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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Stumbling Through the Process: The Art of Fearless Creativity

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~Thomas A. Edison

Scrolling through Instagram, I happened upon a quote that said something like, “Even when I stumble I am one step closer.”I’m not certain if those are the exact words, but that was the essence of the quote.

What moved me most was the audacity of the words, the blatant courage to stand up with mud on your face, blood on your knees, and raw palms, and still say with absolute grit, that I am closer than I was before, even if I had to fall to get here.

Creativity is much like that. It is ‘that’! It is taking the risks and continuing on, even when our confidence wavers. It is pressing on and being your own cheerleader when those who once celebrated you on the sidelines have grown quiet. It is believing, even when you are the only one left to believe.

You may be the only one that sees the value in the dream within you, but if you continue to guard your seed and care for it, it will grow to a place that others will see its fruit too.

King David of the Bible, was one who had to encourage himself when the odds had turned deathly against him.

To set the picture, he had long since been anointed the King of Israel, but found himself on the run from the ruling king at the time, Saul. Out in the wilderness, surrounded by the ‘rejects’ of society who had joined and championed him, he ended up becoming their target when their wives and children were stolen away. (I Samuel 30)

Obviously, something like this happening is a very big stumbling block, and one that doesn’t just take the wind out of your sails, but could potentially sink your ship altogether.

But the Bible says that, though distressed, David did something different. He encouraged himself in the Lord.

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. ~I Samuel 30:6 NKJV

After having encouraged himself, even amidst the whispers of his failure, he went out, tracked down those who’d stolen the women and children, and recovered all!

What would have happened had David stayed down and not risen up in courage? What would have happened if Thomas Edison, had thrown in the towel, or the Wright brothers? We wouldn’t have welcomed the Savior Yeshua-Jesus, Who is the offspring of David. We also would have been grounded and in the dark had those other fellows given up because their first efforts had failed.

The truth of David’s experience and those of many others rings the same for us today. As we strive to achieve whatever goal or vision that burns within us, we are going to encounter challenges, we are going to make mistakes. But out of those mistakes, be they ten or 10,000, we can still have the audacity to know we are one step closer than we were before.

So, step confidently and stumble fearlessly. You gain strength and character when you get back up!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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!

So You’ve Finished NaNoWriMo…Now What?: Words of Advice & Flash Fiction #Writing #WritingAdvice #MondayMotivation

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Slow Cooked

*Original story posted for Week 54 of Battle of the Blogs in 2016.

Her fingertips feathered the keys of her keyboard, driven by the ache to write something, anything. Words, for that still, silent moment, apart for the whistling of the wind outside her window, seemed to elude her.

She drummed her too-long fingernails against her writing desk and let out a frustrated sigh. She knew what she wanted to say, knew how to fix the mistake that was before her, she just had to muster her patience and allow the words to flow forth in their own time.

Writing from scratch and revisions never came in a microwavable package. The finished product always promised to be good, better than good, but it required the stamina of a crock pot, slow-cooked until the words fell from the pages into the reader’s imagination like succulent meat dripping from their bones.

As if savoring the aroma that wafted from her imagination, she closed her eyes and smiled as the scene played out upon her eyelids. Yes, she had it now. Her fingers, set at the ready, danced across the keyboard with the familiar music that delighted and sped up the beating of her heart into a glorious tattoo.

Like feathers upon the wind, the story floated around her, until the scene was finished, the revisions were done, and the belly of her muse was full as if from a savory meal cooked to perfection.

THE END…BUT NOW WHAT?

Many of you fantastic creatives set out over the month of November to create a literary tome of excellence. You set up your outlines, isolated plot points, and then when the first of the month hit, so too did your fingers hit the keys on your keyboards.

The adventure was fruitful, some days were more exhilarating than others, but still, you managed to reach novel status or at least get pretty close to it.

But now what? Now that NaNoWriMo has come and gone, what are you to do now?

  1. Keep Writing: Just like with the character in the short story above, you have to keep writing your story. If you didn’t reach 50k words in the allotted time that is okay. Every story, every piece of art grows at its own pace. Honor that, but do keep writing.
  2. Acknowledge your first draft for what it is: Novel status achieved or not, there is still worthy work ahead of you. Microwaves are good in the kitchen on an emergency basis, but microwave works of fiction aren’t good anywhere. What I mean is that you still need to ‘work’ your story into perfection even after you write the final words ‘THE END’. That moment is actually the beginning of really turning your WIP into a masterpiece
  3. Give yourself a deadline to finish the first draft: My first go at NaNoWriMo took me a little less than 30 days to hit novel status and 96 days to complete the story as a whole. For me (with many of the stories I’ve written…and like you, need to polish for publication) 90 days is the sweet-spot. There is less pressure to continue with manic writing, but enough of a push to keep you focused.
  4. Give yourself breathing room and time to mentally regroup: I recommend writing until your story is actually finished BUT sometimes, some narratives are so complex that your mind and muse simply need a break. Take a few weeks off if you need to. Either remove yourself from the story completely for a spell, or give yourself distance but allow your mind to gently work through the conflicts that are still ahead.
  5. BONUS ENJOY THE ROAD AHEAD: After completing 30 days of writing, you’ve earned it! Give yourself a pat on the back for coming this far. It was no small thing, but you did it!

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Helen Keller

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Be Brave: A Quote

Promise me you’ll always remember-you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

~Christopher Robin to Pooh

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Being discouraged by circumstances or challenges is easy. It’s deciding to overcome them and be victorious that takes courage and strength. the beauty is, just like with any muscle, whenever their is resistance applied and a push back given in the face of resistance, do we see strength and growth occur. our courage, our hearts, require healthy doses of resistance in order to grow strong. whatever you’ve set your heart to do, be brave in your doing. discouragement can always be turned on its head and be the stepping stone to CATAPULT you to your goal. if the dream is in you, it only means you were meant to see it as a reality. Be Brave and keep creating!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Guard Your Future: A Quote

Stop cheating on your Future with your Past” ~ Pastor Kenny, Associate Pastor of Covenant Church

The phrase sounds simple enough, but it is often the simple things in life that cause people to stumble the most. We all know that it is true.

But then, maybe the quote isn’t that simple. What does it really mean?

To not cheat on your Future with your Past, is to not allow the “baggage” and the “failures” of yesterday-be they your own failures or those of someone else-to keep you from embracing the goodness that is ahead.  Chain

We have all heard the saying (and I paraphrase) “You can’t drive your car through the rear view mirror.” Well trying to do so is the equivalent of allowing your eye to wonder back towards the past instead of being committed to the opportunity of the present future.

If we take this attitude into a romantic relationship, constantly thinking about our old partner, we are destined for failure.

Holding on to yesterday becomes nothing short of a robbing bondage. We lose everything if we don’t let go. We have to divorce yesterday.

We as creative people, are some of the blessed few who have embraced the power of our imaginations, but even we can miss the mark by living in the past.

Shake off the chains of yesteryear and set your mind firmly on the goals ahead. Commit yourself to them and achieve them. So what you failed in your last attempts. Take on the attitude of Thomas Edison (I believe it was he who said this) by embracing the mindset that you have not failed but found another way of doing it wrong.

As the Apostle Paul said-a man responsible for killing man believers in Yeshua before he, himself, became a believer and spread the Gospel of Grace and Truth further than any other:

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3:13-14

Let yesterday go and take firm hold of tomorrow. Do like the rapper Ma$e said, and make it your gospel; Breathe. Stretch. Shake. Let it go!

Cheers!

I came for the soup.dpp widgets