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

 

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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 Being Curious: The Expression of Faith in Creativity pt 2

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. ~Walt Disney

Question. Wonder. Think. Discover. All of these words have one specific thing or root, in common, and that is curiosity.

I don’t know exactly what comes to mind for you when you think of the word, curiosity, but for me, the image of a child appears. Why? Because children have this uncanny, unwavering courage or faith to seek with the expectation to discover.

They have a unique boldness that enables them to try new things in order to arrive at an intended result. As a result, they grow and develop beyond their previous state only to repeat the creative cycle of curiosity again.

Children embody the purity of grace to use their curiosity to be exceptionally creative, and thusly, successful. (I mean, have you seen videos of toddlers using the family dog as a ladder to open the fridge to get snacks? If that isn’t a success, I don’t know what is.)

Challenges in and of themselves, are never roadblocks for children. Instead, they are the catalyst for curiosity. This genesis of curiosity in the face of a problem links itself with incredible faith and transforms into tenacious action and thusly growth.

FAITH FUELED BY CURIOSITY 

A child encounters a ‘problem’. They become curious. They search for solutions using creativity. And then they take action applying that creativity fueled by faith for desired results. They believe (operate in faith) that what they are doing will succeed, will bear fruit.

In Matthew 7:7-8, our Lord Jesus says this, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Emphasis added.)

Ask. Seek. Knock. Recieve.

CREATIVE CYCLE OF CURIOUS FAITH: A LESSON FROM MOSES

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.….So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land.  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”Then Moses and Aaron did so; just as the Lord commanded them, so they did. And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh. ~EXODUS 3:1-10; 7:1-7 NKJV

Here we find the Prophet Moses about his daily business when he sees something curious (the burning bush)  and begins to ask questions and seek out answers (why is the bush burning).

Upon further investigation of what sparked his curiosity, he is directed by God to go forth and do some knocking (tell Pharoah to let the Children of Israel go) and thusly receive what he requested, which was what God had promised Abraham over 400 years prior to that moment (GENESIS 15:13-15.)

As a result of this cycle, Moses, and a great multitude of people, not to mention those of Egypt experience divine change. Moses is elevated, the Children of Israel are liberated, and the Egyptians receive revelation, that there is no God but the God of Israel, all because of on curious moment and a question about a burning bush.

ASK

As creatives and people of faith, we have to embody the childlike confidence and boldness to ask questions and continuously operate in our curiosity. We have to have the courage to face the problems or obstacles that we encounter.

You’ve heard the proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Necessity suggests there is a need or a problem that needs solving. We generally see necessity when we take the time to be curious about what is in front of us.

What is the need or problem that you are facing? It could be something as simple as trying to find a better way to sweep dust into your dustpan without dust-bunnies clinging to the broom bristles. (I hate that!) Maybe you’ve dreamed up a few ideas for a solution, but what do you do next? You seek creative ways to use them.

SEEK

Look for ways to make those visions and ideas a reality. Research what others have tried, learn from those who’ve gone before you. Ask those you know what they think about the ‘problem’ at hand. Search out wisdom. Pray for wisdom (JAMES 1:5).

KNOCK

Put your findings into creative action. Faith takes steps. Faith is a verb.

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” ~JAMES 2:18

A good idea is great on paper but it is even better in reality. In order for your creative idea to become a reality, it must be accomplished through faith. You won’t move without it.

RECEIVE 

If I have learned nothing else in my walk with Christ, it is that He often shows me problems because He also wants to give me the solutions. I just have to be willing and curious enough to seek Him and search out the answers.

Moses had to do the same.

Your act of curious knocking may not get the ‘door’ to your solution to open on the first try. It may not even get the door to open on the first seventeen tries, but if the Lord has led you to the door, He definitely intends for it to be opened.

Consider that there is a greater glory connected to the multiple attempts to solving your creative problem. The Lord pretty much told Moses this very thing, warning him that even though He was sending Moses to Pharaoh, and that he would let the Children of Israel go, there was going to require several encounters with the man before the deed was actually done, and all for glory. (EXODUS 7:1-7)

But in the end, the door would be opened and the promise would be received. This promise holds true for you and me today.

Keep holding onto your faith, and keep your eyes fixed with curiosity. You may be one burning bush away from something spectacularly creative!

*How has curiosity played a role in your creativity as well as your faith? Talk about it in the comments below.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

A Heart Filled: Faith for Creatives

You have filled my heart with great joy…” ~PSALM 4:7

To put our trusting faith in the Lord, not only for salvation but as an act of creative worship, is not only one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves but it is a great gift that we can give to our Heavenly Father.

Creative worship is the greatest way to say, “Father, I trust you with who I am in you, and the plan you have authored for me.”

Faith is the root of our covenant with Him. Faith is what creates in us clean hearts and blesses us to be His righteousness (2 CORINTHIANS 5:21).

Faith is what makes us a blessing to our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is faith that so pleases His heart.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. ~HEBREWS 11:6

Psalm 4 beautifully highlights the dance between our trusting in the Lord, and how it brings the greatest delight to our own hearts and His.

Verses three and seven capture the essence of it like this, “But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The Lord will hear when I call to Him…You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.

When we are confident in the Lord, when we rest in our faith, we are blessed with such an exceeding joy that it shines through the thickest darkness and outweighs any material gain or fulfilled need we could have.

Being a creative is faith in action. Resting in confidence that He is with you and hears you, delights Him and fills you. I can’t say it enough! And when your heart is full, you are able to overflow with joyful creativity.

Are you resting in faith that He is with you as you go along life and your creative journey? If not, there is no greater day than today to begin.

(READ PSALM 4)

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

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.

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