Courage Through Peace: Faith for Creatives

And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.…” ~MATTHEW 18:2-4

Often times in our lives, no matter our age, no matter our victories or triumphs, we find ourselves in a place of uncertainty. Forces in the atmosphere have a way of coming at us out of nowhere, with the sole design to catch us off guard and to knock us off our axis.

I thank Christ Jesus for His Word, that He instructs us to have child-like faith because as His child I have no need of shame when I come to Him for affirmation. A child, no matter their age, is always welcome into their Father’s arms. And it is in those instances when we lift our hands to Him and allow Him to draw us up into the safety of His arms that our courage renews.

We come to Him as children, rest in the gentleness of the Lamb, and are empowered by the Lion of Judah. For in our weakness HE is strong in Power. (II Corinthians 12:9)

I can’t tell you how beautiful it is to find courage through His peace. That is something that you have to experience all on your own.

Be encouraged, no matter what. The Great I AM is HERE and He loves you! If you feel troubled, if you have lost your peace, let Him be I AM.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

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Success is in Your Hands: Faith for Creatives

And they overcame him [the evil one] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…” ~Revelation 12:11 *Bracets added

The scripture says we overcome by the word of our testimony. When it comes to being successful when it comes to victory, one of the greatest ways to secure this is to tell it, not only for the encouragement of others but to remind yourself when you begin to face other trials.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. ~PSALM 37:4-5

Success and victory go hand and hand. Both are a mark of triumphing over an obstacle or challenge or in the case of this scripture the enemy of our very lives and souls, Satan.

Here is my testimony that I share as a seed of faith for you. In 2015 I was laden with change; change in calling, change in career path, change in vision, change in relationships. Every change brought me to a new level of faith and deeper love for Christ Jesus.

He has always been sweet and perfect, kind and faithful, but it was and is as I overcome and begin to trust His character more that I am able to see and relate to Him in this sweetness.

One of my biggest struggles is in dealing with provision. I have never really lacked for anything BUT I had trained myself to work for everything, leaving very little room for God to show Himself faithful in providing for me.

Even though I am confident of His love for me, I have struggled with the question of will He meet my daily needs.

I have grown much in this area.

Matthew 6:24-30 Jesus expresses His great love for us, instructing us not to worry about our daily needs but to seek first His Kingdom and its righteousness and all our daily needs will be met. He knows we have need of them, but it takes faith in Him, faith in His character to allow Him to prove Himself here.

And what is His Kingdom? As Romans 14:17 states, “ for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Basically and gloriously, to seek His Kingdom is to continuously agree with His word that you are no longer a sinner but a new creation in Him, His Righteousness by faith and then taking hold of peace, and joy that is found in His Holy Spirit now indwelling you.

So in light of my changes in 2015 and beyond, I have started several new business ventures, one of them being transforming ICFTS into a platform that is more a community. The blessing is that as I take steps in faith (and even before I began) I heard and continue to hear Him say, “You’ll have everything you need.”

Hearing is one thing, believing and putting your faith in what you have heard is another. I decided to put my faith in what I heard and did not question Him.

Psalm 37:4-5 Also delight yourself in the LORD, and HE will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD. Trust also in Him…”

But as a test of my growing faith, while I was in the midst of getting a commissioned art piece finished, I reached for my trusty bottle of varnish only to find that it had dried into a lump!

This was not good being that the holidays were right around the corner and I had very limited time. Instead of accusing the Savior, I testified with MY WORDS, reminding myself through faith what HE had said, that I would have everything that I needed. (PSALM 103:20)

Later that day, cleaning up for the day of work and organizing some of my other tools, I came across a can of spray varnish that I had only used once!

I immediately did a happy dance, not because of the can, but because my faith had increased and I had abided in the faithfulness of His Word and received the fruit of faith!

I have learned to trust Him more. I am learning to rest and trust Him more with confidence because I am HIS righteousness and in this, I have joy and peace! I was victorious in my trial then and have been in many since then. I gained success! And the greatest success is found in walking with Him and holding to His hand!

*Revised from November 6, 2015. 

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

The Rooted & Grounded: Faith For Creatives

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ~EPHESIANS 3:14-21 CSB

Paul’s prayer for the Body of Christ to be rooted and grounded in the love our Savior has for us is so powerful. Many times we make light of, not only the Grace of God but His love. We tend to take the worldview of what love is, and what love truly means, and thusly, miss the glory and power that comes from love Himself.

Love is the very Person of God (I JOHN 4:7-8), not a fleeting feeling that comes and goes, for we know that Christ has assured us that He will never leave nor forsake us (HEBREWS 13:5) but will be with us for all eternity.

But even when we have accepted Christ into our hearts, there is still the process of His seeds of love not only taking root in us but growing to the point that we are filled with the very fullness of God.

Love, knowing that we are fully, completely, unapologetically, unrepentantly, unconditionally loved by Christ Jesus, is the root and cornerstone of our growth, power, and passion in Him.

It is through the knowledge of the depth of this love that we are able to live with confidence and courage, no matter our mistakes, stumbles, or fails. It is through this knowledge that we are able to do as our Lord commanded and love others.

When we know we are loved perfectly by Him, we rest in our identity of being His righteousness by faith, free from and forgiven of sin, past, present, and future. It is here that we grow into a posture where we are no longer sin-conscious, thusly we are able to shed the fear of punishment that pushes us into condemnation. (Romans 8:1, I JOHN 4:15-18)

Where there is no condemnation, there is freedom, freedom to grow, freedom to walk in liberty and freedom to liberate others with the Good News! (II Timothy 1:7)

Oh, what glory and depth of faith that comes from this place! It is here that we can pray with confidence expecting the “above and beyond what we could ask or imagine” from Him that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 3:20-21.

But to get to the truth of verses 20 and 21 we have got to be rooted in this incredible love that is spoken of in verses 14-19. It takes the knowledge of, and resting in, as well as trusting of His unwavering love for us to be able to believe that not only is His power working in us, that He is able to do exceeding and abundant great things, but that He will do these things for you because HE LOVES YOU!

Be rooted in His love. Trust that He has already given you His greatest gift which was Himself offered upon the cross, knowing that because He has given you His best, He most certainly will not withhold the rest (Romans 8:28-37).

That is love! Take rest and take root!

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

See the Glory: Faith For Creatives

Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” ~JOHN 11:40 CSB

Sometimes in life, many times in life, we find ourselves facing challenges and circumstances that cause us to grapple with our faith. Our confidence seems to wane and despite how many times we’ve heard the scripture say, ‘faint not,’ we find ourselves doing just that.

In John chapter 11, we find Jesus having a conversation with Martha, the sister of Lazarus. Lazarus has been dead for four days and even though Jesus had been informed of his sickness with the hopes that the Messiah would come and heal him, Jesus allowed His friend to die.

We do not have to guess how Mary and Martha felt about these events. They were distraught. They mourned. They were angry, and yet…they still had hope that the God of creation could do something.

You see, when they sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, they had hope and faith that He would show up, and like He had done for others, heal their brother. But He didn’t. He chose to let His friend die, and his sisters to stand in what seemed to be crumbling faith, steps that had been taken to no avail.

Have you ever felt like you stood in Mary and Martha’s shoes? I know I have. But I have also stood on the other side of the tomb watching the glory of God unfold as what I thought was dead and down for the count, rises with greater glory than I could have ever imagined. That seeming weed was actually a seed for greater wonder!

Friends, our faith and faith steps requires not only a trust in our God but a trust in His love for us, a trust that no matter what things look like, if we have followed His lead and have belief in Him, He will not fail us nor forsake us.

I don’t know what you may be facing today, but I want to encourage you to continue to believe in His love for you, that as He does ‘new things’ in your life, He is cultivating new faith in you as well, and with that new faith comes new and greater glory.

So take a breath and breathe in His love for you. Walk by your faith and not your sight. Continue to believe despite the odds and know that you will see His glory.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

 

Believe You Can: How to Achieve Your Dream Part 1

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 Christ 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 sadly, others, 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 out of us in the struggle.

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 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 begin 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 imaginative 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!

*Original article posted May 8th, 2017

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

The Audacity of STANDING: Faith for Creatives

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. ~EPHESIANS 6:13 

When we set out on our journey to take steps in faith, to accomplish something that is outside of our comfort zone, we are essentially waging war, not only with our own flesh and fears but with the enemy of our souls.

When we make the decision that, no matter what, no matter how long it takes, no matter the cost, no matter the odds, we will obtain the promise and manifest vision birthed inside of us, it is then that we are operating in audacious and tenacious faith.

Sometimes this faith requires quick forward moving, but often times, it requires committed standing, continuing to ’till the soil’ of our creative venture with faith that we will soon see a harvest.

It is no wonder that in our standing and waiting, we become targets of attack. This is why we are instructed to put on the full armor of God and stand firm.

What I love most about the armor of God is that even when we may not be so secure with our breastplate of righteousness, or we may be missing one of our shoes of gospel and truth, or any other necessary implement of our armor, as long as we have our shield of faith, we are able to quench every dart of attack sent by the enemy. (EPHESIANS 6:11-18 emphasis vs 16) Why? Because a shield covers our entire person. But more than this,  a shield is like His wing, covering us and protecting us.

He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield.” ~PSALM 91:4 CSB

We are blessed to be able to stand because of the love and faithfulness that our God and Savior, has for us. We are indeed secure in His love. And because He loves us, we are able to stand secure, knowing that He is working all things out for our good even as we stand.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

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!

 

The Requirement of Time: Faith Filled Encouragment for Creatives

Anything good will often require a good amount of time.” ~Candice Coates

Scripture: I Samuel 17:24-40 (I encourage you to read I Samuel 17 in entirety.)

In I Samuel 17, we find the Children of Israel in the Valley of Elah, stationed there for forty days in fear. Why? Because the champion of the Philistine army, Goliath, has come to defy them. “Send me your best warrior!” He says. “If he kills me, we will be your servants, but if I kill him, you will be our servants.

Standing nine feet tall and likely weighing near a complete ton, it is understandable why the Israelites would see this giant and camp out in fear. Who could match his strength? Who could possibly bring him down?

No one has the courage to do so…except one–David, the son of Jesse.

Ironically, David was likely no more than seventeen years old and was a trained…shepherd, not a warrior. But he was a master of faith in the God if Israel and the world.

David was also a poet and inventor of new musical instruments, instruments he used to draw closer to the God of creation and grow deeper in his faith. To anyone on the outside looking in, David was the least of likely candidates to defeat the Philistine champion, but he was the only one who was capable.

Why?

David, even as the anointed king of Israel, took his time in the pastures, tending his father’s sheep, protecting them at all cost, and praising God for every victory. I’m sure there must have been moments when David thought, “The Prophet Samuel anointed me King, and here I am still in the pasture…” Where he was, did not look at all like what he was anointed and called to. But once the right amount of time had passed, things quickly changed.

Because of the time he spent in the pasture, he had developed a skill of defense, but better than that, he’d honed a skill of offense. The enemy just didn’t see him coming!

David knew how to use his sling to kill lions and bears and he knew to give God the glory for it. He walked into ever trial trusting the Lord to deliver him because he had spent a great deal of time learning how to do so.

And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,  I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.  Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” ~I SAMUEL 17:33-37 NKJV

He’d thusly developed a discernment to know when to take action. Like with the other predators who sought to make his sheep their prey, he knew that it was time to attack Goliath. Forty days of the enemy’s taunting was long enough!

Still, David encountered resistance even though he was ready and willing to act. His eldest brother rebuked him (vs 28-30) and King Saul tried to discourage him (vs 33). Still, David heeded the tug that was in his heart by the Spirit of God!

He saw, through the eyes of faith and time spent honing skills that seemed ill-suited for the anointed king of Israel, the opportunity he had been preparing for (vs 34-37)!

Here is my encouragement to you. When others don’t see the opportunity, when others discourage you, press forward even still, especially when the Lord God Jesus Christ has prompted and prepared you.

Like David, you must:

RECOGNIZE YOUR MOMENT: David had gone to the battlefield to deliver bread and grain to his brothers, cheese to their captain, in order to deliver a report to their father (vs 17-18). But hearing and seeing Goliath, he recognized an opportunity to be used of God.

REALIZE SOME MOMENTS HAVE AN EXPIRATION DATE: I believe that, just like with Queen Esther who was elevated to the Palace of Persia to deliver the Jewish people for such a time as that, that so too, was David. However, like Mordicah warned Esther, if she didn’t seize the moment, God would raise up another who would (ESTHER 4:13-16).

REMEMBER WHAT THE LORD SAYS AND HAS DONE FOR YOU AND IGNORE THE VOICES OF NEGATIVITY: The Scriptures say, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” (ROMANS 3:4) The Scriptures also ask, “Who shall believe our report. And to who has the Arm of the Lord (Reference to Yeshua Jesus) been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1)

Basically, whose opinion are you going to heed and are you going to forget how many times the Lord has come through for you, how He has proven that He is the Great I Am? Like David, you have to remind yourself of the other times the Lord has brought you to victory and keep pressing forward.

Don’t even let the negative voices be a motivating factor, but let the love of Christ, His glory, His promise, and His passion, be what drives you!

BE PATIENT AS YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR MOMENT: Even though David was, in God’s eyes, the official King of Israel from the moment he was anointed, David still was sent back to the pastures to tend the sheep and tighten up his sling-shot-game, and for good reason. Goliath was no pushover. He also remained humble enough to obey his father and deliver cheese and grain to his brothers, brothers who didn’t even recognize his calling, destiny, or anointing, even though they bore witness to it. (I SAMUEL 16 (vs13))

Sometimes the most hurtful thing is when we pursue the promises and purpose of God in our lives only to find that we have to do so without the support of those closes to us, namely our families. Sadly, this happens.

But be encouraged! You are in good company. David didn’t have family support. Joseph, the son of Jacob, was on his own, and our Savior even was mocked by his younger siblings about His anointing (JOHN 7:1-9)! All of their families eventually came around in the end though, it just took time.

Again I say, anything good will often require a good amount of time.  Be patient and be persistent. It’s going to require your courage through ups and downs and your trust in your Heavenly Father, but we know that because what is before us is good, we are assured that it is worth it. So keep pressing, keep preparing, and until that moment comes, keep waiting!

For my married brothers and sisters who may not have the support of your spouse. Take courage, trust the Lord, and walk in wisdom. If the vision that you have is from God, allow Him to work on your loved one’s heart. But you be of humble heart, like David. Continue to pray. Continue to hope. Continue to believe. And continue to pursue…in time.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

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

“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.