The beginning of March has been hard for me that I needed the reminder of Philippians 3:14 to “press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” I have felt discouraged and saddened over the death of a wonderful friend. He worked on his Master’s in Counseling when I did and was such an encouragement to me during that time. He ended up getting married and making a home in the same area. So I have had the privilege of seeing him from time to time. I knew his health took a turn for the worse and that a number of circumstances happened that set him back, but I had prayed (and hoped) things would get better for him. Therefore, it was a shock to hear that his health declined and he entered the gates of heaven.
It’s hard for me to understand such tragedy, such hardship…well, at least on this side of heaven . My friend was an amazing man and helped so many people with his gift of a listening ear and exhortation to move others in a healthy direction.
I will miss seeing him, but know he is at peace. I can allow the goodness the Lord did through him to live on in me.
So, it is just like the Lord to place Philippians 3:14 before me to be an encouragement. Little did I know, when I started working on this idea step-by-step a few weeks ago, that it would give me a boost to “press on” today. It is my hope that it will encourage you as well as you receive this Truth.
I use to think I had to have a massive amount of time to work on paintings. I had the “all or nothing” approach to projects. That was until the Lord placed on my heart to write a children’s book, Happy Heart: Fill’er Up!, so children would see how to plant God’s Word in their hearts and live it out. This vision was on my mind day and night. Finally, I carved out time to work on it little by little. Then, after two years, it was completed. I am grateful the Lord gave me the privilege to write it down and that he had faith in me to do it!
This taught me a lesson that very few things are accomplished in one day, week, month or even a year. The point is just start. Not always with a goal in mind, but with an attitude to be faithful (to keep at it) and the results will come. If we stay stagnant, we loose hope and get stuck (feel stuck).
I still work a full time job and teach 30 – 40 first – third grade students with a local homeschool co-op. However, I can also pursue my passion for creating and help encourage others through art. I just try to be faithful with the time I do have and not focus on the time I do not have.
A few things come to my mind that have helped me accomplish what the Lord places on my heart. I say the Lord has because I truly believe that every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17). Some of these points can be applied to other areas of our lives as well (started putting them into practice to simplify my entire household…I will save that for another post!).
1. Be Intentional
Just like anything in life that is worth something to you, you have to make the time to do it. This applies to relationships as well. I would never want “art” to come before my husband. I make sure I am intentional in spending quality time with him before anything else on my agenda. Then, I use a few minutes here and there to add a base coat and then take another few minutes on another day to add another layer and so on until the painting is finished. Remember, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’
Create a space in your home that is just for you (use a closet, upstairs hallway, corner of a room, porch/patio, garage, you name it, find it and claim it!). I am very visual..out of site, out of mind. I have moved things around in my space until I finally had things where I could see them and quickly reach them.
Actually, I have two desk in the corner of our living room that I use for painting and writing. One was a gift from a dear man at my church and it is perfect for art supplies (20 little drawers). So I suggest getting a table/desk that fits your needs (or space) and some storage items that work for you. I have the items/tools I use on a daily basis around my desk in containers, on pegboard, and in drawers.
Also, my desk space has room for me to keep a canvas out on it. This allows me to take 10 minutes and add some paint to it when I have a moment. Also, I can sit down, quiet my self, and do a little writing as well.
I have to admit that organizing my studio space is a work in progress for me. Again, I am an out of site, out of mind type. Therefore, I have learned to place labels on drawers, baskets and filing compartments so I know where supplies are located.
I love to repurpose items. An old shoe shine box holds my sketch pens and pastel sets and clay pots contain brushes and paints. This makes it quick and helpful me to place items back (keeping my desk free of clutter).
In addition, I store other supplies that I use for my art classes in clear bins so I can “see” what is in them. Since they are not everyday items for me to use, I keep them stacked on shelves in our basement.
Keep a sketchbook nearby to quickly draw ideas that come to mind. I have one near my bed (for some reason, ideas usually come to me at night…perhaps, I am most quiet then to take them in!:) I have to admit I have ideas drawn on napkins and envelops too. However, it is easier to keep track of them and keep them organized if they are in a book.
Have a space designated for things that give you inspiration to keep doing what you love to do. I use an old pin cushion board framed in barn wood that I bought at a yard sale. It hangs on the wall beside my desk. I Love it…the old barn wood is inspiration in itself! However, I add to it Scripture verses, sayings, notes from students and anything that adds life to what I am doing.
May you “press on” in what God has gifted and called you to do!