The Call to Create: Taking the Steps to Walk in Your Vision

I had the pleasure last month of seeing a meme on social media that said something like, “My 2018 begins in February. January was just the free-trial month.” I, like you, I am sure, smiled at the sentiment.

No, we don’t really get to have free-trial periods for our civil new years, but we do get to take some time to plan out what we want to see in the months to come.

For many around me, January came with a punch that was comparable to galeforce winds. Many had continuous battles with sicknesses passed from family member to family member as if they were sharing trading cards. Some felt defeated by the reminder of failed goals that seemed to follow behind them like cans tied to their legs with strings. Many felt overwhelmed and disappointed that the ringing of the midnight bell did not wipe away the heavy demands that were still weighing on them from the year past.

Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

But one thing remained the same through the smoke, and that was the desire for change.

I believe that all of us are aching to create, to do something that makes our soul sing and shine like the sun with a glow and warmth all its own. I believe every person reading this, has a dream that is worth pursuing, no matter how big or small.

We are all created in the image of the Master Creator, Jesus (Genesis 1:27). Our need to see something born from our imaginations is embedded deep within our spiritual DNA and roles and kicks inside of us like a baby eager to break forth from their mother’s womb.

Many of us have dared, in the past, to take steps to bring life to our dreams, only to lose momentum along the way, direction, or focus. Life’s demands have acted as roadblocks diverting our creative flow into the drudgery of the mundane. We stop creating. We stop dreaming. We stop living our identities.

But the glory is, we can begin again.

My prayer for this 2018 year is for each and every one of us to dig our toes in the soil of purpose and let them take root. I pray that this year is the start of a not another 365-day calendar of empty plans and vague goals, but that it will be the catalyst to bring real creative and life change for you.

YOUR CREATIVE TOOLKIT 

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“Get yourself a journal!” I know. I know. It almost seems like a ‘fad’ similar to the unicorn trend that is overtaking just about every industry out there. But I promise this is a powerful tool.

Why do you need a journal? For several reasons:

  1. Keep track of your ideas: There is nothing like capturing a creative moment as it comes and there is nothing like paper… but an electronic journal like EVERNOTE works well too. The point is, our brains can only hold so much content without things becoming a tangled mess. If you want to see progress, you need to make sense of your creative chaos and a journal will help with that.
  2. Keep track of your progress and take note of changes that need to be made: Vision is indeed 20/20 in hindsight. Being able to look back on your progress and see what works for you and what doesn’t will help you build the creative momentum you need to keep pursuing your dream.
  3. Put into word and prayer how you are feeling as you go: I get it. This feels personal. Well, it is. Being a creative is personal. It is more than just writing a story or composing a song or even baking cookies that are so good they cause riots! What drives you to do these things is born of something personal to you. In order to wield that power to its fullest, you’ve got to get to know it. Pray on it. Meditate on it. Put it into words.

“Get yourself a planner!” 

Organization is paramount to successfully executing a goal.  No one goes on vacation without having a plan of action first. Even being creative requires that.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER AS YOU CREATE

Over the next few weeks, I want to dig deep and tackle some questions that I’ve faced in my creative journey. I invite you to consider them and dare I say, journal about them.

  • Can I be me? Can I be original and authentically me as a creative?
  • Can I do ‘it’ my way?
  • Can I make mistakes and still be confident as I create?
  • Can I learn as I go/Am I teachable?

No matter how your 2018 began, there is still so much, not only left to the year, but left to our lives. Every day, every step is an adventure waiting to happen. Let’s step out together!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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The Beauty of Blinders: Taking Sight of Your Own Creativity #CreativeEncouragement #Creativity #Individuality

BLINDERS:

  1. something that obscures vision: something that prevents clear vision or understanding
  2. eye covers for horse: a pair of flaps attached to a horse’s bridle, one beside each eye, to keep the horse looking straight ahead.Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In terms of art and creativity, the first definition of the word for Blinders is very negative. Art, after all, is about giving vision and making the obscure more understandable.

But as an artist and as creative people, there are times where Blinders are a necessary tool that we should employ within our journeys.

Real art is not about competition it is about the newness of authenticity. Authentic creativity speaks not only for the artist, but to the artist as well as the audience, and comes from a place within.

Blinders that cover our eyes from distractions, things that keep us from our vision, and looking ahead, staying on the path, are very beautiful and worthwhile.

When you start creating, developing your motion, the thing that you do not want to do is to think, “How can I be different from the person next to me?” When you start your creative process with that mindset being your base or foundation, (and many of us have) you keep yourself from tapping into your true creativity.

What you are essentially doing is looking ‘outwardly’ at what the person next to you is doing, and you are taking what they have created, and have made that your foundation or base. You are putting icing on an already iced cake.

Your individuality begins from within it doesn’t take root from without…”

Digression. Spring-boarding off of the work of others, using their vision as a tool or muse, is one thing. It’s a means of learning. This is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about creative competition and anxiety which is the knife that cuts the throat of many of fantastically creative people.

People who run their creative race with the eyes on the competition never reach their fullest potential. They begin the race with a goal in mind and never reach the finish line because their eyes stayed on the ‘horse’ in the other lane. Ultimately, they ended up crashing and burning, trying to be like the one next to them but never becoming the best expression of themselves.

Real art is not about competition it is about the newness of authenticity. Authentic creativity speaks not only for the artist, but to the artist as well as the audience, and comes from a place within.

When you look ‘inwardly,’ which is a revelation (even if someone else’s work has led you to do so) and you get a new creative revelation that is authentic that speaks from the core of who you are, then at that point you can really  begin to glean from the creative wisdom of others.

From there you can take aspects and concepts of what others have created and from there say, “How can I use this expression and make it my own?” while still holding on to your own individuality.

You create your own lane and forge a new path of inspiration.

Your individuality begins from within, it doesn’t take root from without…if that makes sense. It requires taking an introspective glance into the dark places deep within ourselves and learning our own true voice and song.

Many do not dare dive that deep for fear of what they will find.

We as creatives shouldn’t look around and think “How can I be different?” Instead ask yourself “How can I continue to be me, learn who I am as an artist,  and continue to climb each rung of this ladder of creative enlightenment. How can I rise higher by getting a hand up by other artists and creatives by gleaning the wisdom that they have already produced?”

I hope my words were understood and have given a bit of encouragement to help you soar even higher.

Thanks for reading! And keep it Creative!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Plan Big!: A Word of Creative Encouragement #MotivationMonday

When God is your partner, make your plans big!” ~ D.L Moody

Plan BIG!

You’d think that that exhortation would make every person who heard it celebrate with a motivated fire for action when in reality it makes a lot of people shrink back in fear and hide under the heavy blankets of safety and mediocrity.

Dreaming is not so much of an issue for most of us. But dreaming big . . . well, that has the power to not only knock the wind out of many of our sails but sink our boats completely.

Like me, I suppose you are wondering why that is. If we are honest with ourselves we would have to admit that insecurity and the scrutiny of others is what holds us back. The old ‘what will people think?’ phrase acts as the perfect glitch in our plans of action.

The very thought of failing in front of others, especially those who’ve minimalized our former dreams with the constant song of ‘you can’t,’ strikes us immobile. Them witnessing our former failed attempts doesn’t help either.

But is any of that really a reason to shrink our globally-sized visions down to something that only fills a shoebox? Are our past ‘failures’ really messages that we are not able to achieve the impossible?

I dare say NO!

If nothing else our past ‘failures’ are signs that we are indeed able to succeed? Why? Because even when we aimed for the moon and didn’t even leave the atmosphere, we still have the gumption to load up for another shot.

We are indeed meant to plan big, and along with that, we must rest in faith that every seeming malfunction has a glorious function for our good. We learn from every step we take. We are strengthened by every closed door. We can actually become better with ever affront against our determination.

Isaiah 54:2-4 says, “Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations, And make the desolate cities inhabited. “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.”

Dreaming BIG is a gift, a costly gift. It means we will have seasons and moments when we look foolish. It will require us to cast out our nets just one more time in faith even though we’ve been fishing all night and caught nothing. (Luke 5:3-7) But when Yeshua Jesus is directing our casting even when the progress looks minimal the process is optimal and so is the final outcome if we stick with it.

What we must realize is that the God of all Creation has big dreams and plans for each of us. When we trust Him as our Father we are then positioned by faith to prosper. (Jeremiah 29:11)  His thoughts for us are all GOOD and PRECIOUS  and they outnumber the stars and the sand (Psalm 139:17-18).

But part of seeing these dreams come to pass rest in our willingness to dream big, plan even bigger and allow the Giver of Dreams Himself to guide us on the journey. (John 15:5) “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

There is nothing that is too big for Yeshua Jesus to do and when He is our partner there is NOTHING we cannot do! (Philippians 4:13)  But it requires us to believe in and on Him, and take great leaps of faith.

But then, that’s all it takes.

So dream, plan and do it BIG! He’s got your back.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*Revised from June 2016

Shifting Paradigm: A Quote

Your success or lack there of, in all things, is contingent upon your perspective and paradigm. Whether you see a vase or two faces mirroring one another, or the glass half empty or half full is up to you. But once you shift into the necessary paradigm, you will see change breaking forth.

~Candice Coates

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