This One Thing: Faith for Creatives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Revised from November 18, 2015

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

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Dreams Don’t Expire: Creative Motivation

Dreams don’t have an expiration date.” ~ Jesse Duplantis

As long as there is still breath in your lungs and life in your heart, there is still time for you to achieve your dream. Dreams are seeds, and with all things born of seeds, they have their season to grow.

The word of God says it like this,

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” ~ECCLESIASTES 3:1 KJV (See vs 1-8)

Maybe your dream has not yet come into its season. DON’T. GIVE. UP! There is still time. Maybe you are someone who has invested many years, along with tears, into a vision that seems to remain fruitless or blurred. Again I say, don’t give up.

If you know in the center of your being that what you are aiming to do is from God, and screams to be birthed, no matter the obstacles or the detours, keep holding out in faith and keep cultivating what is inside of you.

Joseph had many dreams to become a ruler, but it took seventeen years of sorrow and trials before he had developed the character to reign over Egypt.  (GENESIS 37-44)

Even Moses had to spend some time in the wilderness–forty years to be exact–before he was able to truly take up the mantle of deliverer of the Children of Israel from Egyptian bondage.

Abraham, the Father of our Faith, had to weight twenty-five years before the child of promise, Isaac, was conceived from the barren womb of his wife Sarah.

All of these people of faith had to operate in faith, no matter the challenges before they received what they dreamed of in their spirits.

So do we.

The truth is that dreams don’t expire, but people can sometimes in the midst of a seeming defeat throw them away.

Don’t throw your dreams away. Take whatever steps you can today to prepare for your tomorrow. Little seeds bear great fruit if cultivated with care. Keep the faith and keep pressing. Your season is yet to come!

Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves. ~PSALM 126:5-6 CSB

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

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

Team Up! :How to Achieve Your Dream Pt 3

Teamwork makes the dream work.” ~John C. Maxwell

Everything God created was created to be most fruitful when it is connected with another. Why? Because there is such beauty and satisfaction to be had when triumph and victory are born from cooperation.

When a man takes a wife, children are born. When a bee meets a flower, more flowers, bees, and honey are born as well as food for the world. When seed meets soil and is saturated with rain, new life is produced.

Joy and appreciation from the works and gifts of others bless us with gratitude and the cultivation of a culture of encouragement.

When we, dreamers and visionaries becoming creators, have taken the steps to:

1. Believe: Believe that we can achieve the dream that is inside of us. (See Believe You Can).

2. Simplify: Take your processes one step at a time without over-complicating each move you make. (See Keep it Simple).

… we are on the path to productively multiplying our success which is found in our ability to properly align ourselves to achieve our dreams, by teaming up with others.

3. Team up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 explains this perfectly, stating that there is a greater reward for your labor when you are partnered up with another person or persons.

Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. ~Ecclesiasites 4:9-12

It is wise to have a support group, especially mentors; a system of like-minded visionaries who have been where you are headed or are walking the path alongside you on your way to where you are going.

Having a ‘team’ means there is always someone to encourage you when you fall, keep you warm when the world is cold and harsh, give you guidance when you feel stuck, or to simply tell you the best path to take to avoid hidden pitfalls.

Your team can give you the outer perspective that you will lack at times. They will have the ability to give you the right amount of hard truth married with the perfect amount of grace which is exactly what we all need to get from dream to reality.

When we, people of faith, invite Christ Jesus, the giver of these dreams and visions, to captain the journey along with our team, our efforts are, blessedly, not easily thwarted.

Whenever you decided to take hold of your dream, there is going to be opposition. We need someone or several someones to help us stay the course, shower us with encouragement and cheer us on when we feel as if we can go no further.

We need that person that anoints us with goodness when we need it most. Get yourself a great team, keep things simple, and never cease to believe you can!

Seize your dream. You are already halfway there!

*Originally posted May 22, 2016

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER! 

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

Keep it Simple: How to Achieve Your Dream Part 2

Everything in life should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.” ~Albert Einstein

When it comes to doing anything, especially taking a dream and birthing it into the tangible, keeping things simple is a very crucial admonition to keep in mind.

For most of us, our knee-jerk reaction to anything new is to overthink it. We begin to compare our ‘pearl’ with oyster farms of others who have similar dreams already up and running. We begin to add extra bells and whistles to our end products and we haven’t even actually ‘made’ them yet.

We take precious ideas, born in a moment of genius, and think it from the mustard seed it began as, and transform it into craggy, dark mountains that we feel ill-equipped to climb.

Yes, most dreams, especially those that will involve creative income, do come with seeming miles of information that needs to be learned. All of it is important, but none of it is necessary at the very beginning of the dream.

What is important is to take the first step.

With whatever we aim to do, whatever we have taken the step to believe to do, we must remember to keep it simple. It is so easy to overcomplicate things and make what should have been an enjoyable task or journey something loathsome.

But at the same time, as we are keeping things simple by not overcomplicating them, we need to remember NOT to make them simpler.

To me, this means to not dumb down our dreams to the point that they have transformed into cheap counterfeits of our original visions. Don’t cut necessary corners of the process in order to catch up with the so-called competition.

Simple means, again, to be uncomplicated. Choose to Believe without all the complication.

You don’t have to have all the answers yet. Let your seed be a seed, then a sapling, and then tend it until it grows into a tree. Step by step. Worry about ‘racking the leaves’ the moment your tree is big enough to produce some shade.

Keep it simple. Allow your dream to grow in stages. Each step counts. Things only get complicated when you try to leap over more than one step at a time.

Simply write your first draft, create your preliminary sketch, sing your song until the notes come naturally, build your business by creating a starter plan, live your life…simply.

Our dreams are developed by means of a process. There are steps to climb but we do best taking one step at a time. Simple.

* For Part 1 of this series, see Believe You Can: How to Achieve your Dream Part 1

*Originally published May 15, 2017.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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!

Letting Go: How I Learned to Step Into My Dreams

Perfection has a price, but I cannot afford to live that life. It always ends the same; a fight I never win. Oh control. It’s time, time to let you go.” -JJ Heller

A few years back, on my birthday, I woke up after having an incredible dream. The dream was prophetic for my personal future. It hit straight to the core of some inner struggles I had been having. It gave me a greater hope for the future that I am now living.

For several years I had felt like I had fallen into a dark well or a completely lifeless creative downward spiral. Sure, I had been making art, commissions, and though I was pleased with the outcome of each, I have to say they were indeed lifeless … to me.

I was so detached from these paintings that I didn’t even really bother archiving them for my own portfolio. That says something. It says a lot.  My writing was like swimming through mud.

I had gone on a rampage to control everything in my life that I could. My art was controlled. There could be no mistakes in it, which meant I hardly ever created anything. My writing had to be flawless. And because it wasn’t, because I couldn’t really control it, I began to grow duller.

Spiritually, I felt like I had been traversing a craggy wasteland, always walking forward in the direction of the sun (Son), waiting for this storm of torrential rains and floods to come, but I was always waiting, always walking, and there was never a drop of rain in sight nor a cloud in the sky.

I began to grow used to the desert, both the spiritual and the creative. Oddly enough, my inner spirit man never really felt like it was in a drought, just thirsty, content, but never satisfied. No matter how much I fought to be satisfied.

As years passed in my reality, circumstances not changing, my hope for a better future, for the flood rains in my creative life and spiritual life to come, became like an old plane ticket in my hand. It had no expiration date, but neither did it have a date of departure, and so I ceased looking for one.

I was a desert-wanderer. This was my reality. But on my 31st birthday, waking up from that hope-reviving dream, remembering other dreams that partnered with it, I began to smell the scent of rain in the air again. A change was coming and it was right on the horizon. Christ Jesus even led me to a verse in the Scriptures to solidify this newly revived hope and expectation.

Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing what is new, let it now spring forth. Do you not know it? I am even making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Now, for several years I had been having a connected series of dreams about living in a trash bag tent in the desert amongst many others who were fearful of a coming flood.  So when I read this verse, and the images of those old dreams of my desert lands being flooded out with enough water to fill the oceans,  I knew it was a Word of life for me from Him.

This, however, is where faith gets tricky. People of faith LOVE a word about CHANGE and BREAKTHROUGH, but they never take into consideration what CHANGE and BREAKTHROUGH really mean.

Simple analogy, think of how a child who has come to the end of his or her stay within the womb feels when they are are BREAKING THROUGH to their new place. It is not a comfortable transition.  The very fluid they had been thriving on for nine months is squeezed out of them as they pass through from one existence to the other.

Isaiah 43:19 is awesome, but there is a verse that comes before it. This verse was the training breakthrough verse from me.

Isaiah 43:18 Do not remember the former, nor consider that of old.”

STEP 1: Confront your past disappointments.

In order for me to move forward out of my desert, I had to forget the things that were behind. I had a lot of disappointments and false starts,  a lot of heartaches, a lot of wounds, and all of those things not only blocked my creativity but stifled me spiritually and emotionally.

Art doesn’t thrive in a box. Creativity is organic and grows how it grows.

I was in agreement with ‘forgetting’ all of those things. I had buried them for a reason, but I had not healed from them. I was still carrying them with me, and the load was rotting lot gangrene and affecting every creative part of me.

I began to think I was a failure because I could not make myself forget these things that Christ Jesus had let out of the bag. I cried. I didn’t understand until He gently and lovingly told me a simple truth.

In order to forget what is behind, you have to confront it, heal from it, so that it never has power over you again.

You know what it is like when a clogged pipe has been treated and all that grime comes out before the clear water flows? That is what had been taking place with me ever since. I began to allow my pains to be redeemed, and I am talking about those old pains, the-school-bully-that-scared-you-when-you-were-nine kind of pains.

STEP 2: Embrace your unique path and timing.

Then there were the pains of not feeling good enough and trying to achieve those superficial plateaus that society has put in place, but failing every time. And why was I failing? Because these things are not part of His design or rather they were not part of His design for my life back then. Striving for those things (marriage, children, nest, 9 to 5 job … not really on the 9 to 5) at the WRONG time was creative suicide.

Because of my wounds, the ones that were sneaking up on me even though I had pressed them down, I had gone on a rampage to control everything in my life that I could. My art was controlled. There could be no mistakes in it, which meant I hardly ever created anything. My writing had to be flawless. And because it wasn’t, because I couldn’t really control it, I began to grow duller.

STEP 3: Divorce yourself from perfectionism.

Art doesn’t thrive in a box. Creativity is organic and grows how it grows. I was trying to control all of these things because I could not control the pain that I refused to confront. But now I know better. I was blessed with the chance to journey far away from home, away from the familiar noise and get a glimpse of the creative woman I once was and am in the process of becoming.

I leave you to take another listen to the song that makes my heart dance. It’s one of my anthems. It comes from the “When I’m with You.” Album by JJ Heller. The song is called “Control.” I have let go of the control now. I have ceased to clip my own wings out of fear and the need to control something, anything, just to feel secure.

I gave Jesus permission to heal my hidden hurts and to draw out the creativity that had been backed up.

BONUS: LET GO OF THE NEED TO CONTROL!

I gave up control and I am getting to know me again and you don’t need control for that. It’s actually best to let it go.

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • What steps have you taken to walk into your creative dreams?
  • What were some things that were holding you back?
  • 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.

~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!