A Deep Creative Confidence
Long, meaningful careers are nurtured and developed by a deep creative confidence. They do not rest on the praise of yesterday’s fans, nor flinch at the attacks of yesterday’s critics. A deep creative confidence emerges from the strength found when a creative knows their identity, their calling, and their mission. They know who they are, why they create what they create, and their purpose. With such focus, they weather the storms, and thrive amidst the changes of each season.
Any creative may find success by impulse or accident, but the long slow distance run of the creative career requires a deeper, more consistent source of creativity. There is too much temptation to keep running after the latest fad, technique, style, or market. Successful creative professionals maintain a focal point that is far beyond ‘this month’ or ‘this year’ because they have a vision for their body of work over several decades instead of merely a few current projects. This requires deep work in your heart and soul, and there are no short cuts.
A Deeper Artist’s Identity
Your identity, as a believer is that you are daughter or a son of God. Theologians talk about this as the doctrine of adoption because only Jesus is the true son of God. Yet, like the picture of parents around the world who adopt children not their own, and lavish these adopted children with their time and resources, so we have a heavenly father who has lavishly given us the same blessings and honor as our elder brother, Jesus.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
1 John 3:1 (NIV)
This is no small matter. Once understood, this becomes the heart of your identity and the foundation of your artistic gifting, passion and your projects. As sons and daughters, we know our Father in Heaven loves us, and is always there for us. We need not be insecure, for we have found security in our very identity as those who are loved by God himself. We need not worry because we know that God is watching out for us and will never abandon us. We are freed from the fear of guilt, shame and even death…freeing us to focus upon the creative projects we were called to create.
The Old Artiste’ Identity
Artists have been tempted for too long to embrace the bohemian idea of the artiste, or the romantic idea of waiting from some muse or divine spark to inspire you. Your gifting and inspiration become the whim of some external force or factor. There is no firm foundation. You become dependent upon the fancy of a muse. Such an identity lacks depth, confidence, or hope. It creates a low view of craft, and depends upon a wandering wind. This is the road we must avoid, for we know the peril it invites.
A Deeper Artist’s Calling
Your soul was designed to connect with God, and to honor him with all your life. Any vision of your life short of such grandeur will end up leading your heart to falter and your inspiration to dry up. You were never meant to be content with seasonal novelty, simple kitsch or passing fads. Your soul will never stop crying out to speak of God and his love for you and your neighbor. Ignore this desire or bury it at your own risk.
You were not created, nor were you chosen by God simply to find success, or personal satisfaction through your art. Like all communication, art is meant to lift our hearts, speak to our souls, and remind us of the grandeur of life. Artists who know and embrace this deeper calling see this as their ‘north star’ as they create. This permeates their work and points others to celebrate the beauty of life and the transcendence of God. Even if their work is dark or explores dark themes, it will be designed to point people to the light. Sons and daughters of God always yearn to point to the one who has loved and adopted them. This is not out of obligation, but out of thanksgiving and joy.
A Deeper Artist’s Mission
Do you have a mission statement? There is no substitute for taking the time to think deeply and to craft carefully your own personal mission statement. It helps crystalize your thoughts, dreams and aspirations. But what should you include? The key here is to ask yourself how expansive and hopeful God would want you to be. We must not shrink back in fear or give in to insecurity. As children of God, our mission includes glorifying God, as well as inspiring others and being a blessing to those we work with.
At the core of our calling is to Love God and to love our neighbors. Your mission flows from this foundation, and grows as you understand how your life mission will communicate to others through your own unique passions, talents and gifts.
For our friends who do not worship God, and do not know Jesus, their mission will lack either depth, or future hope. This is because they cannot fully connect to all the great things God is doing in the world without acknowledging Him, and they cannot maintain hope in this broken and fallen world without knowing that God is going to redeem all things and make all things beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Your Mission: Should You Choose to Accept it:
Unlike the Mission Impossible movies and television series, God is not offering you something which you can choose to accept or choose to deny. He designed you from the foundations of the earth. (Eph 1:4) He has not given you a spirit of fear, but loved you and adopted you as his child. (Romans 8:15) This is all true before you even woke up this morning. Our response is to love God and serve him with all our heart, soul and mind. (Luke 10:27)
The beauty of it all is that God is waiting each day as you wake up, longing to take you by the hand and be with you throughout the day. He wants to fill you anew with His love, refresh your soul and inspire your mind for the creative projects you are working on. He is inviting you to live with a deeper creative confidence that comes from the strength found in knowing your identity in Him, your calling, and your mission. This powerful foundation is always available and begins afresh each day as we choose whether or not we will run to the one who gives us life, and to give Him honor in all we do.
If you want to understand more about your calling as an artist, you may be interested in our Online Artist’s Calling Course.
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Copyright © 2021 Joel & Michelle Pelsue. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.