ENGAGE with others & BE courageous


April 26, 2017

Sometimes you just need to accept that God is in control of the timeline of life. In January, I adopted embrace as my word for the month when my girl, Cole, shared Ann Voskamp’s reSOULutions. It lasted the whole month of January, and I was able to stick to it. So, when February gave us engage, I had high hopes of engaging with others, who are also creative types. While I am perfectly happy to sit at my art desk or pack my supplies up and create in a public space, I felt like I should actually engage with others and see if the experience added depth to my creative process. February was short month, so while some would say that it is easier to stick to a month-long goal in a short month, I would argue that it was harder because there were less days to achieve it.

I am a member of a two artist groups who gather monthly to share ideas and encourage each other. One met on a day in February when I was unavailable and the other had to cancel the February meeting. Another week of February was stolen by a migraine. So, the month ended and I had not engaged with others on the level I had hoped to. (yes, I had collaborated on some work projects, but I hadn’t engaged on my own creative practice).

Enter God’s timeline… In just the first half of March, I was able to engage with other creatives, specifically on the practice of Bible Journaling. The first took a bit of courage as I inserted myself into an existing group at another church in a community which I was unfamiliar with whom I had found through an internet search. Of course, they welcomed me and I was able to see how they function and also thrive on the practice of integrating art and faith as we each created and shared our own interpretation of the night’s Bible passage. The end of the same week had me at an event where the purpose was to grow outreach. I was in a group who whose focus was in using the arts and creativity as a way of connecting with other artists who might not yet know Jesus. While I was not actually creating any faith-based art at this particular event, we engaged in a conversation with goals that were first labeled as dreams but were then validated as possibilities.

Many hands make light work.
John Heywood

Even though I am a big fan of solitude, I also see the value in community. Community is important because engaging with others affords collaboration, provides a different perspective from another set of eyes, and offers a voice of reason – which can be validation to proceed or a cautionary suggestion to step on the breaks.  If you have yet to find your tribe – one that encourages you, feeds your soul, and calls you out on your crazy – then you need to start engaging. Because they are out there, you just need to engage with others to find them.

That thought provided a nice segway and transition to March’s word: be. I wanted to take my engaging with others a step further and the introvert that I am meant that I need to be courageous. Yeah, courageous enough to put myself out there, and that I did. I am already in a group of local artists from assorted disciplines, who encourage each other and help provide opinions when asked. But I wanted a circle of artists who are a part of my same niche, so I formed a group of Christian Artists from different parts of the US (and one outside the US). While we have not met in person, we have spent the past many weeks with nearly daily (but brief) interactions where we shared each other’s artwork and tidbits from our lives, and provided encouragement specifically for our faith based art. It took courage, but I engaged with (even more) others beyond another month. What resulted was increased productivity. Not because it was a competition – we all have our own pace and style, despite all being Christian Letterers. But, if I was going to be giving encouragement, I wanted it too. And, like magic, when I got more work done, my sales went up. Beyond my month to be courageous, I continued into April and reconnected with another local creativepreneur whom we plan to have an occasional work-in (which should also increase my productivity) and met in person a creative-celebrity who connected and started to put the gears in motion for a collaborative project that will debut in the fall.  The point here is that go with God’s timing on things, and if you have the guts to be courageous and engage with others, (good) shit happens.




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