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.
So many artists lead paralyzed lives because they are too scared to step out and do something they have never done. No matter the cause, whether it’s fear, self-doubt, or isolation, it’s like a wave builds up to push them back to block them from being the Thriving Christian Artist they were called and created to be.
Sound familiar? If so, you’re in good company. I struggled with this very same thing in my life until God began to show me some simple strategies that gave me the confidence to step out.
Defeat Fear With Faith
You know, all of us, if we are honest, have struggled with the fear of stepping out into the new. I know that a root cause of this in my life stems from growing up in a situation that wasn’t the greatest emotionally or relationally. I ended up retreating in self-protection so much that I didn’t do anything unless I was fairly certain of what the outcome was going to be.
In some ways, this led to some early successes in my life, especially those areas that played into my strengths. But most of the time, this fear kept me from stepping out of my comfort zone and into new experiences because I never wanted to try anything new where the outcome was uncertain.
Whether it was from a fear of failure, fear of ridicule, or even the fear of success, fear kept me from trying anything new. Maybe you can identify with what I’m saying here. The enemy loves to use our past, our fear, or even our woundedness to drive a wedge between the promise of what God has for us and the reality of where we are right now.
The one thing God showed me that set me free from this fear-based paralysis is this: Change only happens when my faith and my willingness to step into the promises of God become bigger and more powerful than the fear of the unknown.
Think about that for a second. Transformation will only happen in your life when your faith in all that God has for you becomes bigger than the fears that are holding you back.
Embrace Your Identity
The second area that I had to grow in was in the area of identity. My fear of stepping out was also a result of my unwillingness and inability to accept, believe, receive, and fully embrace my identity as a Son of God and as an artist in His Kingdom. My own self-doubts and anxieties about “not being enough” kept me from even dreaming that I was meant for more.
I learned, through times of healing and revelation, that having an identity that is rooted and grounded in Christ sets the stage for everything else in life. And I want to encourage you to do the same.
As you begin to grow in confidence and start to embrace who God has called you to be, things start to change. You’ll find yourself in position to receive the strategies, knowledge, and guidance that God has had for you all along.
Don’t Go It Alone
Finally, like so many creative believers, I fell into the trap of isolation. Believing the lie that I was the only one going through this particular struggle or dealing with this specific challenge, feeling alone led to a hopelessness that kept me from stepping out.
Over the years, I’ve learned that artists who try to thrive on their own rarely ever do. Why? It’s simple. We simply weren’t designed to just “white knuckle it” through life’s challenges all on our own, looking for external solutions to internal problems.
As believers, we are called and created to do life together. As Kingdom Creatives, we are meant to walk together in a mutually supportive community with other artists and other believers that are on the same journey.
As you receive fully by faith the promises and provisions that God has for you while embracing your identity as an artist in His Kingdom in the context of a loving, supportive community, life begins to change. Your confidence builds, your vision clarifies, faith grows, and acceleration starts happening.
I sure hope this article has been an encouragement to you. If it has, please share it with others on the journey as you kick fear to the curb and embrace the fullness of who God has called you to be this week.
What Does the "Renewing of the Mind" Look Like for Christians?
That’s the question most Christians struggle with and have had very little teaching on during their life as believers. Consequently, they are left feeling unfulfilled, frustrated and confused when it comes to actually living the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10 NLT where he said “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” That rich and satisfying life manifests in the life of believers through one simple, life-changing strategy: the renewing of the mind.
What Does Renewing of Your Mind Mean in the Bible?
Simply stated, renewing your mind according to Romans 12:2 means interpreting life through the lens of God’s Word and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, rather than through the lens of your experience, woundedness, trauma, preferences or the opinions of others. It’s a fundamental shift toward seeing the world, yourself, others, God and especially what’s possible from a Kingdom perspective. It’s making a daily, moment by moment choice to choose the Mind of Christ which lives inside of us as new creations rather than operating from our soulish mind the way we did before we were saved.
Why Do Christians Need to Renew Their Minds?
Unless a Christian learns to renew their mind, they will continue to walk in defeat, struggle and confusion as they desire to experience a Spirit-led life yet have no understanding how or tools with which to see that life manifest. This is the predicament of most believers who live lives of religious obedience and obligation yet void of any real Spirit-led power. Without renewing your mind, the only two options are to wait, hope and beg God to change you or to work, sweat and strive on your own to achieve the results you so long to experience. Neither is God’s best.
Renewing your mind aligns your mind with the truth of God’s Word by learning to recognize the lies of the enemy, replace them with the truth of God’s Word and then reinforce that truth every time the enemy comes at them with those same lies. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV, God’s Word teaches us that “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” Taking a thought captive literally means to capture or conquer that thought as you identify it and compare it to God’s Word. Does this thought agree with God’s promises over my life or not? If not then I cast it away – rejecting it’s influence in my life – and I plant in its place one of God’s promises from His Word.
In 2 Peter 1:3-4, the Bible says “3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
4 Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Did you get that? It’s through God’s precious promises that we participate in the divine nature.
Renewed thoughts resulting in new beliefs help you engage with God’s plan for your life because thoughts fuel your beliefs. Godly Kingdom-Focused thoughts are great fuel for your godly beliefs, while ungodly, fear-driven lies and half-truths fuel ungodly beliefs.
Renewing your mind is not just a spiritual process, but a physiological one as well. When you intentionally change the way you think to align with God’s Word, it literally creates new connections and pathways in your brain to make that process easier and more preferred over time. Through the process of neuroplasticity, your brain can literally be reconfigured to align with the truth of God’s Word and thus create the solutions, strategies and opportunities that best align with God’s plan for your life. Remember, in Proverbs 23:7 KJV “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Your thoughts (which ultimately create your beliefs resulting in your actions) literally create the boundaries of your life. If you want to experience a different life – the abundant life Jesus promised – you must learn to intentionally renew your mind.
5 Ways to Renew Your Mind Today
You can absolutely live the abundant life Jesus promised if you master the process of renewing your mind including recognizing the lies of the enemy, intentionally replacing them with the truth of God’s Word and reinforcing that truth through visualization and affirmations. As you do, you’ll be amazed at the double doors of favor that seem to instantaneously appear in your life simply because you came into agreement with God’s design for your life, rather than trying to make it happen all on your own.
People ask me all the time, “Matt, how do I know that I am on the right track? How do I know that I am following God’s best for my life?” It’s a great question and one that I’ve asked myself many times as I’ve journeyed through life. Over the years, I’ve learned two keys that have helped me find and stay on the path God has for my life and my art.
Start By Following the Favor
One of the things that I have done over the years that has served me well is what I call “Follow the Favor.” It’s easy. Look around in your life and pay attention to see where God is moving. Pay special attention to:
All of these are clues that point to your divine design and purpose. And as you continue saying “Yes” to the opportunities and open doors, faithfully using the natural talents you’ve been given, your confidence will begin to grow. As you are faithful to use the opportunities, open doors, and skills He’s trusted you with; God will continue to show up in your life in huge ways.
Find Your People
Surrounding yourself with other Kingdom-minded artists is one of the best ways to confirm you’re on the right track. Why? Well, it’s simple. The enemy loves to isolate and separate God’s kids. He loves to get us on our own and fill our heads with lies and fill us full of fear and doubt. Lies like:
But when you surround yourself with others that are in your “tribe,” your people, all of a sudden, you begin to see yourself and your journey in a whole new light. You begin to realize, “Hey, I am not as weird as I thought I was,” especially when you start to connect with other artists who are called to serve the Kingdom of God with their gifts and talents.
And in that place of connectedness, there is an incredible grace that gets released. When you stop trying to do life and art on your own and start walking with others on the same journey, faith, momentum, acceleration, and breakthrough become your new normal.
This Might Be Just What You’re Looking For
Now, I can’t think of a better way to surround yourself with other artists in the Kingdom than to be a part of my Artist Rise Up Masterclass + Art Challenge that is going on right now. We kicked things off on Monday, January 18th, but there is still plenty of time for you to grab a seat at this world-wide event if you haven’t already signed up.
Click Here To Learn More about my FREE Artist Rise Up Masterclass
With two more art challenges, two more lessons, and two more incredible prizes left to give away (an Apple® Ipad and a Mac® Book Air), I encourage you to click the link above and join us on this journey if you are not already a part of the masterclass.
I hope this has been an encouragement, and I can’t wait to connect with you in Artist Rise Up.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to hit the reset button after the year we just had. If you’re reaching for that button in your life, then I want to share with you four things that will absolutely help you get rebooted, reset, and ready for what God has in store for your life and art in 2021.
You know, the Bible says that without a vision, the people perish. Unless you have a clear view of who God has called you to be, what He has called you to do, where He is leading you, and what He has for you this year, then you may end up very frustrated.
If you find yourself adrift in a sea of doubt, fear, and uncertainty, then I encourage you to go get with Jesus. Take some time away, a few hours or maybe even a couple of days, to get alone with the Lord. Ask Him to show you what He has for you this year in your life, family, art, and business.
The clarity you get will form the seed of a vision that you can cultivate in your life. And as you are faithful to nurture this vision, it begins to release clear direction for everything going on in your life. Vision speeds you down the road when things are good and keeps you on the road when things are bad. Why? Because vision informs everything in our life.
What you believe deep in your heart is as important as what you see for your future. When you cultivate God-centric Kingdom-focused beliefs in your heart, they inform and shape all of your thoughts and actions. Why? Because what you believe deep in your heart is the fruit of the thoughts and ideas you meditate and focus on day in and day out.
Your beliefs are the faith-colored glasses through which you embrace and engage the vision God has established for your life. Vision gives you the path to follow while illuminating the Kingdom-focused truths and concepts you should be cultivating in your heart and mind.
Vision, coupled with a well-cultivated belief, also serves as an early warning system against spiritual attacks. When the enemy comes and throws crazy pictures, thoughts, and lies in your mind, you have a strong foundation from which to say, “NO! This lie does not align with God’s vision for my life or look anything like what He is showing me.
Renew Your Mind
A couple of scriptures that I love are Romans 12:2 and Proverbs 23:7. Romans teaches us to be transformed by renewing our minds, while Proverbs tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. If vision informs your path and beliefs help you engage with God’s plan, thoughts fuel your beliefs. Godly Kingdom-Focused thoughts are great fuel for your godly beliefs, while ungodly, fear-driven lies and half-truths fuel ungodly beliefs.
The key to effectively renewing your mind can be summed up in three words:
If vision sets our path, belief helps us to engage with God’s plan, and thoughts fuel our journey of faith, then faithfulness is the oil that keeps things running smoothly. Faithfulness, simply put, is the practice of clearly executing every day the things you need to do as you grow into your calling as a thriving artist. Faithfulness for a creative could look like:
All this and more while learning to lean into His grace and not our strength, following God’s lead while avoiding the personal pitfall of striving. Faithfulness walked out over time leads to the “suddenlies” we all long to experience. Suddenly, as you’ve been faithful in the little things the Father has put into your hands, you “suddenly'' find yourself thriving in life, art, relationships, and maybe even business.
2021 is a year of great promise and great potential for creatives. This year we are all called to get serious about embracing vision, renewing our minds, cultivating godly beliefs, and faithfully walking out the plans God has for us. And as we do this in the context of a community of others doing the same, I promise you will have a reset and a reboot like no other.
Now, I can’t think of a better way to start 2021 than for you to be a part of a world-wide artistic reboot we’ll be kicking off on January 18, 2021. My Artist Rise Up Masterclass and Art Challenge will be a fantastic time of teaching, fellowship, and breakthrough.
I’ll be sharing on:
The Masterclass and Art Challenge are FREE, but registration is required. I encourage you to take a moment to learn how Artists Rise Up just might be the reset you’ve been looking for. Learn more by visiting www.ArtistRiseUp.com
I hope this has been an encouragement to you. I can’t wait to connect with you during Artist Rise Up.
I was recently reflecting on my own journey, especially as it relates to fear. For many years, fear was a significant motivating factor in my life. Fear of...
You get the picture. My life was being ruled by all of this misplaced fear-based anxiety. I was living my life based on the lies of the enemy and not the Truth of God. We have all dealt with this at some point, some of us more than others. You know those times when fear takes hold, and you start feeling absolutely overwhelmed, even to the point of a panic attack, just not knowing what to do.
One of the things I learned many years ago is THE KEY that God gave us in His Word that unlocks transformation in our lives. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” I learned that if I want to experience life differently, I have to learn to think differently.
I’m a firm believer in this concept of renewing my mind. I’ve been practicing it for years, intentionally cultivating God’s Truth in my heart for years. And despite all that, there are still sometimes things just come out of the blue. When I’m tired, mad, sad, hungry, upset, or frustrated, that’s when the enemy will come in like a flood to try to shut me down and overwhelm me.
It happened to me just the other day. I was having a pity party. I was really starting to get anxious about situations that are really unlikely ever to happen, the “What Ifs” of life. And as this went on for a bit, the enemy began to blow these stories up to IMAX size in my head. I was just getting bombarded with those fears of What If…
And as the fear continued to grow, it began to morph. If it did happen, does that mean that…
As these things raced through my mind, I leaned into the truths I’d been cultivating in my heart for years. Pulling from my daily practice of renewing my mind, I realized I needed to turn to the Lord and not even try to be strong. I just needed to fall into His lap and say, “JESUS, I NEED YOUR HELP!”
Now while this may seem an over simplistic solution, this simple act of trust broke something free in my life. Suddenly, instead of being in agreement with the fear, I began to agree with God’s truth…
As I did that, a beautiful thing happened. The Lord immediately went WHOOSH. It was like all of the fear, anxiety, and worry that was swirling around in my head just went, POOF, gone! It was like clouds starting to drift apart, and that’s when the Lord dropped this Scripture into my heart.
“When you sit enthroned under the shadow of Shaddai. You are hidden in the strength of God most high. He is the hope that holds me in the stronghold to shelter me. The only God for me and my great confidence. He will rescue you from every hidden trap of the enemy. He will protect you from false accusations in any deadly curse. His massive arms are wrapped around you protecting you.” Psalm 91 – The Passion Translation
And as I sat there, I realized that God had done it again. In my time of need, as I reached out to Him, He came in to dispel the enemy’s lies with the exact truth that I needed at that moment. My fear was getting caught in a “hidden trap,” something I didn’t see coming that would destroy the things I hold dear.
That was my fear, the source of the anxiety that was creeping up that day, and Psalm 91 was the exact passage the Lord gave me. I believe that the only time God is limited in our lives is when we are unwilling to invite Him into the situation. If you and I sit there and struggle in our life by ourselves, the Lord is standing there waiting to bring a solution, waiting to bring breakthrough, but He is waiting for you to extend the invitation. He is waiting for you to fling open the door. He is waiting on you to run into His arms
So my friend, listen! If fear is one thing that tries to come on you regularly, follow my example. When you find yourself in the middle of the fear, just fling yourself on Jesus! Turn up the worship music, lean into His arms, and say, “Father, I need You right now to come and break the power of the enemy.” I promise you. He will be faithful to show up and bring deliverance on your behalf and give you the tools you need to begin to renew your mind and walk in strength that is already yours in the Kingdom of God.
I hope this helps as you continue to create with Him. If so, take a moment to share it with a friend, share it on social media, and comment below!
Thanks for reading!
You know, if you love making art as much as I do, it’s really easy to wonder, “Hey! Is my love of art and creating art crowding out my passion for Jesus and my desire to worship Him? Is it becoming an idol in my life? I don’t know if you have ever thought about that, but recently Tina, one of our Podcast listeners, asked me that very question.
Fear By Any Other Name Is Just Fear
Sometimes the enemy will disguise himself as wisdom when it’s just plain old fear. When I hear a question like this, I find that it’s often rooted in a place of fear: Fear of messing up, fear of not doing it right, fear of disappointing God, and others.
It’s born out of a wrong mindset that is all too prevalent in the church and the Christian art community. This false idea that “Unless you do it exactly like this, or get exact permission to do this much but not that much, then you are somehow going to do it wrong.”
Bottom line, God isn’t like that. I really believe that God cares so much more THAT we create than WHAT we create, or even how much we create. I believe that it brings God joy when we do the thing that He has called us to do.
It is like the quote that I included in “Unlocking The Heart of the Artist” from Saint Irenaeus that says, “The Glory of God is man Fully alive.” That is, as you do the thing that God has called and created you, nothing else could bring greater glory or greater joy to the Father. So instead of a fear-based approach that is borne out of a faulty mindset, I want you to embrace this confident heartfelt belief in your art that says, “Yeah! When I do this thing, it is what God designed me for,” and that brings Him glory.
Art Is A Vehicle for Grace
If you are struggling with this question, then I want you to embrace the fact that art is a means of grace. It’s one way we can experience the grace, love, and manifest presence of God in our life. This grace is not only for ourselves but also for others as God uses our art to reveal and release His nature in and through us.
Always keep in mind that it’s God who created and called you to be an artist. It’s His artistic expression that He desires to bring to life through the talent and skill He gave you. The Father desires to bring you into this Spirit-led creative process, one that impacts and changes not only you but others as well.
Again, nothing brings Him greater glory than for you to be able to do the thing that He has called you to do. That, my friend, sounds like the exact opposite of idolatry.
Keep Your Eyes on The Creator, Not the Creations
For all of us who are believers, art should never be the entire focus of our lives. Art for art’s sake isn’t why you were endowed with your unique set of creative gifts and talents. Rather, art is a vehicle through which we experience the love of God, hear His voice, and allow His beauty, life, and life to flow through us to others.
When anything in life becomes an idol, three things come to mind:
If the thing you create and the artistic passions you pursue begin taking on a life of its own and separating you from God, then yes, that could be a problem. Anything that supplants your relationship with Jesus and His Lordship in your life absolutely can become an idol.
The secret to staying on the right path is to want to make sure that you see these beautiful things, these gifts that God gives us not as an end in themselves. Art, as I shared earlier, is a vehicle God uses to draw us close to Him. He uses it to transform our lives while He moves through us and the works of our hands to transform others. Art that accomplishes this is not an idol.
I hope this helps as you continue to create with Him. If so, take a moment to share it with a friend, share it on social media, and comment below!
Thanks for reading
Have you ever wondered how to tell when the Holy Spirit is guiding you and working with you in your art or when you are trying to do it all on your own? If this is you, you're not alone. This is a question I get a lot from artists all over the world. And today, I want to share with you a few things that I've learned over the years that have really helped me definitively answer this question for myself.
Religious Baggage – We All Have Some…
You know, a lot of us were raised with a fear-based relationship with the Lord. This is where the idea that you have to be "careful" because you don't want to "miss God" gets ingrained in your heart. While the desire for this sort of teaching is undoubtedly good, it often produces the opposite of what it is intended to do.
In my life, this mindset failed me completely. Instead of keeping on the straight and narrow, it took me totally off the path. I became paralyzed because I was so afraid of doing anything that might seem like my own flesh, anything that would not honor the Lord. I was just scared all the time, and because of that, I really was not moving forward in my life.
This kind of religious baggage paralyzes a lot of people in life. But over the years, the Lord began to help me realize some essential Kingdom truths. These truths helped me know the answer to the question, "Am I doing this with the Lord, or am I doing this on my own?"
You Were Designed for Co-Creating with God.
We all have to realize that God's pleasure and His desire are FOR you. God's design in your life was created specifically for you. In other words, there is a design, there is a pattern, there is a way of flowing that He designed for you. Not for anyone else, and He did this before the very foundation of the earth. When you got saved, the best part is that your Divine design got reactivated and reenergized in your life.
I love where the Bible says in Psalms that God inhabits the praises of His people. I love it because that is what art feels like to me. As we create in concert with the Holy Spirit, inviting Him into the creative process, God is faithful to His Word. As we do the things we were made to do with the One who created us, He comes, and He inhabits, leads, guides, and comforts us through that process.
You Have Everything You Need
It is crucial to realize that through what God has done for you through the cross, you already have everything you need for life and godliness as a Kingdom Artist. The real question is, "How do you participate or partake in all that God has already done for you? In II Peter 1:3-4, it says that we participate in the divine nature through the very precious promises of God. So, it is by faith, right?
It's by faith that we take hold of the promises of God and can appropriate all the things that God has for us. Well, the same thing is true with your art. You need to embrace the truth that every idea, every inspiration, and every skill comes from God. He has already equipped you with all of this, plus the desire and ability to flow with the Holy Spirit in your creative process. It's already there! It exists right now! Well, how do you access it? You access it by faith.
Try This the Next Time You Are In Your Studio
So the next time you go into your creative space, walk-in with a joyful heart saying: "Father, thank You that I have the opportunity today to come in and do the thing that You created me to do. Now, Lord, I receive by faith Your inspiration and the movement of Your Holy Spirit. Lord, I listen with the ears of my heart for Your voice. Lord, I respond with my hands, and God, I trust that You will lead and guide and move in and through me during this process. Use me, Lord. Transform me that my work might be used to transform others."
You see, I just find that when you can come in and create out of a place of JOY and not judgment, you can't do it wrong. When you approach the creative process from a place of judgment versus joy, fear rises up, anxiousness kicks in, and self-doubt rules the day. Judgment says, "I don't know if this is God! I don't know if I am doing it right! I don't know if I am going to miss it!"
Joy says, "I am a son. I am a daughter. I am already set up for success. God has already given me a design. There is no way I can do this wrong. God, You are FOR me. Holy Spirit, You are my guide, and You are the one that is here to lead me today." As you do that, it's like letting a drawbridge down into the spirit, receiving by faith everything that God has planned for you.
What the Fruit Says
Lastly, I want to share how you can recognize when the Spirit of God is moving in and through your creative process. Ask yourself the following:
Is there a sense of His presence as you are creating?
If you're answering yes if you're seeing the Fruits of the Spirit manifesting in your life and through your work. All of that confirms the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life as you create. So don't make it more complicated than it is. Enjoy the process.
A Resource That Can Help
A few years ago, we put together a mini-course called "Knowing God's Plan for Your Life and Art." After taking this 3-part mini-course, you'll be able to:
You can learn more about this course by clicking right here.
I hope this helps as you continue to create with the Lord. If this article has helped, take a moment to share it with a friend, share it on social media, and comment below!
Thanks for reading.
One of the questions that I get from artists just about every day is, "Matt; I love Jesus! I know He is calling me to be a creative, but I am so scared! I am so nervous about what other people will think of me, what they will say about me, and how they will judge me. I constantly fear that others will find out that I'm simply not enough. How do I get over this?"
Well, this whole area of fear of what others think is significant in the creative community. In fact, I believe that it's really the foundation of every problem that artists go through. So, I think it's time we hit this issue head-on with some practical solutions that will help you bust through the prison of what other people think about you, your art, and your creative lifestyle.
Did I Miss Something?
For many years I struggled with this whole concept of identity. In fact, my first book, "Unlocking The Heart of The Artist," was really all about my struggle with identity and really coming to understand that you can be both saved and renewed. Let me explain.
I knew from a young age that my spirit had been renewed when I asked Jesus to come into my heart. But nobody had ever taught me that just because my spirit was instantly renewed that my soul, that is my heart, mind, will, emotions, needed to be renewed and aligned with the Kingdom of God.
Most Christians, in general, do not have this understanding that you were saved instantly, but you can be operating out of an old, wounded mentality, an old paradigm. You can be saved on one side and see all the promises of God that are in God's Word while still living out of an unrenewed mind. If you live out of this wounded paradigm, you will live a life in many respects more frustrating than the one you left before you were saved.
Why? Because even though you've got this great hope and vision for the eternal life Jesus provided for you while at the same time, you find yourself struggling daily within your emotions, thoughts, and actions. If you've ever felt this way, you're not weird. This is a normal part of every believer's walk. In fact, I was like that for most of my life until I began to understand how transformation is designed to happen in the Kingdom.
Well, how does that happen? Well, Romans 12:2 tells us that we are not to conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed, that is to be fundamentally changed, by the renewing of your mind. Many of us probably memorized this verse in Sunday School, and countless gold stars have been awarded for these efforts. But did anyone ever teach you how to apply it to your life practically?
Salvation happens the moment you ask Jesus into your heart. Your spirit man is instantly transformed, changed, and made righteous instantly. But even in that glorious moment, we still have a world of issues lingering inside our minds, wills, and emotions. Our spirit is saved, but that is just one part of the three, body, soul, and spirit that makes us who we are.
Our soul, that mind will and emotions part of us, still has to be renewed even after salvation. The Bible teaches us that this is a daily, moment-by-moment process that is meant to be led by the Holy Spirit according to the Word of God. It's an intentional daily process, this renewing of your mind, and it's as simple as starting with focusing on the truth of:
Consistency Brings the Change
And as you do this thing the Bible talks about, and you begin taking every thought captive under the Lordship of Jesus, your life WILL change. It's not an overnight change, but as you are faithful daily to focus on and believe in God's Truth versus what you have believed, a great exchange begins to take place in your spirit man.
It begins with declaring in faith, "Hey! I don't want to believe this old lie about myself anymore. I choose to receive the truth of God's Word about this for my life!" And as you do that over and over and over again as an act of your will, verbally, mentally, and spiritually replacing that old lie with God's Truth, change just happens. The old lies fade, and God's Truth in that area becomes your go-to daily mindset. Why is this important? Because it's your beliefs that ultimately determine your actions and your destiny.
Resources That Can Help
The foundation of everything that we do with the Podcast, with the Artist Mentoring Program, with my Books, and with my Blogs and Podcasts, is to help people get their heart healed and their mind renewed to the truth of what God says about them. Of all the resources my team and I have put together, these two are the best place to start when you are ready to embark on this process of renewing your mind.
The first is my book Created to Thrive – which is available right here from Amazon.
The second is a mini-course we put together called "Renewing Your Mind." This course walks you through several in-depth teachings about this, plus gives you some access to some tremendous Biblical affirmations that will help build your faith as you make this transformation in your life. You can learn more about this by clicking right here.
I hope this helps as you take that step of creating or refining your website. If this article has helped, take a moment to share it with a friend, share it on social media, and comment below!
Thanks for reading.
Choosing someone to walk with you on your own artistic journey is probably one of the most important choices you'll make as an artist. Why? Because who you choose determines what seeds you're going to plant in your life and ultimately, what fruit is going to be produced. As you consider choosing an art mentor to help you on your journey as an artist, let me offer a few questions you need to ask:
Matt Tommey is an artist, author and mentor who is passionate about empowering artists to thrive spiritually, artistically and in business.