Pausing in the Moment: Faith for Creatives

 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He (Jesus) went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. ~MARK 1:35

Our Savior and God, Jesus Christ, did not just come to the world to save us from our sins, but He also came to give us life to the fullest, and in so doing, be our example for how to live our best life.

As our example, He shows us how to be in the ‘moment’ with others, to be available to their needs, to do our work in delight, but He also shows us when to pause…and to surrender our hearts to Him in quiet seclusion, just as He did with the Father.

Whenever our Savior did this, even with great multitudes at His heels, He was able to return to them empowered, enriched, and able to give of Himself.

Being Creatives, we often struggle with the idea of being still especially when we want to keep going. But we have to realize that ‘burnout’ is real and when there is no rest we forfeit the option of being our very best.

Remember to take the time in your schedule, in your doing, to rest, to pause and allow your mind and spirit to be renewed so that the Father can fill you with greatness for your next step and level.

If the God of all creation made time to be still, then we should joyously, and guiltlessly follow His loving lead!

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

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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

Taking the Scenic Route: Moments of Creative Clarity

“…The race is not given to the swift…” ~Ecclesiastes 9:11

I am, by nature, a person who is all about using every second of every day to my advantage, constantly working out in my mind how to squeeze as much into a moment of productivity as I possibly can.

I like to map things out in order to ensure that I have taken the shortest route but achieved the greatest return. I especially held this way of thinking in the world of my fiction writing.

So when I set out for the third time in my writing career to complete the writing of a novel in thirty days, the first thought, besides what I would write about, was in how many words would I need to produce in a day.

If you do not know, what makes a novel an official novel is the word count. This is the same with Novellas, Short Stories, etcetera. To have a novel, your manuscript must be made up of 50,000 words or more.

Trusting God often means taking the scenic route.

When I sat down on June 1st, 2014, I felt my nerves pinching away at me, screaming for me to make 3,000 words. Why? So that by the end of June I would not only have achieved novel status, but I would be finished the story I was working on in totality.

It sounded like a good plan, great plan if I am honest. But what I have realized is that rushing and counting does not for a strong storyline make. Actually, by focusing more on the word count goal and not the actual creative process, I felt my lines of creativity constricting under the unnecessary pressure I was applying.

Being a person redeemed by the blood of Christ, I often pray, and turn my movements over to Him and rest in His favor as a result. So from the beginning of that writing process, I could hear His voice saying, “Don’t force it. The story will come to you.”

My writing of  Ascension Graveyard (my still current WIP) ended up revealing to me that TRUST is a VERY large part of the creative process, and trusting God often means taking the scenic route.

My rushing was hindering me from allowing this story to truly tell itself. Cutting corners and cramming in masses of words for word’s sake was only making a mess. My rushing toward the goal was getting me nowhere fast.

Since then,  I have slowed down.  Ascension Graveyard has truly taken me on a scenic route, so much so that it is doing more brewing in my imagination than pouring through my fingers onto a keyboard.

I do not have the “desired” word count (yet) but what I do have is a solid plot that I am proud of. I can finally see the characters, get to know them and empathize with them in a way rushing would not have allowed.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because this is what the Creative process is all about. It’s not punching a clock, not compiling data, not reaching a status just so you can say you have one. Rather it is about basking in the picturesque natural beauty of what comes from within when you take your time and create something from your heart.

I have learned that this is indeed true. My art, my writing, is indeed witness to this and I have the Lord Jesus Christ to thank for that.

*Revised from June 2014

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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

Out to Abundance: Faith for Creatives

we went through fire and water, but you brought us out to abundance.” ~PSALM 66:12

Another translation of this portion of scripture says, “We went through the fire and through the water, but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.”

Here is what we as Creatives and People of Faith have to take note of:

THERE IS ‘PROCESS’ BEFORE ‘POSSESSION’.

Before we are able to take hold of and step into the new level that God has for us, we must be prepared for it. Who we are before the process is not who we will be on the other side of it when we take possession of what the Lord has promised and called us to.

Fire. Consider the occurrences of forest fires, not the ones that are caused by human negligence, but those that take place as a part of the circle of creation.

These fires are natural. They may cause great devastation, but, they bring greater enrichment to the ecosystem.

Water. Water, rain, are necessary for the nutrients to be able to get into the soil for the new abundance to spring forth from the newly enriched ground.

Sometimes it seems that we go from one trial straight into another. I will not say that this isn’t a difficult thing to endure, but we can endure it through and with Christ Jesus.

Now this is what the Lord says—the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Israel—“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters,
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you…Because you are precious in my sight and honored, and I love you, I will give people in exchange for you and nations instead of your life. Do not fear, for I am with you…” ~ISAIAH 43:1-2,4-5a CSB

Because the Lord has loved us and has called and created us for a purpose, we can be assured, even as we go through our trials on the way to our possession that:

  1. He will be with us
  2. He will protect us from harm
  3. He will bring us out into abundance
  4. We do not have to be afraid
  5. We are LOVED

Remember, gold without fire is never purified and faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted. Allow the faith within you to be enriched by the process of the fires, sated by the waters, and mature in trusting His word as you receive the abundance that is yours.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

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!