us and has made a way even when things do not seem to make sense, or the way seems obscured.

When our direction seems tangled and our roads crossed, we can rest assured that because we have trusting faith in Him, He will straighten out all that is crocked or bent and show us how to walk in the way before us, and guide us to do so at the right time.

Take courage today, creatives, and keep trusting in the Lord. Our faith and steps to create in faith, our prayers have been answered with an eternal ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ (II COR. 1:20) and WILL NOT return void!

If the fruit of our efforts looks opposite to the root of your prayers, don’t lean on your own understanding but keep pressing into Him and keep pressing forward. Our Heavenly Father is faithful and He who gave you the faith for your journey will guide you to the final destination.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

The Art of Being Curious: The Expression of Faith in Creativity pt 2

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. ~Walt Disney

Question. Wonder. Think. Discover. All of these words have one specific thing or root, in common, and that is curiosity.

I don’t know exactly what comes to mind for you when you think of the word, curiosity, but for me, the image of a child appears. Why? Because children have this uncanny, unwavering courage or faith to seek with the expectation to discover.

They have a unique boldness that enables them to try new things in order to arrive at an intended result. As a result, they grow and develop beyond their previous state only to repeat the creative cycle of curiosity again.

Children embody the purity of grace to use their curiosity to be exceptionally creative, and thusly, successful. (I mean, have you seen videos of toddlers using the family dog as a ladder to open the fridge to get snacks? If that isn’t a success, I don’t know what is.)

Challenges in and of themselves, are never roadblocks for children. Instead, they are the catalyst for curiosity. This genesis of curiosity in the face of a problem links itself with incredible faith and transforms into tenacious action and thusly growth.

FAITH FUELED BY CURIOSITY 

A child encounters a ‘problem’. They become curious. They search for solutions using creativity. And then they take action applying that creativity fueled by faith for desired results. They believe (operate in faith) that what they are doing will succeed, will bear fruit.

In Matthew 7:7-8, our Lord Jesus says this, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Emphasis added.)

Ask. Seek. Knock. Recieve.

CREATIVE CYCLE OF CURIOUS FAITH: A LESSON FROM MOSES

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.….So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land.  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”Then Moses and Aaron did so; just as the Lord commanded them, so they did. And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh. ~EXODUS 3:1-10; 7:1-7 NKJV

Here we find the Prophet Moses about his daily business when he sees something curious (the burning bush)  and begins to ask questions and seek out answers (why is the bush burning).

Upon further investigation of what sparked his curiosity, he is directed by God to go forth and do some knocking (tell Pharoah to let the Children of Israel go) and thusly receive what he requested, which was what God had promised Abraham over 400 years prior to that moment (GENESIS 15:13-15.)

As a result of this cycle, Moses, and a great multitude of people, not to mention those of Egypt experience divine change. Moses is elevated, the Children of Israel are liberated, and the Egyptians receive revelation, that there is no God but the God of Israel, all because of on curious moment and a question about a burning bush.

ASK

As creatives and people of faith, we have to embody the childlike confidence and boldness to ask questions and continuously operate in our curiosity. We have to have the courage to face the problems or obstacles that we encounter.

You’ve heard the proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Necessity suggests there is a need or a problem that needs solving. We generally see necessity when we take the time to be curious about what is in front of us.

What is the need or problem that you are facing? It could be something as simple as trying to find a better way to sweep dust into your dustpan without dust-bunnies clinging to the broom bristles. (I hate that!) Maybe you’ve dreamed up a few ideas for a solution, but what do you do next? You seek creative ways to use them.

SEEK

Look for ways to make those visions and ideas a reality. Research what others have tried, learn from those who’ve gone before you. Ask those you know what they think about the ‘problem’ at hand. Search out wisdom. Pray for wisdom (JAMES 1:5).

KNOCK

Put your findings into creative action. Faith takes steps. Faith is a verb.

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” ~JAMES 2:18

A good idea is great on paper but it is even better in reality. In order for your creative idea to become a reality, it must be accomplished through faith. You won’t move without it.

RECEIVE 

If I have learned nothing else in my walk with Christ, it is that He often shows me problems because He also wants to give me the solutions. I just have to be willing and curious enough to seek Him and search out the answers.

Moses had to do the same.

Your act of curious knocking may not get the ‘door’ to your solution to open on the first try. It may not even get the door to open on the first seventeen tries, but if the Lord has led you to the door, He definitely intends for it to be opened.

Consider that there is a greater glory connected to the multiple attempts to solving your creative problem. The Lord pretty much told Moses this very thing, warning him that even though He was sending Moses to Pharaoh, and that he would let the Children of Israel go, there was going to require several encounters with the man before the deed was actually done, and all for glory. (EXODUS 7:1-7)

But in the end, the door would be opened and the promise would be received. This promise holds true for you and me today.

Keep holding onto your faith, and keep your eyes fixed with curiosity. You may be one burning bush away from something spectacularly creative!

*How has curiosity played a role in your creativity as well as your faith? Talk about it in the comments below.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’ Muse Writing Prompt: March 19th, 2018

OPENING LINE (S): “He silently watched the car shrink away, eaten up by the distance. Strange. Although his lips were unmoving, he had so much he wanted to say.”

RULES: 

  • Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or a line of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within up to 20 minutes.
  • Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of THIS POST to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “MondayMuse.”
  • To get the Above Image follow this LINK

If you do not have a blog of your own, leave me a comment and send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

A Heart Filled: Faith for Creatives

You have filled my heart with great joy…” ~PSALM 4:7

To put our trusting faith in the Lord, not only for salvation but as an act of creative worship, is not only one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves but it is a great gift that we can give to our Heavenly Father.

Creative worship is the greatest way to say, “Father, I trust you with who I am in you, and the plan you have authored for me.”

Faith is the root of our covenant with Him. Faith is what creates in us clean hearts and blesses us to be His righteousness (2 CORINTHIANS 5:21).

Faith is what makes us a blessing to our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is faith that so pleases His heart.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. ~HEBREWS 11:6

Psalm 4 beautifully highlights the dance between our trusting in the Lord, and how it brings the greatest delight to our own hearts and His.

Verses three and seven capture the essence of it like this, “But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The Lord will hear when I call to Him…You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.

When we are confident in the Lord, when we rest in our faith, we are blessed with such an exceeding joy that it shines through the thickest darkness and outweighs any material gain or fulfilled need we could have.

Being a creative is faith in action. Resting in confidence that He is with you and hears you, delights Him and fills you. I can’t say it enough! And when your heart is full, you are able to overflow with joyful creativity.

Are you resting in faith that He is with you as you go along life and your creative journey? If not, there is no greater day than today to begin.

(READ PSALM 4)

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

The Art of Being Happy: The Expression of Faith in Creativity pt 1

A child can teach an adult three things: To be happy for no reason, to always be curious, and to fight tirelessly for something.” ~Paulo Coelho

THE HAPPY WISDOM OF CHILDREN…

Author, Paulo Coelho, hit the nail on the head with this simple yet powerful description of the wisdom of children. It puts me in the mind of what our Savior, King Jesus said to His disciples, in regard to children and faith, in Matthew 18:3, “…and [Jesus] said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” 

Here, the Lord is telling adults what it would take to walk in the fullness of His redemption, to not just be redeemed, but to take hold of the authority and power redemption brings, and that would require the faith of a child.

Children have the ability to place unmerited trust in their parents. They believe when dad says he is taking them to Disney World. They believe that when mom says there are no monsters under the bed, that there are no monsters under the bed. They leap from great heights, heights that would give most adults vertigo, trusting without a doubt that the arms of their loved one will catch them without fail.

This is the faith that the Lord asks of us and encourages us to embrace once again.

For many of us, deciding to allow our creative passion to no longer lay dormant or to cease to be a hobby, but to transform into our main source of income, requires a great deal of faith.

Most of the time the decision made is often the easiest hurdle to leap over. Maintaining the glow of a job-well-done, or a-good-choice-made is something else entirely.

You see, when we decided to become ‘serious’ about our creative passion, we are, by faith, opening doors to another level of reality. We are embracing the monotony of taxes if we are creating products or services. We are choosing to place ourselves on the stage for social criticism. We are choosing to accept boundaries in order to better guide and maintain successful ventures.

We are, in a word, choosing to ‘adult’ while fully embracing our creative passion.

The question that remains, while we are having to now juggle the new demands our creative growth requires, is are we choosing to be happy in the process?

CHOOSING TO BE HAPPY…FOR NO REASON

Applying childlike faith to our creative growth requires the courage to be happy in all seasons. What does this mean? It means that you are not allowing circumstances to rob you of what matters most. You are not allowing a seemingly unsolvable problem to take your joy from you.

It’s saying ‘this’ may be happening, but I choose to be happy because…or I choose to be happy anyway.

Maybe you start your blog and you don’t gain the following that you initially dreamed of even though you’ve applied the rules that you learned from blogging-gurus. You have the choice to either bemoan your low following or to be grateful for the audience that you have.

Or maybe you attract a few nagging comment-trolls. You can either wallow in the negativity of the ‘haters,’ or choose to celebrate the faithful who are blessed by what you are sincerely offering.

Maybe you didn’t anticipate how lacking in excitement filing quarterly taxes can be. You have the choice to groan about the process or be happy that you even have sales to file taxes on.

I could go on and on with many examples but the point is we need to choose to be happy…always.

Happiness effects the quality of our creativity, the quality of our presentation, the quality of our lives. Choosing happiness is to commit to being satisfied with where you are and what you have. It’s choosing to celebrate the ‘likes’ and kind words of readers over those of critics.

It’s choosing to see the good in your process and current place in your progress even as you strive to move forward to your desired destination.

I am sure that if you grew up anywhere near a church you’ve heard that that shortest verse in the bible is ‘Jesus wept.” Well, there is another verse that matches it in length (at least in English…I haven’t checked the Greek.)

REJOICE ALWAYS,” ~I THESSALONIANS 5:16

No matter where you are in your in your creative journey, take the advice of children and choose to be happy…for no reason…always. There is certainly so much more ahead of you if you keep pushing forward, but there is so much worth celebrating even in the now.

Choose happy.

*In what ways have you had to grapple with happiness or the lack thereof as you’ve journeyed in your creativity? Talk about it in the comments below.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt: March 12th, 2018

OPENING LINE (S): “I really can’t tell you what fragrance she wore, but I remember it was beautiful, and it was sweet, like jazz, on a Sunday morning.”

RULES: 

  • Using the above line and the picture provided, (Or a line of your own choosing) create a story (or even a poem) within up to 20 minutes.
  • Once you have finished your super awesome masterpiece, add a link in the comments section of THIS POST to your story for others to read, as well as a link on your page back to this original post for others to follow along and write with as well. In your “tags” section, add the tag “MondayMuse.”
  • To get the Above Image follow this LINK

If you do not have a blog of your own, leave me a comment and send me an email to icameforthesoup@gmail.com and I will post your lovely words here on my blog.

(PLEASE KEEP ENTRIES THAT NEED TO BE POSTED ON THIS SITE WITHIN A PG13 RANGE. THANK YOU)

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Faithfully Creative: Faith Filled Encouragement for Creatives

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. ~HEBREWS 11:1-2

Faith. It is the key component to being creative and walking in the gift of creativity.

When a singer opens her mouth to sing, she operates in faith that she will hit those soaring notes. When a painter applies paint to a canvas and manipulates the brush to form curves and strokes that will show the face of a man, it is done by faith. When a writer sets his fingers to the keyboard with the intention of weaving a story with words, it is done by faith.

Like a car needs fuel to drive, like a lamp needs electricity to provide light, so to do we need faith to achieve the fullness of our creativity.

The beauty of faith is that it is a gift, authored by our God, Father, and Creator, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that He is the author and finisher of our faith.

Anything the Lord does, He does perfectly and fully, exceedingly and abundantly, above all that we can think or ask (Ephesians 3:20-21.)

What this means is that we can have faith in the very faith that He has endowed us to create what He has placed upon our hearts to create. He has penned faith, perfect for you and your season and mission.

If you have a business in mind to start, if you want to begin a ministry, if you want to start a family, create in faith!

You have more than what you need to do so.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion