Proverbs 18:16: A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.
I feel like often we underestimate the power and the gifts we’re given. I think that oftentimes people will talk themselves out of making a step and taking a stand because they devalue what they have. I’ve been guilty of this many time myself. You can over think things. You can over-analyze things to death and never even get started. But I think oftentimes once you take those steps and just DO and recognize where your giftings and natural bends are and if we feed into them we can nurture them. That investment is where it makes a way for us. In my own story, I had a long journey of finding my own style of painting. I’ve always loved to create. I’ve always loved crafting and putting things together and sewing and cross stitching when I was younger, things that my grandmother had taught me. But, I think partly too, life experience will also propel you into a place that grows your gift as well. So you need to put in the time but also injecting life experience into your work in my case in my creativity and really recognizing the value of time.
It took 20 years of life in between all the creative moments and entering into a season of healing and painting and coming out of that pain and that processing for me. I don’t know how it would have come any other way. So I think that the doing and the turning back to what heals and lights me up and what is play for me is something that I focused on and it made a way for me. Part of that is going to be God’s timing in all of it. I think we can often be premature in our thoughts and actions trying to make things happen. We lose our patience oftentimes right before success, whatever that looks like for us, happens. I think going back to that scripture, having faith and speaking and praying it forward so you know that these hard times, these dead times, in my gifting, that God is making a way. If you haven’t seen success yet you are starting from scratch and you’re asking for some semblance of success, but you continue you realize you are growing from success to success and it never stops. Recently my son was asking me what I was listening to and it was a business podcast and he said, “Well, don’t you already have a business?” I just explained to him if you’re in business you’re always learning about and growing in business. It’s just what we do, right? In whatever we do. In my craft, I still buy art magazines and still study other people’s work and research and ponder different ways to utilize my gift and to improve on it. I don’t think I’ll ever “arrive”. It’s living, it’s growing, it’s changing all the time. I think we always have to stay challenged.
When we are faithful with the gifts, the creativity that God has given us, and when we give the time to it and invest in it and believe He is making a way for it, then we have already taken the first step. I think that gives us fuel and motivation to continue even when it seems like things are not happening. We think God’s promises expire because things don’t happen fast enough for us and we do ourselves a disservice to quit too early. Of course if you aren’t making income you have to work so that may mean you work a job for a season that you don’t love while you are building something else. And that’s OK! That’s what it has to look like for a lot of people. But I love looking back (and it has taken us along time) and I see a beautifully woven story that God has orchestrated that intertwines my husband’s skill set with mine where he is the photographer and he can photograph my artwork because he’s learned it along the way. We have been able to work together more now as a team than we ever have.
I want to be an encouragement to you and challenge you. Things for you may be taking longer and requiring a whole lot more effort that you may have anticipated, which is usually the case, but the fruit of your labor is so incredibly worth it. The way that your work makes for you will look different than ours, and that’s okay. There’s all different expressions and seasons. The fingerprint of your work is going to be different than anyone else’s. Just remembering that…that God wires us differently for a purpose. He doesn’t give you gifts that He doesn’t plan on using and a lot of times it’s just walking through those steps and taking that journey and understanding He will guide those steps. BUT we have to TAKE those steps and put one foot in front of the other. We have to dare ourselves to go for it. I dare you to go for it!