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

Advertisements

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

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

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! 

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

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

Faithfully Creative: Faith Filled Encouragement for Creatives

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. ~HEBREWS 11:1-2

Faith. It is the key component to being creative and walking in the gift of creativity.

When a singer opens her mouth to sing, she operates in faith that she will hit those soaring notes. When a painter applies paint to a canvas and manipulates the brush to form curves and strokes that will show the face of a man, it is done by faith. When a writer sets his fingers to the keyboard with the intention of weaving a story with words, it is done by faith.

Like a car needs fuel to drive, like a lamp needs electricity to provide light, so to do we need faith to achieve the fullness of our creativity.

The beauty of faith is that it is a gift, authored by our God, Father, and Creator, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that He is the author and finisher of our faith.

Anything the Lord does, He does perfectly and fully, exceedingly and abundantly, above all that we can think or ask (Ephesians 3:20-21.)

What this means is that we can have faith in the very faith that He has endowed us to create what He has placed upon our hearts to create. He has penned faith, perfect for you and your season and mission.

If you have a business in mind to start, if you want to begin a ministry, if you want to start a family, create in faith!

You have more than what you need to do so.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion