Made Wonder Full: Faith Filled Encouragment for Creatives

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. ~PSALM 139:13-14 NKJV

You are fearfully and wonderfully made! Some translations of verse 13 say, not that God ‘covered us in our mother’s wombs’ but that He knit us together in our mother’s wombs.

When scripture uses the word ‘fearful,’ it doesn’t mean to be afraid, for what exactly did our Heavenly Father have to fear when He created you? What the word ‘fearful’ means here is that He created you with awe, care, and absolute reverence.

Not only did the God of all Creation create you fearfully, but He knit you together, which means He got personal when He formed you! You mean so much that He made you from scratch with His own hands.

Christ wouldn’t have created you if He had plans to erase your unique qualities and individual voice. On the contrary, He has plans to plant and cultivate you, to multiply the wonder that He knit into your every fiber.

You may be thinking that where you are, and who you are at present, is not anything worth multiplying, but be of good courage. The Lord has assured us in His Word, that the work that He has begun in us He is faithful to complete (Philippians 1:3-7.)

No matter where you are in your walk today, it is never too late to submit to being planted in His original plan for you, to allow the divine wonder He has placed in you and your truest identity, found in Christ, to flourish.  (Jeremiah 17:7-8, Psalm 1)

You are wonder-full and knit together for a glorious purpose!

You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you, and I like you, just the way you are.” ~MR. ROGERS

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

Advertisements

“Anything You Can Do I Can Do”…But Why Should I?: Creating My Way

First, the title of this article is not necessarily true in and of its self, but I am trying to paint a picture with words here, so follow along, will you?

I am not sure if you are familiar with the old musical “Annie Get Your Gun” starring Betty Hutton and Howard Keel. In the movie, there is a song that they sing to each other. It’s more two people shooting arrogant verse at each other as if they are bullets. “Anything you can do I can do better. I can do anything better than you.

As creatives, we are all looking for our own place in the world, our own voice. Even when and while we are inspired by and appreciate the expressions of others, we can sometimes find ourselves looking at fellow creatives with competitive eyes. “I can do that and I can do it better. Maybe I should try.

Being human, no matter what we are aiming to do, we can all go ahead and admit we’ve  done that once or twice. 

In an older post, I quoted Octavia E. Butler on how she became a science fiction writer. (Did I mention she is the winner of the Hugo Award and Nebula Awards?) Anyhow, she said that when she was twelve years old she watched a dreadful science fiction flick. It was so bad that she was determined to write “good” science fiction. And she did, obviously.

…I have to make art that I care about not just art that I can make. ~Candice Coates

But her attitude was “I can do better than that.” And that attitude paid off. (If you have not read any of her work, check out Wild Seed.) The thing is, not only did she set out to write ‘better’ science fiction, but she did it her way, in her own voice, without competing with the voices that were already out there.

Since ICFTS began, I have been on a constant journey to identify my voice as an artist. Truth be told, I have been on this search since I have been an artist. I have always been very eclectic. But one thing that has come to mind with all of this is that I have to make art that I care about not just art that I can make.

As I have said for years, just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. That is when you get stuck in ruts of hollow, soulless work, be it writing, visual art, whatever it is. Always create what you care about.

I am on a hunt to find what it is that I care about. I love doing oil paintings, I love writing (writing will ALWAYS be my thing. I love to tell a story.) but with visual art, it just all depends.

I find that even with oil painting, though I have a talent for it,  I am exploring more pencil work, with ink and colored pencils. And there is always the option of mixed media illustration.  There are so many options.

…just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.” ~Candice Coates

I remember, years ago, in undergrad during a departmental review, my professors telling me “All your work is amazing, Ms. Coates, but it looks like the work of twenty different artists.”

On one hand, this is not a bad thing at all. It’s like being multilingual. I speak twenty different artistic languages. On the other hand, it begs the question, are you perfectly fluent in any of them? Jack or rather Jacqueline of all trades and master of…only a few.

 

 

 

We need to create on purpose, with purpose.”

CREATING WITH CONSIDERATION

There are 3 verses that come to mind in this regard. I will pluck at each. One is Philippians 4:13,I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

It is comforting to know that if I set myself to do things that He, Christ Jesus, has placed in my heart to do, that no matter what, if I trust Him, He has given me the strength to do them.

I want to make art. He has given me the gift to do so and also the strength for it.

I Corinthians 10:23,You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is helpful. You say, “I am allowed to do anything” but not everything is beneficial.

With the creative strength and gift given unto me, I need to operate in wisdom. So what I can, sculpt. I don’t feel ANYTHING when I am sculpting apart from a loss of time. Dash the great reviews of my audience. (Just using sculpting as an example.)

Where is the benefit of doing something just because you can? You won’t benefit from my efforts and in the long run, no one else will either. The work is void of any life because your heart was not in it. This is arbitrary actions at its best.

Both of these verses bring me to Isaiah 30:21,and your ears hear a word behind you, saying “This is the Way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or whenever you turn to the left.

BE CREATIVE, NOT COMPETITIVE

What is the point? The point is not to be arbitrary, not to be competitive. Art, to me, creation and creativity, is sacred. It needs to be treated with respect and care. We need to create on purpose with purpose. Not in a way to “out do” the person next to us. There has to be meaning involved. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.

In conjunction with this, we should not only create what we care about, but we should create on subjects or themes that we care about.  If you are not interested in what you are doing your work “on” you are still going to get the same empty results, a pretty picture with no life to it, even if you are doing it in a medium that you love.

My creative path is still winding forward. I am discovering more about me and what I want out of my career as a visual artist. I am ever on the hunt to uncover my “niche” and voice.

But even where I stand now,  I can be confident in creating what I am curious about and care about, and leave all the competitive  “I can do better than you” mess behind me. And best of all, so can you!

*This article was originally published on February 12th, 2014 & Updated February 19th, 2018.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*Do you ever feel like you could be making better use of your creative time, or that you’ve lost yourself in a creative competitive race? Talk about it in the comments below.

Creative High Places: Faith-Filled Encouragement for Creatives

For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall….He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my* high places. He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.You enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip.”~ PSALM 18:28-29, 33-36 NKJV *Emphasis added

Stepping out in faith is a privilege and an opportunity to see God’s Word made manifest in our lives. As children of the Most High God, our very acts of being creative, in whatever area we are prompted to create, are steps of faith.

The very places that we aim to step, the places that His Spirit is urging us to, are our ‘high places‘, given to us by His divine prompting (Vs 33). It is our right and privilege to take possession of them.

The glorious beauty of knowing that we have surrendered our hearts to Christ and are His beloved gives us the assurance that when we step in faith He will make our way straight before us and give us the strength to overcome any obstacles that may and likely will arise.

Psalms 18 assures us of several things:

  1. He will give us light for our way (Vs 28a, JOHN 8:12): He will show us where to step
  2. He will enlighten our darkness (Vs 28b, JAMES 1:5): He will give us wisdom as we step into new territory
  3. He will give us divine strength to overcome obstacles (Vs 29, 34, PHILIPPIANS 4:13)
  4. He will cultivate us and equip us to walk in new and high places that He blesses us to reach by His Grace and Faithfulness (Vs 33, PHILIPPIANS 1:6)
  5. He will guard us and make us great (Vs 35, PSALM 90:17)
  6. He will make our path such that we are unable to slip (Vs 36, ISAIAH 30:21)

See PSALM 18:28-36 

The Lord Yeshua-Jesus, Our God and Father, is a God of excitement and adventure, but every adventure will have its trials. There will be mountains. There will be valleys, but when we walk with Him there will be victory and such great reward.

Know that as you step into your vision that you can have faith for His protection, that not only does He equip you to leap over those mountains that may come to discourage you in your way but, in Christ, He has given you the divine authority to speak to those very mountains and command them to throw themselves out of your path and into the depths of the sea! (MARK 11:23).

We, as Creatives, are on divine assignment! Our Father’s desire is for us to flourish in our creativity and the vision that He has seeded in us.

So, step out in faith! No. Leap into it and know that He is with you every step of the way! He’s got you!

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

Can I Be Me?: The Conflict of Creative Authenticity

Authenticity. According to Wikipedia, Authenticity-Authentic-Authentication is ‘the act of confirming the truth of an attribute.

Truth, unlike ‘fact,’ is an unchangeable and consistent reality. While an attribute, in its noun form according to Merriam-Webster, is ‘a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.

As a creative, a being made in the image of the Master Creator, Yeshua-Jesus, you have the inherent DNA to create. (More on that in The Call to Create.) There are specific, unchangeable attributes about what you have been given to offer to the world, things that are waiting for you to discover and share, that are unique to you and unrivaled by others.

The struggle that we all face in our creative journies is summed up in one phrase; the urge to be a people-pleaser.

It could be in the way you paint, throw a football, run a boardroom, or even how you nurture children in your home or in an educational environment. Whatever it is, it is unique to you.

But, more often than not, the noise of the world around us, the shifting trends of what is acceptable versus what is shunned, tends to not only stifle our creative voices to near silence, but they also whittle away at, and shape our uniqueness into something that can seem like a carbon-copy of things already done or voices already heard.

Although we may find ourselves drowning in a sea of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ with our contributions flooding the shores of social media when we follow the creative-status-quo, something within us tends to groan with frustration, knowing that the high number of followers isn’t enough. The ‘likes’ no longer give us the buzz we craved.

Maybe you are a person who isn’t even abreast of the ebbs and flows of the social-media world or algorithms, but still, you find yourself inundated with the pressures to ‘be’ what others expect you to do and be, to cook that pasta sauce like Nanna always did it, to give of yourself in a way that is…expected.

The struggle that we all face in our creative journies is summed up in one phrase; the urge to be a people-pleaser.

People pleasing in all arenas, is a venom that destroys the true voice of authenticity. It robs creatives of their God-given seed to flourish as they were meant to, to create in a way that brings Him glory, and them fulfillment.

Pastor Craig Groeschel put it this way,

Living for the approval of people will keep you from living for the purpose of God.”

The book of Proverbs says it like this, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. (Proverbs 29:25).

When we allow our hearts to be moved by our fear of what people around us will accept or the thought they will shout ‘That can’t be done,’ or ‘That is impossible,’ we lose our divine authenticity. We lose the power to be who we were created to be. We fall into the snare of inauthenticity.

If you grew up in a Christian environment, I am sure you’ve heard the adage, “Less of me and more of You, God.” As ‘humble’ as that may sound, it goes against what God wants for you and from you.

Yes, He delights for us to do all things unto Him and for His glory (Colossians 3:23-24), but He wants us to do things in the image that He created us in. He wants more of unique you.

Just as He doesn’t want a rose to shed its thorns in order to be like a daisy, neither does He delight to see Rose attempting to do things like her friend, Daisy, just because that is what has gotten man’s stamp of approval. Nor does He want any of us to stop being who He has uniquely imagined and created us to be.

We are, all of us, fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together by His hands with divine, and awesomely unique creativity (Psalm 139:13-14).

Can you be you? Absolutely! That is what you were created to be.

Whatever is burning inside of you may require you to not walk a path created, but to be a trailblazer and create a new path altogether. In order to do this you have to be you … and no one else.

You are going to face opposition when you take the courage to be the creative you that you are called to be. You are going to face mountains and even have to walk through many sung ballets of how you can’t do what you are doing with your authentic voice. But the beauty is, you can win if you step out in faith.

So I encourage you to be your authentic self, confirming the truth of the unique attributes that define you and the characteristics of your creative voice. You will win if you determine to be you!

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” ~Oscar Wilde

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do CONQUER!

What are your thoughts about being an authentic creative? Share your wisdom in the comments below!

The Measurer of Our Success: Faith-Filled Encouragment for Creatives

Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Each day is a new opportunity to step out in faith and make strides toward your vision. Sometimes, the lens by which we rate our productive success, causes us to lose heart, and even drive, to continue with the work we’ve done or planned to do.

Other times, we find that although we’ve planned to-do a list of specific things, our hearts and minds are driving us to do something totally unrelated, and we struggle to stay focused on the well-rounded plans we set for ourselves.

We want to do our best, after all. We have plans for our future and that future can only be realized if we stick to the task.

Let us remember, that as we walk out of one week, and prepare to enter another, that if we have submitted to the trusting faithfulness of the Lord Yeshua Jesus, that He is faithfully guiding our steps (Psalm 37:23).

Let us meditate on the truth that we are not even in a position to judge our own success, nor are we in the position of being our own Lord. We work for the Lord and not ourselves.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be good stewards over the tasks and time He has given us, rather, that we should be cognizant of Who is guiding and blessing us with whatever measure of success our work produces at a given time.

To that end, let us do our best with each day and moment we have, to celebrate what we are blessed to accomplish when we step out as good stewards unto the Lord and call our truest efforts ‘good’ as we do them unto Him! (Genesis 1)

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

Building Memorials for Creative Success: Week 2 #SeizetheDream #Goals #MondayMotivation #CreativeMotivation

*To see previous course encouragements see the Course Content Page.

Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” ~Joshua 4:4-7 NKJV Bible Gateway

Memorial. A memorial is something that we set up to remind ourselves of important events or happenings in our lives.

Wedding bands are memorials of covenant relationships with one’s spouse. Diplomas are memorials for academic achievement. Gravestones are memorials declaring the life and death of a loved one.

No matter the type of memorial, all of them have the same purpose, and that is to call us to remembrance.

Every memorial that is set up in our lives will either spur us on to a healthy and whole future, or they will hinder us from taking the necessary steps we need in order to truly walk in our desired creative success.

As creatives, and for those of us who are people of faith, we must be mindful of the kinds of memorials we are setting up in our lives. Are we establishing reminders for success, or stumbling blocks for failure?

As we walk into the second week of this creative journey here are 3 Memorials we need to investigate; Past, Present, and Future.

Past: Where You’ve Been

  • Learn to Forget

The memorial of the past consists of its fair share of victories as well as failures. The beauty of looking back at our past is that we get to acknowledge it for what it truly is–Our past.

Sometimes our past victories can become as crippling as our failures. Remembering the ‘good’ that we did in yesteryear can sometimes be the fading glory that prevents us from pressing into the present opportunity for ‘greatness’ in tomorrow.

We can become so intimidated by our past success that we feel as if we won’t be able to reach that former glory let alone exceed it.

In Philippians 3:13-14, the Apostle Pauls says:

13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

As creatives, seeking a greater dream, we must, like the Apostle Paul, realize that we may not be at the level of success we’d like but we cannot let yesterday keep us from aiming for that level either.

We must learn to forget those old failures as well as put our past victories in their proper perspective if we are going to take hold of our future success.

  • Learn to Remember

In the same token, we have to keep stock of the victories we attained especially when the odds were against us and it seemed as if we were not going to reach or goals.

In Psalm 23, King David says of the Lord that His rod and His staff comfort him (Psalm 23) Some text suggest that the staff that David carried and referred to was a patriarchal staff passed down from father to son. On this staff were the victories over trial, and the mighty works that God had done for His people.

Being able to look back and remember how in the toughest of times we still achieved our goal is a comfort and an encouragement that urges us forward into our next victory.

If we overcame yesterday, we can surely do so today!

Present: Where You Are

Many of us creatives have found ourselves having a desired destination in mind but finding several reasons today for why we cannot get there. This often comes from looking at what you have in comparison to what you think you need, and then counting yourself out.

When we begin to see our present as insufficient in light of what we what for our future, and thus determine that it would be useless to make steps to contradict the insufficiency, we position ourselves for failure.

This is obviously not the kind of memorial we want to build.

If you are a person of faith, you must believe that the God of Creation not only gave you your creative dream and vision but that He is also aware of where you are and what you have, even in the face of what you ‘think’ you need.

Hebrews 13:5 says,

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”~ NKJV

To be content with our present does not mean that we are ‘satisfied,’ nor that we are deciding to just lay day and allow life to happen at whim. Rather it means that we have taken stock of what we currently have in hand, and with the minds of faith, courage, and ingenuity we are trusting a power greater than us to bless our steps of faith.

When we learn to move with and beyond what we have, seeing opportunity instead of lack, that we grow in our creativity and ingenuity. Genius is born when we move in faith and courage where we are with what we have available to us.

  • Remember that presently you are___________/you have_____________but you shall______________because you have faith.

Future: Where You Are Going

Where you are going is determined by how you think and what you see in your imagination. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that as a man thinks in his heart so is he.

In order for you to sow seeds for creative success, you must:

  • Learn to see yourself as successful
  • Learn to see yourself victorious in your vision
  • Learn to see yourself beyond the current odds

Overcoming roadblocks build strength, faith, and endurance. Building proper memorials enables us to do that.

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION:

  • In your journal, take the time to write down your memorials. Using the principles outlined in today’s course write down:
  1. Where you’ve been
  2. Where you are
  3. Where you ARE going
  • Speak your success: Using an index card, write down five affirmations about the successful person you are. Example: I am a success. I am original. I am courageous. Speak these out loud to yourself especially when you are feeling discouraged.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS:

ADDITIONAL READING:

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • What memorials do you have that have helped you take the steps toward your Creative Dream & Vision?
  • How have past victories hindered or enabled you in your creative growth?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Divorcing Perfect: The First Step in Sowing Seeds for Creative Success #SeizetheDream #Goals #MondayMotivation

Welcome to Week 1 of “Sow the Seeds, Seize the Dream 12 Week Creative Course.” I have to say that more than anything I am super excited about embarking on this journey with you.

No matter what your creative goals are, I want to see you soar!

Taking the steps, harnessing the faith and courage to walk on the waters of our curious creativity, is a grand thing and certainly not one to be taken lightly.

This is a big deal. You, making the decision to find your creative voice, to try something outside of your comfort zone, but oh so impressed upon your heart with a million ‘what ifs’ is a big deal.

The reality is everything will be as good as it is meant to be in the stage of development that it is in.

Today we begin with a simple but necessary introduction to the path we are going to take. Like with any journey, it is important that one counts the cost and gets ready for the road ahead.

The biggest hurdle we as creatives must leap over (we as humans) is that of ‘Perfectionism.’

  • PERFECTIONISM: The inability to accept anything that is below the standard of perfection.

Today, I just want to talk to you about how crippling ‘perfectionism’ can be and give you a few steps to move beyond this so-called giant.

I remember for over a period of five years I had gathered a mouthwatering collection of art supply, from paints to pens, paper, canvases … you name it, I pretty much had it. All of it gathered to create glorious art, but all of it gathered little more than dust as the fear of making something less than perfect crippled my hands from moving.

For five years my creativity bottle-necked because I was afraid to mess up the cotton fibers of my papers. I was simply afraid, afraid my results would not match my original design, afraid I would fail, afraid I wouldn’t measure up to the expectations of others … simply afraid.

Can you relate to that?

Many of us have a dream but do nothing with it, not because we are careless, but because we have become overly careful. Many times this ‘care’ which is actually insecurity and worry is birthed the fear of not being good enough.

The reality is everything will be as good as it is meant to be in the stage of development that it is in.

As the book of Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 puts it: What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

A five-year-old playing a mean tune of “Chopsticks” has done a fantastic job even though that song doesn’t compare in the minds of many to “Moonlight Sonata.” But if the five-year-old continues to try his or her hand at simplistic tunes until their muscles have learned to flow into something like “Jingle-Bells,” then there is hope that they will grow into pieces composed by Mozart and Beethoven.

This truth holds the same for ALL CREATIVES. We have to make peace with the truth that growing in our creativity is a messy business and will require some keys being played out of tune, some colors being poorly mixed, even some words being used out of context.

The mistakes are all a part of the growth process and actually, some things birthed out of imperfection have actually proven to be quite perfect. Here are a few examples:

  • Cream Cheese: Cream cheese was the IMPERFECT mistake made in 1872, created by American dairymen, William Lawrence of Chester, N.Y. In Mr. Lawrence’s attempt to create the French cheese called Neufchatel, he imperfectly, yet perfectly, created Cream Cheese which is a hit! I mean what is a bagel without cream cheese, and don’t get me started on cheesecake.
  • Ganache: I heard it on a Food show years ago that this chocolatey delight was created by a chef ‘accidentally’ and thusly, imperfectly knocking cream into some heated chocolate. In his attempt to create something else, this confection was invented.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies: In 1938 American Chefs,  Ruth Graves Wakefield and Sue Brides imperfectly yet perfectly came up with just about every cookie lover’s dream. Now, according to some, the chef’s were attempting to create a chocolate cookie, believing that the chocolate chips would melt in the batter only to find that the did not, but no one is complaining over that!

The point of these delicious examples is that there are people the world and time over who have stepped out of their comfort zones to attempt something new to them only to be blessed by the results of their imperfection. (I used food examples to whet your creative appetites.) They had a dream and vision for something and what they ended up with, although imperfect by some standards, ended up being better than they had imagined. They didn’t just set out to be perfect they set out to take hold of their creative dreams.

Today, we have the same opportunity as the folks mentioned. We can step out, divorcing the fear of perfectionism, but raising our expectation for something good to happen in us and through us creatively over the next 12 weeks.

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION:

  • Commit to a new definition of perfection. Find perfection in the ‘completion’ of each creative step required to get you from dream to vision, not in the flawless result of what you currently view as perfect. (For each person, this will be different. What is needed for an amateur make-up artist to complete is not the same as an aspiring author. )
  • Commit to attempting your creative endeavor while embracing the glory of imperfection. As Zig Ziglar put it, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly . . . until you can learn to do it well.” 
  • Commit to acknowledging the goodness in each effort you have made toward your dream and call it ‘good.’ As in the dawn of Creation, The Lord God, at the end of His daily efforts of Creation, He blessed His work and called it GOOD! Yes, He had a bigger picture in mind (end result) but He acknowledged the goodness in the steps He’d made toward that goal. We have to do the same.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS:

ADDITIONAL READING:

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • How have you defined perfection?
  • How has your definition affected your creativity?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

(Also, get yourself a journal and write dow your thoughts. It will be great to see how far you’ve grown in the coming weeks!)

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

How to Achieve Your Dream Part 1: Believe You Can #MotivationMonday #SeizetheDream #Creative

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~Theodre Roosevelt

One of the most glorious things about life is that even though it can be considered a canvas, it certainly is not a ‘paint by numbers.’ Life is not a one-size-fits-all even if certain ideas and concepts may mirror that of another’s. There still, and always, remains the glory of uniqueness in each person’s life and creation.

I believe that Yeshua Jesus has a plan for each of us, a perfect design that He wants us to be co-workers with Him upon. He gives us dreams for a reason. Some dreams we take hold of and bring to manifestation, while others, sadly we leave to float away like feathers in the wind.

Many times, the dreams that get away from us are the dreams that we can’t seem to muster the faith for or we allow our faith to be choked away.

But how do we cease to do this?

We have to make a connection with faith and hold on to it. The Lord tells us that all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed and nothing will be impossible for us (Matthews 17:20) The glory of such a small seed is that it becomes very large when placed in the right soil and environment.

The blessing for us is that anything that we put in the hand of the Master has the potential to be greatly multiplied beyond what we can even hope or imagine! (Matthew 14:13-21,  Ephesians 3:14-21)

We have to see more opportunities than obstacles.  We must no longer minimize the potential of the seed of the dreams we have and stop polluting the soil of opportunity with weeds of fear and doubt.

In order to do this, we need to remind ourselves of the great love that Yeshua Jesus has for us. He is the one who has given us the dream and He loves us. Fear, however, is the opponent of love (I John 4:18), and not only are you greatly loved but you have not been given the spirit of fear, but love, power, and a sound mind! (2 Timothy 1:7)

We also have to use our creative imagination with faith-filled courage and not fear-filled conjecture. We must focus on the potential truth of imaginative vision instead of the frailty of tangible sight.

The book of Proverbs tells us that as a man thinks in his heart so he is (Proverbs 23:7)These thoughts which soon become reality began as a seed of imagination. They can either be based out of fear as well as incomplete information or fuelled by faith.

To be ruled by conjecture is similar to looking into a pool and concluding that the waters are not deep because they ‘look’ to be shallow, only to find out you were wrong once your head is under water.

Operating in the truth of imaginitive vision is to step out in faith and we are encouraged in the Word that Faith is the substance of things not seen and the evidence of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). Evidence is not conjecture. Evidence is truth!

Faith it out!

The beauty in this is that the greatest push for us to accomplish those dreams that make our hearts flutter is to first believe. Believing, making the commitment to take the step, is the greatest part of the journey.

It is the first step toward your dream, and believing enough to step out means you are already halfway there!

*Join me next week for Part 2 of this motivating series.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

The Name She Used: Monday’s Muse Results for May 1st 2017 #AmWriting #Monday’sMuse #WritingPrompt

They’d been walking for three hours. The car had run out of gas that far back. She’d stayed with him, but she still hadn’t told him her name. 

Interestingly enough, he didn’t feel like he needed to know her name, not at that moment. She’d given him peace the very moment she got in the car with him, her presence washing over his atmosphere with a something akin to light.

He laughed on the inside. He knew his thoughts were foolish especially since he was thinking them about a complete stranger one who avoided the mention of her name even though she kept speaking one to him over and over again, Jesus.

At first hearing that name jolted him with the same force as the headlights that had come head-on in his direction, cutting through the fog like a hateful knife. He’d managed to swerve away from impact, his tires eating through the grass that lay just off the road.

Then he saw her, really, it was her coat that coat his attention, peaking out like a beacon just a few yards ahead of him. He wasn’t one to usually pick up a stranger. He left that job to Uber, but something about her seemed . . . safe, comforting after his heart tried to launch itself through the top of his head.

At first, she was silent. She’d said her thank you’s and then smiled warmly. As soon as they’d made it a little less than a mile up the road she started talking. She’d questioned him really, asked where he was from, where he was going, why he was alone.

None of it was her business. The questions actually caused familiar flames to lick up the walls of his belly. He didn’t want to think about where he was from. He had no intention of ever going back there. There was nothing left for him after Danielle filed for divorce. The irony was she was the guilty one. And yes he was livid, more so, he was bleeding inside, cut off at the knees by her confession but he still wanted to try and work things out.

Twenty years was nothing to just toss away, not without trying. They married straight out of highschool. Their roots were too deep to just yank up. Something had to be salvageable. Still, she would accept his forgiveness. That hurt him even worse. There he was giving her his heart again even after she’d torn it out and she refused to take it for guilt. It didn’t make sense to him.

Where was he going, the passenger had asked. He wanted to ask her the same question but couldn’t for the simple fact that he was stunned by his own lack of an answer. He had no idea where he was going. He was just driving, driving away from the hurt and the darkness.

Why he was alone seemed obvious, at least to him. He jokingly told her that he only had one seat open and clearly it was meant for her. That was when she started talking about Jesus, she even said he had made a way for her to get a ride, that they were meant to meet.

He politely smiled at each mention of the name Jesus and her gentle telling of his love and grace. He’d always found it too hard for him to wrap his mind around, that the God of all Creation would be so loving and forgiving that even when man had wronged him, created a debt that needed to be paid but could not pay himself, that this same God would become man to pay that very debt because he loved his creation so and he just wanted the pleasure of being loved back.

If all that were true, then he was guilty of that debt. He’d surely messed up enough in his life, he should have died for his own sins. How could he look God in the face and just accept such a sacrifice on his behalf when he didn’t deserve it? The thought made his chest ache, it always did.

After walking with the stranger for three hours he finally stopped and asked her, dropping all of his politeness, spurred on by the sudden parallel that he was seeing in his own unwillingness to accept Jesus and Danielle’s unwillingness to accept him.

“It’s not fair,” he tried to shout but his voice came out with a cracking whisper similar to that of a boy approaching manhood.

“No, but that is why it is love. That is why it is grace.”

She spoke to him some more about grace, the light began to fade and with it went his former denials. He loved Danielle, maybe not like Christ loved him but he wanted to try.

“Will you let him teach you?” the young woman asked, her expression hopeful.

Trembling from the cold or the anticipation of knowing for himself, standing there, in the darkening woods, with fog growing heavier, tears streaming his face, and his broken heart bleeding, he finally said yes.

In an instant, he felt more pain, sharper and deeper than he ever had before. Panic gripped him until he struggled to breath. He fell to his knees. Her arms lead him downward until he was laying on his back, her breath whispering words of peace to him.

“It will be alright,” she said. “You are going to be just fine. Trust Him.”

“Jesus, help me,” he heard the words slipping from his lips even as the noise of the sirens made his ears burn.

-“We’ve got a pulse! He’s back with us and he’s speaking! Sir? Sir? My name is Jennifer and this is officer Healy. You’ve been in a head-on collision. But you are going to be just fine sir, just fine.”

THE BEGINNING

*Wow, so this went in a direction I had not anticipated but that is the fun of creative writing prompts. If you would like to see the original prompt with links to the image and rules to participate see, Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt May 1st, 2017. 

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Plan Big!: A Word of Creative Encouragement #MotivationMonday

When God is your partner, make your plans big!” ~ D.L Moody

Plan BIG!

You’d think that that exhortation would make every person who heard it celebrate with a motivated fire for action when in reality it makes a lot of people shrink back in fear and hide under the heavy blankets of safety and mediocrity.

Dreaming is not so much of an issue for most of us. But dreaming big . . . well, that has the power to not only knock the wind out of many of our sails but sink our boats completely.

Like me, I suppose you are wondering why that is. If we are honest with ourselves we would have to admit that insecurity and the scrutiny of others is what holds us back. The old ‘what will people think?’ phrase acts as the perfect glitch in our plans of action.

The very thought of failing in front of others, especially those who’ve minimalized our former dreams with the constant song of ‘you can’t,’ strikes us immobile. Them witnessing our former failed attempts doesn’t help either.

But is any of that really a reason to shrink our globally-sized visions down to something that only fills a shoebox? Are our past ‘failures’ really messages that we are not able to achieve the impossible?

I dare say NO!

If nothing else our past ‘failures’ are signs that we are indeed able to succeed? Why? Because even when we aimed for the moon and didn’t even leave the atmosphere, we still have the gumption to load up for another shot.

We are indeed meant to plan big, and along with that, we must rest in faith that every seeming malfunction has a glorious function for our good. We learn from every step we take. We are strengthened by every closed door. We can actually become better with ever affront against our determination.

Isaiah 54:2-4 says, “Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations, And make the desolate cities inhabited. “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.”

Dreaming BIG is a gift, a costly gift. It means we will have seasons and moments when we look foolish. It will require us to cast out our nets just one more time in faith even though we’ve been fishing all night and caught nothing. (Luke 5:3-7) But when Yeshua Jesus is directing our casting even when the progress looks minimal the process is optimal and so is the final outcome if we stick with it.

What we must realize is that the God of all Creation has big dreams and plans for each of us. When we trust Him as our Father we are then positioned by faith to prosper. (Jeremiah 29:11)  His thoughts for us are all GOOD and PRECIOUS  and they outnumber the stars and the sand (Psalm 139:17-18).

But part of seeing these dreams come to pass rest in our willingness to dream big, plan even bigger and allow the Giver of Dreams Himself to guide us on the journey. (John 15:5) “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

There is nothing that is too big for Yeshua Jesus to do and when He is our partner there is NOTHING we cannot do! (Philippians 4:13)  But it requires us to believe in and on Him, and take great leaps of faith.

But then, that’s all it takes.

So dream, plan and do it BIG! He’s got your back.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*Revised from June 2016