Have you ever felt like your everyday experiences in life aren't lining up with your hopes, dreams, and the promises of God over your life? Many people feel that way, including myself over the years, until I discovered a key in 3rd John 2 that unlocked a Kingdom perspective on prospering for me.
"I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." 3rd John 2 emphasis added
I love how this verse so perfectly defines thriving in the Kingdom. This is the same way that I explain it to my Created to Thrive Mentoring Program members.
This verse begins by showing that prosperity in life and walking in divine health are both part of our inheritance in the Lord. They are both meant to be a regular part of every believer's life.
Over the years, I've found it's easy to believe that God wants to abundantly bless His people with physical health, healing, and wholeness. But the idea that God wants His people to "prosper in all things," financially, in the marketplace, and in life seems to be harder to accept for many people.
In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said this,
31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:31-33 Emphasis Added
Thriving in the Kingdom isn't a matter of working, sweating, figuring it all out on your own, and striving harder than everyone else around you. That's the world's way. That's operating out of the mammon system and John knew this when he first penned the letter that would become 3rd John.
John learned first-hand what Jesus taught on that mount; that true Kingdom prosperity begins when you:
That's normal in the Kingdom of God. God doesn't have favorites. God doesn't make some people sick and some people healthy. He doesn't prosper some and not prosper others just cause He's playing favorites. Nope, prosperity and health are your birthright; it's normal for every believer.
Helping Your Soul to Prosper
Have you ever taken a moment to think about what it means for your soul to prosper? And what does thriving internally have to do with prospering externally?
Everything that we do in the Kingdom is through faith. Meaning we see it, feel it, and believe it first, internally before we ever see those things manifest in our life, externally. That's just how God has set it up. It’s not something God does to us but rather something He does with us through the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
I think that's why Jesus taught us in Mark 11:24, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." You see, prospering in your soul starts with renewing your mind and aligning your heart, will, and emotions with the truth of God's Kingdom. So when you pray, you pray like you already have the thing you’re asking for - from a place of gratitude - rather than begging God for what you need.
As you intentionally sow these Kingdom principles into your life, your thought life and belief systems begin to change. And over time, the internal prospering begins to manifest externally. Maybe that's why Proverbs 23:7 teaches us that "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he."
Ready To Go Deeper
I hope this has been a blessing to you. But if you're ready to dive deep and start experiencing what it means for your soul to prosper, then I want to invite you to a special live online Masterclass I'll be hosting later this month called The Artist Mindset Makeover
This FREE five-day art challenge and Masterclass starts on Monday, April 26th, and is open to anyone ready to thrive in all areas of life. In the Masterclass, you'll learn:
The art challenge + Masterclass is free, but you will have to register to participate in this event.
Once you've registered, you can request access to a private Facebook® group I've created just for the Masterclass so you can start connecting with other participants.
I'll also send you a quick follow-up email with the printable Masterclass Workbook and some practical things you can do now to prepare for this Masterclass that starts on Monday, April 26th.
People reach out and ask me all the time how to make money as an artist. Yep. Many well-meaning artists have asked this question and most believe that it's a single answer, like there's some shortcut or secret ad you can run to make everyone buy your art and make a million dollars.
SPOILER ALERT: There's no silver bullet for learning how to become a successful artist. However, after working as a creative now for over 25 years, speaking to thousands and personally mentoring thousands of artists via my books, podcasts, and online artist mentoring program, I've come to understand some of what it takes to really thrive. I'm going to share some of those insights with you right here.
Since I also believe no one person has the corner on success, I reached out to several of my thriving artists friends who are creating beautiful work and selling the heck out of it all while living an incredible life.
Based on their input and my experience, here's my top 29 tips for taking your artistic calling to the next level so that you can really start thriving in 2021.
As you probably know by now, information doesn't create change. Real change only happens when valuable information meets action and interaction; action on your part and interaction with others on your journey and an experienced mentor. Why, you ask? Most of the time, there are things in your life you just can't see by yourself. For those who are willing, God uses mastermind and mentoring relationships to bring you to the next level of growth.
If you'd like to make this year your breakthrough year and really start thriving as an artist spiritually, artistically and in business, check out my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program and read some of their stories! Thousands of artists just like you have made the decision to be a part and it's changing lives.
Thanks again to all my artist friends who contributed to this list. Each one is creating great work, thriving as a professional artist and a joy to call friend!
The essence of prophetic art is listening with the imaginative ears of your spirit to release the Light and Life of God through the work you create.
As artists and Kingdom creatives, we hear, see and feel what others tend to miss not because we’ve got the super spiritual mojo, but mostly because we’ve learned to listen with the ears we’ve been given. This is the essence of prophetic art: learning to listen with the ears of your spirit via your imagination in order to release the Light and Life of God through the work you create.
The goal of this ability is never to exalt ourselves or our work, but rather to sense what’s going on in the Spirit realm through our natural and spiritual senses and translate that reality – the Kingdom - into the earth realm. That’s essentially what prophetic art is all about – God using an artist to bring transformation into a life or situation here in the earth realm through their art, their art process or the interaction with an artist.
Operating Prophetically in Our Art
Operating prophetically is at the heart of the creative process – seeing, hearing, feeling and sensing in the Spirit and co-laboring with your unique skillset and design to birth it into tangible form.
Luci Shaw, in her incredible book “Breath for the Bones” says of this moving back and forth between Spirit and flesh, heaven and earth: “Sometimes I have seen myself as an amphibian, like a frog, created for two elements. I dive beneath the lakes surface, my earthly home so that my skin doesn’t dry out and wither, but I need oxygen for my lungs and have to emerge from below the surface to breathe. I discover that I am made for both earth and heaven.
"Like Enoch, like Moses; unlike Adam, unlike most of us, these extraordinary individuals moved seamlessly from restricted terrestrial living into the presence of freedom and life in its optimum dimension in the presence of God.” She continues “Not only are we responsible as artists somehow to demonstrate that it is possible to bring heaven to earth by living the life of grace in an ungraceful place, by gluing together the seen and unseen, but we are required to be links with the unlinkable, with otherwise disparate entities.” (Luci Shaw, "Breath for the Bones," 2007 Thomas Nelson)
Because the nature of the creative process is the prophetic “glueing together the seen and unseen”, we should always be enlarging and sharpening our unique creative language in order to be able to hear and sense what God is saying in order to release Spirit-led Kingdom expression in ways that people can respond.
“Artists are the life-givers in culture. We are a pivotal intersection point where the Kingdom of Heaven meets culture. It is there that we have the unique opportunity, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to translate the Kingdom of Heaven into a language that bypasses words and goes directly into the human spirit. When we collaborate with the Holy Spirit in this dance of Kingdom creativity, His power, His Life and His Light merge with our faith, creative thoughts, imaginations, desires and skill into art that carries the literal presence and power of God. It is in this context that our art, no matter the creative medium becomes prophetic.” - Matt Tommey, Creativity According to the Kingdom
Prophetic Art Calls Order Out of Chaos
Just like God did on the day of creation as recorded in Genesis 1, we are called to come into chaos, bringing order and transformation into them as we release of the creative nature of God.
In addition to bringing order and transformation to those things that are in chaos, our role as creative ones is also to be door keepers of the presence of God in the earth.
What does that mean?
It means we are called to release the presence of God in the earth through our creative expression and facilitate experiences where people can encounter the life and light of God as a part of their everyday existence.
This is the nature of the Kingdom!
Otherwise, what else are we supposed to be doing? When you reduce the Christian life to going to church and following a bunch of rules that you can never live up too, you embrace a dead form and deny the very power Jesus imparted to us through the cross, by the Spirit.
Your creative expression literally carries the life and light of God when you co-labor with the Spirit in your creative release.
Prophetic Art is Light in the Darkness
Remember in John 1:1 God is light and life and everything that was created was created through the Word, Jesus. Then in Genesis 1 God released his nature – Light - into the chaotic darkness and transformation occurred.
Just as sons and daughters of the Creator God are made in his image, so our creative expression carries His transformative nature through our prophetic voice. That process happens like everything in the Kingdom happens, by faith because faith IS the substance or the tangible evidence that the things we’ve seen, felt and heard in the Spirit realm are actually real. Our role is to bring them into the earth realm and allow our creative expression to be a conduit for the mountain moving power of God to be released.
Now, the degree to which we get to do this in our life is not a matter of God playing favorites, but it’s based on stewarding well the gifting God has invested in us. The more you enlarge your capacity for his presence by becoming excellent at what you do, the more the father will entrust to you.
That’s how you grow in the Kingdom.
Prophetic Art is About Stewardship
Remember the Parable of the Talents and the guy who didn't do anything with his talents? It wasn't because of his lack of ability, but his lack of belief. He told the master of the field "I knew you to be a hard man..." In other words, I knew i couldn't live up to your standards, so I just didn't even try.
Just like the men in the Parable of the Talents, you are I are responsible for the revelation God entrusts to us. It’s literally a Kingdom investment that the Father is putting inside of you, waiting to see what you do with it. That investment has the ability to grow, produce, multiply and expand when mixed with faith or it can just sit dormant. Remember, God’s Word says in Proverbs 25:2 NIV:
What Tools Are in Your Hands Right Now?
As you think about your own unique Kingdom design and how the Father has designed you for your Kingdom purpose, ask yourself what is in your hand right now? What is it that the Father has given you? Maybe it's:
Take these things and begin to steward them!
The Prophetic "Chipping Away"
Ideas that come from God are like diamonds in lumps of coal. There's a lot of potential beauty inside but much has to be chipped away and polished before it can be realized. Make sense?
So what needs to be chipped away in your ideas, process and art? What are the next steps you need to take to see that diamond begin to come forth and shine?
Don’t minimize this!
This is why we need the prophetic in our creative process, so we can sense where to move and what to do next.
Again, part of that prophetic “chipping away” is in our life too, because for all artists and Kingdom creatives, we’re on a journey of personal development, not just artistic development. We’re all growing in the gifts and talents that God’s placed within us, as led by His Spirit.
The great thing is that we’re not left alone in the process. Remember, it’s called being filled and skilled. It’s about operating at your fullest capacity, being totally filled with the Spirit of God and leveraging all the skill you have to release His Glory through your expression.
Building On the Prophetic Art Foundations
Ok, so you’ve got the foundation down, right?
Hear, see and feel in the Spirit, and develop a picture or impression of what you’re supposed to be doing creatively. Then, as you chip away at the diamond and co-labor with the Father with whatever He’s put in your hand, the life and light of God will be released through your creative expression as a natural outflow of the Kingdom.
As I think a little deeper about my own creative process, I recognize 5 signposts that may be helpful for you to look for in your process. They are:
Let's talk about each one of these! (But before we do, let me share some of my favorite prophetic artists with you...)
Some of My Favorite Artists
Before we continue, let me take a moment to share some of my favorite artists who are creating incredible work while engaging the Holy Spirit in their creative process. While each may not call themselves a "prophetic artist", God is certainly using their work to release transformation around the world. Click on the image to visit their website and purchase their work. (All copyright retained by the artist.)
“We are called to come into chaos, bringing order & transformation into them through releasing the nature of God.” - Matt Tommey
How do you know if you're creating art with the Holy Spirit of if it's just you?
If you'd like to dive in a little deeper on creating with the Holy Spirit, this is an episode of 5-Minute Mentoring I did on the subject.
5 Steps in the Prophetic Art Process
1. REVELATORY CREATIVITY
When a creative idea begins to percolate, it will usually come as some sort of inspiration. Maybe you see, know, hear, smell or sense something that catches your attention and you become inspired. It may be a place, a person, a song or a natural setting that you see every day or something that you’ve encountered for the first time. Regardless of how it happens, at that moment you have an encounter. The Spirit speaks and you have an “Ah-ha” moment – a light bulb experience where you know you need to pay attention.
Your willingness to sense and respond to that impulse is foundational in your ability to move prophetically in the creative process.
The Art of Imagination
Defined by Google Dictionary, imagination is “the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.”
Your imagination is a God-designed engine inside of you that receives impulses, desires and information from yourself, others and the world around you and then formulates images based on the beliefs in your heart. The root word for imagination in Latin is imaginari which actually means “picture to oneself”. It’s literally a picture engine inside of you.
Your imagination is a part of you that interacts with the movement of God within you. It is a gift to every person ever created and gives you the ability to dream, to see and know before you actually create.
Just like every gift given by the Father to humanity, it has to be submitted to the Lordship of Jesus and set apart for His Glory.
Imagination is the First Step
Imagining is the first step in the creative process and is centered in the human spirit. For the believer, imagination interacts with the Holy Spirit in our human spirit and is then processed through our soul and body. It creates an inner picture inside of us by which we create from.
This ability to see that which is not as though it already is, is the nature of God manifested through us; that is to imagine and see what is the highest, best expression of his Glory through our lives and creativity.
The Pictures Inside You
At the end of the day, it’s all about the pictures that live inside of you. Paul talked about this two times in particular as he encouraged early believers to mature in their relationship with the Father. First, in Romans 12:2 where he said “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” In other words, don’t think like the world thinks, don’t have their picture of reality and possibility in your mind and heart, but rather renew your mind with the God’s truth, which brings Kingdom transformation.
Secondly, in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV he exhorts the church, saying
Again, Paul knew that imagining or seeing an internal picture of that which is of no use or has nothing to do with the knowledge or God, the Kingdom or Christ has no place within the mind of the believer. Not only does it not have any place, but if left to germinate, it will eventually bear fruit.
Prophetic Imagination & the Kingdom Within Us
You see, it’s in our human spirit, through the process of imagining that we connect to the divine consciousness or the Kingdom within us. Instead of connecting to our rule and reign or, as Paul says “the pattern of this world”, we connect to the rule and reign of the divine Kingdom that lives inside of us through the cross of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s how we prophetically bring heavens reality and nature to the earth. This process of imagining is not only crucial to your creative process but to your whole life because creativity and living a life of passion and abundance are directly connected.
God’s purposes are always followed by His promises and His promises are always followed by His pictures. When His promises and pictures are mixed with faith, they transform our identity into what God has already declared is true – an identity that can fulfill His purposes and release the fullness of the Kingdom here in the earth. It’s a beautiful circle: purpose, promises, pictures, identity.
Consider for a moment, Abraham in Genesis chapters 12-17. God wanted to establish covenant with humanity and had to do it through a man. The purpose? Relationship.
Do you see? The picture took root in his heart.
Then what happened?
Changing a Name, Establishing a Promise
God changes his name from Abram to Abraham in Chapter 17 and with it comes a physical demonstration of the promise – circumcision – that showed the reality of the new identity which was rooted in the promise portrayed in the picture that was established by the purpose.
Just to give you another beautiful example of how this works think about when the angel Gabriel came to Mary in Luke, chapter 1:
Basically Mary freaks out, gets scared and the angel has to reassure her of God’s purposes again for her life and reassure of her of her identity in Him. Then, once that’s done, the angel gives Mary a picture – an expected end – that she can mix with faith in order to see God’s plan established in the earth. What happens then? She runs down the hill to her sister Elizabeth’s house in order to tell her the purposes of God over her life, stand in her new identity and give testimony to the promise and pictures the angel deposited in her heart.
So what’s the bottom line here?
Imagination is a Vital Part the Kingdom
Your ability to imagine – that is, see with God – is vital in your ability to creatively demonstrate the Kingdom and it’s tied to your acceptance of God’s purpose for your life, the identity He’s established in you through Christ and the promises He’s given you and a son and daughter in the Kingdom. Sometimes God will give the picture as with Abraham and Mary, and sometimes the promises and purpose produce the pictures like with David.
Think about it, David was a lover of God and a worshipper. Firm in that identity, I’m sure God began to give him dreams, visions and promises that began to take root in His heart. How do I know that? Because I know God and that’s what He does for anyone who asks.
As He mixed his faith with the promises and pictures began to form in His heart of what could be - worship, everyday, for years, with unlimited access to the Father – and sure enough the purposes of God were established in His generation. Doors began to open, people began to respond and affirm His purpose and eventually he fulfilled that purpose as King and the establishment of the Tabernacle. Why, just because God wanted it that way? No, it was because God found a man who would dream with Him to release His nature into the earth realm through imagination and see transformation happen.
Strengthen Your Imagination
There are practical ways to begin strengthening your imagination. Pray in tongues, ask God for pictures, meditate on His word and specifically His promises regarding your identity and your purpose. As you do, pictures will begin to form. Mix your faith with the picture and the promises and watch God begin to bring it forth.
How to Practically Partner with God
If you've been wondering how to partner with God in your life and creative process, this 5-Minute Mentoring episode will be an encouragement to you!
2. SKILLFUL CREATIVITY
The next step in the process of prophetic creativity is not just imagining what could be, but then stepping out and responding. You have to see and agree.
If you only see, then you’ll just be frustrated because hope (a picture of an
expected end) deferred makes the heart sick. On the other hand, you can go through a bunch of wrote motions but unless there’s a picture of your expected end mixed with faith, you’re going nowhere fast. This whole process of seeing and agreeing is explored in detail within my book “Creativity According to the Kingdom.”
Suffice it to say, within your life there has to be a constant infilling of the Holy Spirit through an intimate relationship with Jesus. That produces desires, dreams, passion and pictures. It affirms your identity and causes you to triumph.
Response is Required
At the same time “faith without works is dead.” There must always be a response and that response is based in your skill set. As you grow in being filled, you must also grow in being skilled. Giving attention to both simultaneously, as led by the Spirit of God produces maturity and brings you into a place of increase. Proverbs 18:16 NKJV says “A mans gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.”
If you want influence in the world system, if you want to be a conduit of Kingdom transformation then you must pursue skill.
3. INCARNATIONAL CREATIVITY
If imagination is source and skillful, Spirit-led execution is the process then surely art is the product. Your art, or whatever your creative expression happens to be brings into reality that which up until this point has only been a hope. The act of creating is by it’s very nature incarnational because it’s bringing the purpose and promise of God into the earth in tangible form.
No longer is this thing we’ve dreamed of just an idea, but now it has become an evidential reality.
This incarnational process is a core part of God’s divine nature. When we participate in His divine nature - through His precious promises - we then become participants in the incarnation, bringing the divine into the earth realm for all to see, interact with and be transformed by. God led the way and gave us the pattern. God wanted to redeem the world (purpose) and so began to let the word out through his prophets (promise) that there was a Messiah coming. Through the prophets of old, God began to give a picture of what this Messiah would look like, how He would act and what He would do when He came (picture). The Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us (skillful execution on the part of God co-laboring with Mary resulting in the Incarnation.) Now through the Holy Spirit and our ability to co-labor with him in our creativity, our artwork becomes incarnational (because we are joint heirs with Jesus in the new covenant), revealing the Nature of God in the earth. This is not a one-time event but our new, everyday reality as sons and daughters of the King.
The Kingdom is Established through Sons & Daughters
For me, this is where the rubber meets the road. The Kingdom of God is established in the earth as sons and daughters release demonstrations of the reality of that Kingdom into the culture, regardless of their unique gifting or calling. Jesus promised that we would do greater works than He did, that signs and wonders would follow those who believe in Him. My friend, your creative expression was destined from the very foundation of the earth to be the incarnated demonstration of God’s Kingdom in the earth.
4. TRANSFORMATIONAL CREATIVITY
When your creation does come from that place of Spirit-birthed, skillfully produced incarnation, it literally becomes a conduit for transformation. Why? Not because of us, in and of our talent but because it’s carrying the very Light and Life – the very nature – of God. Just like the sacrament of communion, your art, like the simple bread and wine, becomes a means of grace whereby God can commune with his people.
Since Spirit-born creative expression is both prophetic and incarnational in nature our art has the capacity to speak and continue speaking to everyone who encounters it over time. It’s a lot like the stone cairns that you see throughout the Celtic landscape of Scotland that were created and placed there to show the way over time. These stacked stone monuments act as reminders that in the middle of what seems like nowhere, there is a trail. Our artwork and creative expression can be a cairn of sorts in the Spirit, declaring that there is a path that leads to life through the person of Jesus. Instead of just having a one-time encounters, we literally have the opportunity to set up these places of intersection in the Spirit for generations to come. Songs that would be sung for generations, buildings to be built that would declare the Glory of the Lord, even tangible objects used in daily life all acting as intersection points where God shows up and connects with His children.
Art is a Table
Our artwork literally becomes, as in Psalm 23 a table prepared to nourish those who come and sit before the King in the presence of everything that seeks to kill, suppress and confuse them. Oh to think of it! That the overflow of your life! The very expression of your heart and hands would be used as a demonstration of the transforming love of God. You see my friend, art and beauty are not ornamental, as some out suppose. They are essential for all life because it is through them that we touch the very nature of the creator God.
"God cares much more that you create than what you create. Having you fulfill your divine design is the desire of the Father." - Matt Tommey
5. ABUNDANT CREATIVITY
The result of Kingdom transformation is always life, especially when it comes through the creative expression of sons and daughters. Life abundant. Life everlasting. Life rooted and grounded in love and the abundance of the Father of all Life. God’s abundance overflows when it transforms the hearts of man and through His grace He activates the dormant places in the heart causing vision, purpose and desire to spring forth. Man fully alive, fully satisfied in God, fully loved by God and fully able to stand in His Kingdom purpose.
Cooperation, Not Performance
A life of abundance and creativity always manifests in our life when we come into alignment with the intention or design of God for our life, whether as co-creators or ones interacting with the Spirit-birthed creation. This doesn’t mean we’ll never have another problem in our life or that grace is some ticket to easy street. It does mean, however that worry is no longer an option because at the end of the day, you know you are secure, provided for and in the Beloved of Almighty God. Otherwise, we stay frustrated in the ego portion of our being - our soul, mind will, emotions - wresting with feelings of inadequacy, powerlessness and frustration.
This understanding of how prophetic creative expression is birthed and transformation is released should encourage you because it takes the pressure off of you to perform. Rather, you just simply cooperate with the design of God in and through your life. You don’t have to be this or that, just stand as a son or daughter, receiving and stewarding that which God has entrusted to you.
Abundance is basically coming into harmony with the frequency of God in the earth and in our being. Otherwise we create dissonance by playing notes that don’t work together and tension, stress and anxiety are the result. I don’t know about you, but I want to be in harmony with all that God is doing!
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW AND LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT CREATING PROPHETIC ART! :) - Matt
This blog is an excerpt from “Creativity According to the Kingdom: Connecting with Heaven to Create with God and Release Transformation”. To order your copy in print or on Kindle, visit Amazon.com today.
Healthy relationships are vital to thriving in life. We were created to form life-giving, meaningful, and deep connections with other people. It's just how we are wired as human beings, and we all need these bonds to be our best. God said it best, "It is not good for man to be alone."
One of the things that the Lord showed me years ago was that the principle of sowing and reaping is not just a financial principle, it's a Kingdom principle. It's a universal law, just like gravity, and it works with every area of life, including relationships.
If you're not actively sowing into relationships in your life, then I guarantee you're not reaping those healthy relationships and healthy interactions you need to thrive in life. We've got to intentionally cultivate the relationships we want in our life. And so, I want to give you a few tips that I've learned over the years that have helped me grow in my relationship with God, with others, and in my life as a kingdom person.
#1 – Speak to Their Design
God has a design and a purpose for every person on the planet, whether they're a believer yet or not, and whether they believe and embrace their divine design or not. God loves to speak to His people's purpose, even when they aren't living up to their full potential.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
Let's face it; we tend to react to others based on what we see happening in their lives, what they are demonstrating. Brokenness, bad-habits, and unhealthy choices are easy to see and even easier to point out in others. But that's not the way of the Kingdom. We have to look at others through the eyes of the Spirit to see past their current situation and speak into destiny.
In the verse above, God sent Jeremiah to speak life, destiny, and purpose to a group of isolated Israelites who were exiled because of a lifetime (actually several lifetimes) of brokenness. God's desired connection with His people, and in this example, He modeled one way to sow into relationships.
Here's What I Said On My Podcast About This:
#2 - Pull the Gold Out of Others
As we learn to see others from God's point of view, we begin to recognize their purpose and are in a position to bless their design. Think about where Gideon was when the Lord called him a "Mighty Warrior." Gideon couldn't see it at the time, but God acknowledged and blessed Gideon's divine design and purpose in that declaration.
Approaching relationships with the goal of seeing the best, or “the gold”, in others is a great place to start. But turning your attention towards and sowing into the best in others is vital to cultivate those healthy, authentic connections you're seeking.
#3 Don't Wait, Initiate
It's frustrating to be the one that always has to ask their friends out. Face it, we all love it when we get invited out to lunch after church or get asked to come over and hang out. It's an unspoken message that says, "Hey, you are someone I want to spend time with."
But what do you do when those invites aren't happening on a regular basis? Take a step. Ask the Holy Spirit:
Here's the thing: If you always wait on others to sow into you, a lot of times you'll be waiting a long time. And the enemy will spin that into offense, isolation, and the lie that something is wrong with you.
As you step out of your shell and begin to initiate instead of wait, bless others according to their design, and actively pull the gold out of their lives, you'll start to see incredible fruit coming forth in your relationships. By sowing into others, you'll become the person people want to be around.
By speaking into the divine design of others, looking for the best in them and initiating relationships you become a beautiful conduit through which God will release His Kingdom, not only in the lives of others but in your life, too. Remember, Proverbs 11:25 says”
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
Thanks for reading! Comment below to let me know how you’re cultivating intimacy with others. Together, we can be used by God to change the culture around us for His Glory.
Have you ever wondered how to sell art online? You have a website, you're on social media, and you've got the new collection ready to sell, but where do you start? Whether you're new to the game or are already a seasoned pro, here are 5 keys that will unleash your online art sales this year and give you more understanding of how to be a successful artist.
Key #1 – Artist, Know Thy Customer
First things first. Start by discovering your ideal client. Who is the person most likely, out of everybody in the world, to buy your work and put it in their home or commercial space? As artists, we'd like to think that the whole world is a potential client, but that's just not the case.
In my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program, I teach artists how to create a client avatar, or what some call a buyer persona. This is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client based on what you know about your existing customers and the research you do in your local and regional art marketplace.
Listen To What I Said On My Podcast About This:
Creating a client avatar (buyer persona) is easier than it sounds, and you're probably already doing it to some degree and don't realize it. It's just the process of paying attention to the interactions and conversations you're having with customers every time you sell a piece of art and collecting that data. Even if you've only ever sold one piece of art, you know something about the person who bought your art.
This is a process that really never ends because every piece you sell is another chance to interact with people from a client perspective, from a strategic partner perspective, from a gallery perspective, and a referral perspective. As you do this over time, you'll start to get a great picture of who these people are, what motivates them, what they're looking for, and where and with whom they hang out, which brings me to the second key.
Key #2 – Go Where the Clients Are
In a recent article about how to sell art if you live in a rural area, I said, "If you want to catch fish, you have to go to where the fish are." Makes sense, right? The same holds true with finding customers. Once you understand who your ideal client is and what they are into, it's time to develop what I call intersection points. The goal here is simple, regularly getting in front of your ideal client using a variety of strategies.
Now that you are starting to understand who your ideal customer is, you want to be found by them. In the real world, you can do this through a variety of ways like exhibiting at the kind of art shows they frequent, volunteering for the non-profits they support, and speaking at social clubs they've joined.
But don't let social distancing or physical separation keep you from being found. Advertise in the types of magazines they read, start collaborating with the interior designers they are using, and follow common social media interests. Again your goal is to cross paths with your ideal clients in as many natural non-salesy ways as you can so that they can find you. And this leads us to the next key.
Key#3 - Connect (Like Your Art Sales Depend Upon It)
The point of the first two keys is to get you talking with your ideal client. If you don't remember anything else I share, remember this:
No Connection, No Sale.
People buy from people that they know, like, and trust. Think about that for a second. As an artist, you have to build a connection with your client so that they feel connected to you, your aesthetic, and the work you're producing. If you don't build those connections, you won't have many opportunities to make a sale.
So, again, these connections are built up over time, and they're developed along with those naturally occurring intersections points you're beginning to seek out intentionally. As the relationship grows with your ideal client, so will their interest in owning one of your pieces, which brings me to the next key.
Key #4 – Make the Offer Clear
The confused mind rarely buys. Now that you've got a potential client interested make it easy for them to shop. In simple terms, let your clients know precisely what they get from you when they invest in one of your creations. You should include details like:
Whatever it is that you're offering, make sure those details are available to a client browsing your website. This holds true whether you're selling finished pieces, prints, or commissioned originals.
Create a clear, compelling offer
This brings me to the final key.
Key#5 – Keep Your Checkout Process Simple
Make it easy for people to give you money. I recently had an experience with a local merchant that drove this point home for me. Instead of a quick swipe, signature, and press of the yes key, I received a 10-minute lesson in loving my technologically challenged neighbor.
It's so easy to accept credit cards, checks, wire transfers, and even cryptocurrencies online, over the phone, and in-person in today's world. There's really no excuse for making it hard for a customer to do business with you.
Don't know where to start? Check out Square. They are great. I use them for accepting credit and debit cards both online and in person.
So, there you have it, my top 5 tips selling your art, online and otherwise. Remember the keys:
Got Questions? I'd Love to Answer Them
I sure hope this has been helpful. If you have a question for me, I'd love to answer it here in my blog and on a future episode of 5-Minute Mentoring. Just stop by my podcast page and leave me a voicemail. Thanks for reading.
Ready to Go Deeper and Learn More?
I've put together a great resource, pulled directly from my Created To Thrive Artist Mentoring Program, full of practical advice and measurable steps that you can take to start finding the ideal clients for your artwork.
It's my best-selling mini-course, Finding Clients to Buy Your Artwork. In this six-part course, I'll show you how to:
These are the exact strategies I've used for years to build and sustain a very successful art business for myself. These strategies worked for me, they're working for artists worldwide in just about every creative medium, and now it's time to put them to work for you!
In our social media-driven world, should you be working to collect an email address from your website visitors and clients? Absolutely! There has never been a better time to commit to an effective email mailing plan as a part of your overall art marketing strategy.
With all of the social media platforms available to us today, I get this question all the time from folks like Misty, one of my podcast listeners, "Matt, do I really need an email list, and if so, why?" It's too easy to fall into the trap of thinking, "All I need is Facebook. All I need is Instagram. All I need is YouTube." And as much as I would love for this to be true, today's art entrepreneurs need to use a variety of tools if they want to create meaningful and profitable connections with their social media followers.
Don't Keep All Your Marketing Eggs In One Basket
I have been in the art marketing game long enough to realize that technology platforms, specifically social media, make significant changes without warning, often at a moment's notice.
Companies routinely change their algorithms, what THEY think is important, which impacts what their users and your followers see in their social feeds. And when this happens, all of the organic connection you've worked so hard to build could disappear in an instant.
Next to your website, your email list may be the most crucial marketing tool YOU OWN. And I say, "you own," because unlike the following you've built up on social media, you have complete control over the connections you cultivate with and content you deliver to the social followers and customers who have opted-in to your email list.
If the unthinkable happened and your social media accounts stopped being useful, you would still be able to use email to stay connected, create interest, inspire people, and bring them to an event, class, or sale.
Want to Hear More on This Topic, Then Listen To:
Building Your Email List
It all starts with building your list, giving your social followers a chance to become a bigger part of what you are doing. One of my favorite tips that I share with my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program is to offer their casual followers a free resource.
I use an offer similar to this on my website, podcasts, and in my blog. The embedded link takes visitors to a landing page where they are asked to share their first name and their email address so that I can send them this free resource. Feel free to click the picture to see what I mean, plus you'll get a great free resource.
Your Invitation to Cultivate the Connection
The other thing I love about building an email list is this: When a person gives you their email address, they are telling you they are interested in what you do, but more importantly, they are inviting you into their world.
Think about it in these terms. If you owned a gallery on the main street in your town, you'd showcase your most impressive pieces in the front window of your shop as a way to capture the attention of folks passing by.
But thriving art businesses aren't built upon the passers-by but by the folks who come into your studio. Once someone has come in through your door, they are looking to learn more, giving you a chance to build a connection and potentially gain a client.
In some ways, social media is the online equivalent to an attractive window display. It's great when you get those likes, comments, and shares, but once a social follower opts-in to your email list, you then have the opportunity to connect personally. They effectively permit you to push that send button so that you can connect with them directly in their inbox.
Once you start building that list, be faithful to cultivating that connection through weekly or biweekly emails and monthly updates. Use email campaigns to reinforce what you are doing on social media and introduce them to new concepts you're working on, collections you've completed, or classes you're planning to teach.
Got Questions? I'd Love to Answer Them
I sure hope this has been helpful. If you have a question for me, I'd love to answer it here in my blog and on a future episode of 5-Minute Mentoring. Just stop by my podcast page and leave me a voicemail. Thanks for reading.
Have you ever wanted to unleash yourself artistically and create free from the confines of always using reference materials when you embark upon an artistic adventure? Are you looking for a key to unlock and tap into a limitless supply of imagination and creativity that informs and inspires your creative process?
Lots of artists are looking for this, and recently one of my podcast listeners reached out for some strategies on how he could begin doing this. Nigel wants to break free from relying on photographs as his source materials into creating paintings birthed out of his imagination, but he's finding it challenging to make the transition.
If this feels familiar, I get it, and I want you to know you're not alone. I spent many years using reference materials, photographs, other works of art, and even general inspiration, to inform, inspire, and shape my woven sculptures. But as I began to understand the nature of creativity in the Kingdom of God and the role that divine inspiration plays in the artistic process, my whole world began to change.
As I pressed into my calling as an artist in the Kingdom of God, I began to discover the keys, Biblical truths, to unlocking the inner creative well of inspiration that the Father has placed inside each of us. But before I dive into the "how-to," let's back up and take a look at how a healthy Holy Spirit-led imagination is supposed to function.
Creative Imagination is a Beautiful Engine
I believe that creative imagination is a beautiful creative engine that God has given us. It's full of emotion and fully capable of sensing both the natural world we see and spiritual realities we can only perceive. In a sense, it's a kind of divine alternate reality we can explore with the guidance of the Holy Spirit where we see, hear, feel, touch, and even taste things that are not YET tangible. And it's not just what I believe; it's an idea birth in scripture:
It is by faith we understand that the whole world was made by God's command. This means that what we see was made by something that cannot be seen. Hebrews 11:3
Or this classic verse talking about Abraham's faith:
God who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. Romans 4:17
Your God-given, Holy Spirit-inspired imagination is how you get to see those things that are not as though they were. And as you begin to embrace the reality of what the Holy Spirit reveals, you have an opportunity to co-labor with the Father to bring those things to life through your creative expression.
Intentionally Jumpstarts Your Creative Imagination
Pulling inspiration from your imagination isn't something that's going to happen on its own. Just as you've gathered reference materials specifically and intentionally over the years, you're going to have to start cultivating and using your imagination intentionally as well. But believe it or not, you're already off to a good start.
Your divinely inspired creative well won't spring forth from a vacuum. As a Kingdom artist, you are called to create from not only Holy Spirit inspiration but also from the fruit of everything you've cultivated in your heart and mind over the years. That means that all of the inspiration you've gathered, the music you've listened to, books and poems you've read, and beautiful things you've been a part of are already in your well.
With this already in place, the next step is to partner with the Creator of the universe. Start by asking the Holy Spirit, "Holy Spirit, would You blow over me and awaken inspiration that is in my heart from years past? From things that I don't even realize? Would You begin to activate those things in me so that I can begin to pull on those in my creative process under Your inspiration?"
Visualization Fuels Your Creative Engine
Now, the other thing is that I am a big believer in visualization, allowing the Holy Spirit to take your imagination on a journey that fills your creative well with inspiration. I believe that when you visualize in your creative imagination with the Holy Spirit, that your faith is activated as you come into agreement with:
It's how you begin to see those things that are not as though they are. It's also how you begin to co-create your artwork with the Lord. If this is feeling a bit new to you, don't worry. Let me walk you through your first adventure with the Holy Spirit. To begin, you'll need a few things:
Your sketchbook or art journal & a pen (Need tips on journaling? Read This)
So, begin by putting on the music, sitting down in your chair, and closing your eyes. Take time to connect with the Father and to let the cares of the world and the day wash off. Then once you feel ready, just say, "Holy Spirit, take me on a journey and open up my imagination."
Now don't be surprised if you find yourself drawn to some of the source photos or reference materials you've collected over the years. This is normal. But as the Holy Spirit begins to focus you on one idea or location, maybe an old Cathedral you've visited or a landscape you photographed years ago, invite Him into that place and into your imagination. Then begin to watch, look, and listen with the eyes of your heart.
Stay in that place, exploring with the Holy Spirit, until you feel a release. It may take 5 or 10 minutes, maybe longer. Then once you're ready, open your eyes, pull out your journal and begin to capture in words or sketches what you just saw, sensed, and felt. But it doesn't have to end there.
Over the next few days, go back and revisit this with the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to highlight and reveal more details, insights, and nuances. Again, finish by capturing what you saw in your journal, sketching in additional details to better capture the essence of what you're seeing. The goal is to use your God-given creative skills to capture the beautiful things you're seeing and experiencing with your Holy-Spirit-inspired imagination.
Another Creative Tool for Your Belt
Over the years, these Holy-Spirit-led journeys have become vital to the ongoing practice of filling my creative well. I still use reference materials, gather inspiration from my walks in the woods, music I listen to, books I read, the art I admire. But now I allow the Holy Spirit to fuse these together in my creative imagination.
One time, I had a basket that I wanted to create. I'd never woven a basket like this before. I was stuck on how to connect the inside to the outside. That night before going to sleep, I simply asked, "Lord, would you show me how to do that?"
That night I had a dream, now this doesn't happen every time, but that night it did. I woke up the next morning, jotted some notes in my journal to capture what the Lord had shown me, and then I went to the studio and did what I saw in my dream. WOW! And why not? If you could ask the Holy Spirit to lead your spiritual life, why can't you ask Him for the same in your art life? That is the normal way that the Kingdom works.
I hope you'll give this a try. Start going on some Holy-Spirit-led journeys in your imagination. As you do, you'll begin to create unique works of art from your creative imagination that reveal the Glory of God.
Got Questions? I'd Love to Answer Them
If you have a question for me, I'd love to answer it here in my blog and on a future episode of 5-Minute Mentoring. Just stop by my podcast page and leave me a voicemail. Thanks for reading.
One of the secrets to art business success that I teach artists is that “Connection is Key.” Your ability to thrive creatively is directly affected by your willingness and ability to connect with clients, strategic partners, mentors, and other creatives.
But what do you do if you live, work, and create in the middle of nowhere, or out in the boondocks, as we say down south? Is thriving while geographically isolated even possible? Well, the short answer is yes, and here are a few nuggets of wisdom that will help you thrive where you’ve been planted.
No matter where you live in the world, the internet is your gateway to connection. Even if you only have a cell phone and a mobile data plan, you can still:
So, where do you begin? Well, obviously, in today’s world, social media may be the best way to start building a connection with people online. Connecting with clients and strategic partners online is something you can do from anywhere. From regularly posting on a Facebook page or an Instagram account to posting your art process and how-to videos on YouTube, you’re only limited by your own imagination and a couple of tech tools like a phone, some basic lighting and internet connection.
But the benefits of social media for creatives don’t end there. One of the worst things about remote living can be a crushing sense of isolation, and it makes sense. We weren’t created to live alone. To combat isolation, consider starting your own Facebook group of fellow artists, joining an existing group or program (like my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program), and even starting a simple group chat or text among creative friends! It doesn’t have to be fancy, just get started.
Fine Tune Your Website
Online art sales exploded last year with close to $5 Billion worth of sales. For many artists that I know, 2020 was their best year ever. Now they did have to pivot to prosper during a global pandemic. Still, the fundamentals of what they did on their websites will help any artist succeed.
Your website should pique curiosity, showcase your talents, inspire and inform your visitor, all while providing a clear, simple pathway for them to connect to you and the art you create. A great website is a mobile-friendly hub where you display, describe, and inspire people through your art. It tells the story of who you are, building that initial connection with your visitor. Then it presents them with an opportunity to purchase right on your website or through a link to a third-party site like Etsy, Fine Art America, or Saatchi Art.
Go to Where the Fish Are
So down south, it’s said, “If you want to catch fish, you have to go to where the fish are.” Make sense, right? The same holds for selling art. If art is not selling in your local area, you sometimes have to be willing to travel to where people are buying art. At this point, you might be wondering, “But Matt, isn’t online sales enough?”
Well, yes, but mostly no. I’m a big believer in something I teach in the Mentoring Program called The Parthenon Plan ™ . I encourage artists to create a multi-pronged, multi-strategy approach to building their art businesses. This concept helps creatives build healthy businesses with multiple income streams through the variety of methods they use to connect with their clients.
In a nutshell, don’t have all your “eggs” in one basket. Over the years, I grew my art business both only online and in person. I learned early on that I had to be willing to travel. From Atlanta to Philadelphia, from Atlanta to Chicago, or from Asheville to New Orleans. I sought out the shows and opportunities where I knew that my best clients would be.
“But Matt, I don’t know where to go. What do I do?” First of all, don’t let not knowing something paralyze you. Begin with a little research:
As we begin to return to a sense of normality post-covid, in-person shows and sales will come back. We’ll see old shows return and new shows and opportunities to connect and sell in-person springing up for those willing to do a little “road work.”
The last thing that I would say is be intentional. Be intentional about going to where your best clients are. Be intentional about creating community online. Be intentional about developing strategic partnerships. Don’t be afraid to be deliberate and step out. Be prepared. You have got to build a net, if you will, to be able to catch all the “fish” that God is bringing into your art business.
I hope this has been an encouragement. Thanks for reading.
PS: Combating isolation is one of the reasons why I started the Created To Thrive Artist Mentoring Program. Created To Thrive is a world-wide community of artists that have banded together to be encouraged, inspired, mentored, and challenged. They are embracing their calling as Kingdom artists while living life together online. Sure, we host a couple of live events a year, but we connect on Facebook, post on Instagram, and chat regularly on Zoom for the rest of the year. For many of our geographically isolated members, this online community has allowed them to find “their people.” Created to Thrive is truly a band of brothers and sisters who encourage and inspire each other along the way.
It's a question that has plagued diversified creatives for as long as the internet has been a thing. And given the time, effort, and expense of setting up, tweaking, and maintaining just one effective website, when, if ever, should an artist consider having more than one website as a part of their overall marketing and communication strategy?
A Tale of Two Artists
One of my podcast listeners, Lorraine, recently reached out for a little wisdom on this very topic. Lorraine is a two-genre painter, creating both flower paintings as well as custom pet portraits. As she was in the process of putting her website together, she kept running into issues of fitting both sides of what she does creatively under one "roof" on the internet.
Again, it's a great problem, and one I've been asked about many times by the members of my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program. My rule of thumb on this is simple. If an artist is doing two or more creative things related to their career as an artist, I encourage them to have just one website to showcase and market their artistic endeavors.
In Lorraine's case, both of her creative genres are complementary. A good number of her pet portrait clients may likely be interested in her floral art, while a good number of her floral clients will have a beloved pet or two they may want to be memorialized through one of her custom pet portraits.
So, when should you have two websites? Well, that's simple. When your second business, venture, or hobby isn't closely related to what you do as an artist. In situations like this, you may want to consider having two separate websites. I'll use myself as an example of when to do this.
I have an artist website, where I showcase my baskets, woven sculpture, commissioned artwork, and the classes that I teach for other aspiring basket weavers. All of this information and my public persona as an artist lives under one roof at matttommey.com.
I also have a separate website that talks about my life and work as a mentor to artists. MattTommeyMentoring.com is the online portal where I talk about my books, conferences, and my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program. My mentoring website also houses this blog and all the episodes of my twice-weekly The Thriving Christian Artist Podcast.
I found out early on that very few of my basketry classes or woven sculpture clients were interested in what I did as an artist mentor and even fewer of my mentoring clients were interested in one of my commissioned wall pieces. The two sides of what I do creatively and as a mentor don't necessarily complement each other or connect with the same set of potential clients.
Making One Website Work For Everything You Do
It all starts with your home page. A good home page will evoke a connection, inspire, and make your visitors curious enough to click and continue the journey through other pages on your website. A great home page will speak to the visitor's aspirational desires, bringing needs to the surface that you can solve through your skills and talents as an artist.
So, in the case of someone like Lorraine who creates fine artwork, like her floral paintings as well as custom commissioned pet portraits, I always recommend having a couple of different “doors” on your homepage so that people can quickly see the full range of what you offer creatively.
Redundant Intuitive Doors Get Opened
Now these "doors" into the different sides of your artistic expressions should be both intuitive and redundant. The secret here is to make navigating your website easy for everyone, no matter how they like to journey through a website.
So, for an artist website, that means giving your visitors access to the various sides of your artistic personality via text-based navigational links in your menu and through graphic links that clearly communicate the scope and variety of your abilities through amazing images of your work.
Optimize Your Genre Specific Pages
Once you've created that great home page that highlights everything you do creatively, now you need to turn your attention to the genre-specific pages your site visitors will be visiting. So using our friend Lorraine as an example again, she'll want to have a page devoted to her custom pet portraits and one focused upon her fine floral art.
On the pet portrait page, I would encourage her to include past work examples that tell the story of her process. I would suggest she show examples of her source materials, like the photos she used in painting a portrait, show a picture of that custom portrait in process, and then finally a final shot or two of the finished piece, including one in situ if possible. I would finish out that page with information on the commissioning process and how a client can connect with her to get a portrait project started.
Now since her floral art pieces are most likely ready to purchase, I would recommend that this page include pieces of currently available work, along with the prices, as well as examples of few sold pieces in their final homes when possible. Again, I would make sure visitors to this page on her site can easily learn how to purchase originals and prints of her art, as well as how to connect with her for a commissioned floral creation.
Finally, creating genre-specific pages with unique pictures and descriptions greatly enhances your site's ability to be found on the internet. These become anchor pages for those topics and genres on your website, making them easier for your clients to find when searching for "custom pet portraits," for example.
It's All About the People
So whether you end up with one website or two for what you do, always keep your visitor, the prospective client's experience in mind. Your site should peak curiosity, showcase your talents, inspire and inform your visitor all while providing a clear, simple pathway for them to connect to you and the art you create.
I hope this has helped. Thanks for reading.
I talk a lot about journaling. It’s true. Journaling has been a big part of my spiritual life and my artistic life for years. Many people have asked me about journaling over the years, but most recently, Myra, one of my podcast listeners, reached out to me, looking for some guidance as she embarks on her own journaling journey.
What is a Journal, and why should I have one?
Unlike a mere diary, which is usually a record of events that have happened, a journal is a powerful tool for exploring new ideas that are still taking shape. It’s the physical manifestation of your creative headspace. It’s where your next big idea will be born, grow, and played with before it makes the leap off the page and onto your workbench or canvas.
It’s also a safe place. A judgment-free zone where you can push the boundaries of your creative process before committing your time and resources to flesh it out. For visual artists, this may be sketches, for poets, prose lines, for songwriters, lyrics. Not all of the ideas and notions committed to your journal will see the light of day, but that’s not the point.
Finally, for so many creatives, an art journal is a vault for stewarding creative ideas. The concepts you’re exploring in your journal today are the seeds of inspiration that will bear fruit in the days, weeks, months, and even years to come.
What do I put in my journal?
The easy answer is “Whatever you want.” After all, it’s your journal, your tool for doodling with intent. I started journaling as a part of my spiritual processing with the Lord. It started with me writing and recording my prayers, and the dreams I felt came from God. That quickly evolved to include inspiring ideas, scripture verses, prophetic words, and quotes that meant a lot to me.
I realized pretty quickly that the only rule of journaling is that there are no rules. Today, my journal lets me capture the creative interactions that take place between my spirit and the Holy Spirit during my quiet time with the Lord in the mornings and sometimes before I go to bed.
Over the years, I got into the habit of dating every entry to track how these ideas, inspirations, and promises from God played out over time. Just this past month, I reached a major membership milestone inside my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program. We were in the middle of our latest membership launch when I realized that one of these God-given dreams had just come to pass.
Back in January of 2017, while spending time with the Lord, dreaming His dreams, and receiving His vision for the Mentoring Program, I wrote down the following divinely inspired goal…
Now while it took a few years longer for that original vision to come to pass, the point is it did! We’ve linked arms with over 2000 Kingdom-minded artists from all around the world, and we’ve been blessed with the tools and the team that made this dream a reality. And having the ability to pull an old journal off the shelf and see the faithfulness of God in action was an affirming faith-building moment I’ll always remember.
Do I need separate journals for my creative and spiritual journeys?
This is a great question, and in the end, the answer is just a matter of personal preference. I actually keep two journals at any given time. I have a journal that stays with me in the studio. This volume is more of a traditional artist’s sketchbook where I work through ideas, concepts, colors, sizes, and connections for my current and future projects.
At home, I keep what I would call a prayer journal. I continue the regular practice of recording the prayers, dreams, ideas, and visions I feel come from the Lord in this book. I’ve even developed my own set of marker codes to help me quickly find the goals I’ve set for myself and remember the inspired gems the Lord speaks to me in those early morning hours. It’s not anything fancy, just some rudimentary lines, scratches, and dots that help the important things stand out to me.
Now without fail, I’m sitting at home in the morning with my prayer journal when artistic inspiration strikes. Instead of regretting that my sketchbook is at the studio, I simply record that initial Holy Spirit inspired stream of consciousness there at home and transfer it later when I’m back in the studio. That seems to be the most natural process for me and allows me to get the thought out and record it when the inspiration strikes.
I’m ready to begin my journaling journey. How do I start?
Listen, if there is one practice in my life that has made the biggest difference in my relationship with the Lord and my ability to stay moving forward, it has been journaling. And now that you are ready to embark upon your own journaling odyssey, I encourage you to go out and get a great one.
A journal can be as simple as a $1 composition book from an office supply store or as fancy as a leather-bound journal from your local art store. I have a local artist fashion me a few hand-made journals each year. I love them because they are beautiful and they all match. At $60 to $70 a piece, these journals may seem like an indulgent splurge to some. But in reality, I see them as an annual investment in something that yields immense returns in my creative and spiritual life.
I sure hope this has been helpful. So if you are a long-time journaler or just starting on this journey, I’d love to see what your journal looks like. Post a picture of your journal, or journals, on Instagram, and tag me @TheThrivingChristianArtist.
Thanks for reading.
Matt Tommey is an artist, author and mentor who is passionate about empowering artists to thrive spiritually, artistically and in business.