Worship, Create, Dream

Be free to Worship God. Create with abandonement because He is the Creator. Let's discover our Dreams together.


2 Comments

Creating is a Challenge

Enjoy-a-beautiful-day-at-go

Reading books by noted authors depicting their challenges (emotional and physical ) may cause you to second guess if being creative is actually what  you want to sink your teeth into.  The encouragement you were looking for, the kudos, the high fives to satisfy an unmet need might be smacked with their own angst describing  their own stress while trying to complete a project.

A short book  “THE WRITING LIFE” by Annie Dillard is a great read describing the normal non glorious life in the actual procedure of being a writer.  To accomplish your literary art you need to do two things.-

  1. Sit Down.
  2. Put words on the screen or the paper.

Does that sound very exciting? What if the words do not come? What if the line of words you put down one minute look horrible the next and you wasted half of an hour of your  time? (the dishes are calling to be washed).

You have been called to express. It is part of your inner being. If the life you live has also said “Yes” to Jesus, you have  said yes to  bringing His Kingdom to earth as it is in Heaven.  Your calling is to Create for the Kingdom.

You NEED   to create ( I am not limiting this to writing. Put whatever God is calling to you to do)

These quotes  from Annie’s book can apply to all creatives.

 “’One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it lose it all, right away, every time.’ 1

‘The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now.’ 2

‘Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you.’” 3

What is creativity to you?

Little snow person

Is it putting words on paper? Any student in a sophomore English class can do that to pass a class. Taking pictures with a point and shoot camera?  All the aunts coming to the summer reunion can do the same thing.    A creative has a deep desire to take a rough path expressing life through words, will embark on an artistic adventure with the canvas,  will  see through a lens and  express what they see with their souls.

   Creativity is worship.IMG_4602

The two book, I mentioned in my last post,  The Creative Call  by Janice Elsheimer and a million little ways by Emily p. Freeman  have been great helps in freeing my creative thinking process.  I am going to propose to you a statement simultaneously approached in both books.   This statement does not deal with a certain technique or style. It does not give you tips on building your platform. This connects you and your creativity.

In the comment line below, feel free to finish this statement:

The words that reflect how I feel  in/when creating are:

Be as candid as you wish. If you are honest, the response may surprise you.

I will share a few of my own to get you going.

Humble, (I get to play in God’s  Kingdom  )

Awestruck (This is fantastic)

WOW ( Did I write that? Did that come from my camera? COOL)

Excited( Ideas, Feelings, Emotions, flows around  my head. With typing and writing , a tangible essence appears)

Worshipful (Taking the beauty I receive both  easy or harsh.  I make a tangible sacrifice of praise.)

Full of wonder!

Fearful (Am I really supposed to be doing this?)

Guilty (This is not really serving.)

Not good enough.  Not bringing in money –( Comparing my work to others so the time and money I spend is really  a waste.)

With thoughts such as these, no wonder the full creative flow of many people is being hindered.

In the artists, when the the burning fire of creativity is hindered by frostiness of negative emotions, nothing can flow.

Where are you in your creative process?  As you have allowed the reality of creativity to be come alive within you, do you see God taking you on a path of deeper freedom?  Not “only to make, but also to create”

To be an artist is a challenge.Another-view-of-frozen-Goos

Life and creativity is a challenge

Allow God to gently pull back the carpet in areas He wants to bring healing.  The feelings of guilt, comparison, not good enough, and even “this is a waste of time and money” may be a result of how you feel about yourself. Does God want to set you free concerning deeper issues?

Take time ,#goslow. What is God doing to make you become more the creative He intended for you in the first place? Annie Dillard states that sadly we can limit the freedom God wants to express through us.

Engage in what God is doing in you!

The artist, writer, creative He has called you to be has a purpose in His Kingdom. The more we are free of the junk clogging our pipes, we are able to receive and flow with joy in the gifts God gave to us.

10 “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded.

                                                                                            Exodus 35: 10 NIV

P_20160629_173656_DF

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!

Two extra  thoughts to ponder

  • Are you limiting yourself in creating with total abandonment because of inner fears i.e.  rejection, comparison, or past family comments?
  • Do you keep from completing projects for the same reasons or have you just lost your dream?

Feel free to leave your thoughts on this subject. We are all this road to discover and release our creativity together.

——————————————————————————————————————————-

1Annie Dillard, THE WRITING LIFE, ( New York :Harper Perennial )  ©1990  p.78

2Dillard, THE WRITING LIFE,p78

3Dillard, THE WRITING LIFE, p79

Advertisements


2 Comments

Delight in The Lord

IMG_1838

Psalm 37:4

4 Delight yourself in the Lord,

   and he will give you the desires of your heart.

                                                                                     ESV

Why would I experience

FEAR

                                                                         if I am receiving the desires of my heart?

That sounds absurd. Or does it?

As I was reading the devotional A STORY OF GOD AND ALL OF US  REFLECTIONS,  I came across this statement. It  seemed rather comical.:

“If a Mercedes Benz is the desire of your heart, your heart probably needs a change..”1

Seriously, though, when was the last time you asked the question:

“What is the desire of my heart?”

God saw the true desire of my heart when I looked to Him and said YES  44 years ago. With tear filled eyes and a heart filled with more love than I had ever known, I took His Hand.

The desire of my heart was to love Him and allow Him to love me.

WORSHIP!

img_2420

JpegJpeg

When I opened my hands, my life, my heart to God and said YES  that also declared,” I trust  you. I trust You to know the desires of my heart deeper than I know them.”

.

.      What was the true desires of my heart?

For me, freedom was vocal worship and music.  I could not see deep reality or intimacy in connecting with God  any way  other than participating on worship teams.  It was not for the sake of being up front. It was connecting in the beauty of worship. It was a gift to God and others.

Suddenly  a radical change took place many years ago. I was no longer  asked or needed to participate on the vocal worship teams.  Devastation hit. My heart’s desire came crashing down around me. How could I show my  extravagant, intimate love if not through music?

He is the Creator.  I am not.

God is my  creator. He put my parts together. He  knows me (Psalm 139). If God knows me that well, He also knows the needed steps to reach the core .   I thought music was  the reflection of my heart’s desire to intimately worship God and reflect that love forever. It was holy. It was good.

 What is my heart’s desire?

WORSHIP

God gave me a heart of worship not satisfied with anything less than ultimate intimacy and true freedom.   God deserves the best.

God asked : “Will you Worship Me the way I call you to Worship Me?”

My response is: “That is the desire of my heart!”

I have been answering this question in ways  I never would have imagined. It has not stopped either. My heart’s desire is to  worship  with God calling the shots. The deeper He calls me into intimacy with Him, I am free to share what I receive.

Have you lost a job? Been asked to step down from calling you felt was from God? Felt as though something has been taken away and you just do not know why?  You may feel :

  •  Pain
  •  Fear
  • Rejection toward your writing, your gift
  • Should I even try again?
  • Has God pulled the rug from under your feet. .

These questions and more are not doubting your delight in God. It is being honest. You need to run to the only One who will free you in finding your true heart’s desire. Do not run from  community either.  Run to the people in the community you can trust. Delighting in God is going to Him.  Be honest with Him in your pain and doubts so He can free you to discover the true desires of your heart.
Discovering your heart’s desire, is not a one time activity. It is a wonderful exciting journey through your entire life. God created you. He will go to those places where only He can free you. There may be fear along the ride in the uncertainties, but you are never alone.

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!

where-does-my-help-come-from


Psalm 121 MSG

1-2 I look up to the mountains;

does my strength come from mountains?

No, my strength comes from God,

who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

3-4He won’t let you stumble,

your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.

Not on your life! Israel’s

Guardian will never doze or sleep


1A STORY OF GOD AND ALL OF US  REFLECTIONS.  by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett ©2013 day 32

Thank you Anna for allowing me to use your photo overlooking the mountains. Taken by her friend Nicholas.


Leave a comment

Can Fear Be A Tool?

Fear Not Is 41 10.jpg

We say Yes to following God. That is the total desire of our heart. We want to worship Him with our whole being. What gets in the way? What fear jumps in the road and blocks our  total abandonment?

Reading  scriptures over and over. Is that the trick? Receiving all stars for knowing the  memory verses we studied in Sunday School should count for something —Right?  Going to Church Services every Sunday. Why doesn’t that make fears big and small  flee?

I prayed while sitting in between my son and daughter while riding to the MSP airport. We were on our way  to visit our relatives in Orlando this last December.  Before  we turned into the lanes where friends were to drop us off, my heart started racing:

  • Would I be able to walk through the upcoming challenge knowing exactly what I am to do?
  • Where is my passport?
  •  If I am asked a question,  will  my mind go completely blank and I just stand there?
  •  Will I be able to walk straight over the metal detector or will the beeper go off letting everyone know someone (me) is holding up the long line?

Jpeg

 

Jpeg

 

IMG_0775

Don’t beat yourself over the head when experiencing fear of any kind.  Instead, ask why is the emotion coming over you? Is a message, big or little, being shared through this circumstance?                                     .

Throughout the scriptures, God declares and reveals His authority. Events began in tremendous fear, but it was in walking through His lead where peace flowed.

 

Joshua knew it was his responsibility  to lead the Israelites. Moses died.  Joshua had become the new leader. Joshua was fearful. Joshua questioned would these people give  him the same trust as they gave to Moses? Many reasons for a panic attack.

The relationship God and Joshua already had caused this man to go to God and seek guidance. Here are the words of encouragement Joshua received:

Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

                                                                                                         Joshua 1:8  MSG.

 

The beauty of Joshua’s Yes  was exposed in his fear. He cried out to God. God gave Joshua exactly the words he needed. The encouragement called out the courage God put  inside  Joshua allowing him to do the YES.

In the empty slots not covered in scriptures when Joshua walked by himself, did fear try to grip his thoughts? Possibly, but Joshua was true in keeping his eyes and heart set to the direction pointed toward God. Knowing God surrounded him, Joshua was able to lay the fear where it needed to go and receive strength.

God gives strong words to Joshua ( Don’t be timid) and to Isaiah ( So  Fear Not)  in real times of real need. God promises ” God is with you every step” , and “I will strengthen you and help you.” These are not just words of a command to do something.  It is through the relationship of love already flowing between God and these men where this truth is shared and received.

In hands of a loving God, fear can be a tool showing me something,  or exposing something.  In the airport, I was completely surrounded in myself.  I got antsy. I got nervous about my passport.  I made the beeper go off and needed to be checked.  (I was wearing a metal belt. Not the smartest thing.)  I was anxious and fearful of looking stupid.

It is a small fear, but still a tool to which  God graciously used.

Fear can stop me from being the person God created me to be. It can loom large, but is it really more than silly threads I can cut with the Sword of the Spirit?

In this fear, my head had no room to hear God’s still quiet voice telling me “I love you My precious Daughter, do not be afraid”. I was protecting  myself in my fear where I would usually be open to hear His voice to see if anyone might be in need of prayer because of their anxiety.

The beauty of saying YES to our Father doesn’t matter whether the situation is as grand as leading the Israelites to the Promise Land or going through all the airport ins and outs. God is taking the hand of the one who is listening. It is an adventure to the one He is guiding, to the one obeying.

It is far more than repeating verses. It is having a conversation with the One who loves me and the One I love.img_0897img_0899 It is recognizing my weakness and my need. I empty myself and receive His strength.img_0902IMG_0169

As you release fears to the One who created the Universe, look to see if God is teaching you something in and through the process. Be free to worship as you were created.


2 Comments

Walking Through the Door

At the end of July, I turn sixty-one!!!!.

For me that is a scary proposal. Walking through doors that have never been opened  before. Yes  at times, it causes  a bit of anxiety. ( Senior citizen labels come upon me as I can now qualify for certain discounts. My last child graduated from high school.  No turning back from this stage.) I have gone from working and  unmarried to married and working to married and being a stay at home mom. This final stage has lasted the last 18 years.  As I mentioned before, that job filled my life with ride-sharing to school, making lunches, co-coordinating school schedules for two students.  Helping memorize speeches for contests, going to basketball games etc.  Still being a part of my daughter’s life as she went to college here in Duluth and watching her graduate.  Now my son has graduated from high school and my daughter is in Sicily.

I am looking at my present story through a fog or mist asking a question: What do you want me to do now Lord?

I have days where the air is clear and mind has free direction. My days are basically empty of the aforementioned requirements so therefore I can fly to new heights of adventures.

Suddenly, I crash to the reality of barriers and questions that surround me. The free time can look as much as a fearful space to fill in a positive manner or an abundant gift and blessing .

IMG_2417IMG_2478Creativity and Worship
I am seeking the expression of “me”. I have been  surrounded in raising children for such a long time that this sudden freedom at my age, is internally and mentally challenging.  Ladies I know I am not the only one who experiences  searching a deeper expression of themselves and God in their walk.
I will go back to the previous question. What is causing the barrier for me?
FEAR~~~~~ Fear to step out and take risks. Fear to give myself permission to do what it takes to express and experience the depth, breadth and width of what it takes to walk through this door.
There are possibly some reasonable cautions that stop me at the door. My mind is not as quick. I am not driving as much as I use to so transportation is a challenge to overcome. Exciting adventures to others  have small but physical challenges to me. Not so much fun anymore.
When I was younger, looking the fool was not so terrible. I would laugh. Now it is hard for me to try new things in the fear of  failure.  Having grace for myself has somehow slipped away.
If I have trouble having grace for myself, will others have grace for me, or will I see disgust or worse —pity?  I am not that old.
My daughter Anna is receiving and giving a great life lesson. She is in Sicily working with an organization called OneHope /Cultivate.

Preconceptions she had concerning her ministry are getting revamped. Anna was willing to take a risk. From her risk taking and willingness to learn, others are receiving abundant gifts of love.  (https://acker197.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/weeks-three-four-muffins-details-conversations)
Am I willing to take the risks open to me now?
Fear rears its head to point out what I cannot do. Fear comes out to say I do not have the ability, money, mental capacity needed to explore the  creative ventures I want to pursue. It is beyond me. Give up.
After I am quiet,  and  tears are shed,  I listen to the still small voice in my head that calls to the deeper desire in my heart to express what is inside. I look to what can be done.

 Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

The days I walk in the mist are filled with tears. God does not leave me. His hand is always taking mine. At times we stand still and He just holds me because I do not know where to move.  That is OK. I smile at the patience He has with me.
The encouragement that I want to leave today is:  do not stop dreaming- take your medium. Release from the depths, the freedom of His life you have been given. Take classes and study to get better knowledge of your creative tools. Do not allow your fear to define you.  Do not allow the outside to put barriers on you. (age, fear, negativity, time, preconceptions ). Seek what God wants to say as He draws it out. Worship!!!
Join me in this process of exploration and discovery (writing, creating, photography, worship, being).

IMG_2313

If you are at this stage of discovery, feel free to share a comment on how you have learned to walk through the door. If you can identify in any way,  express a piece of encouragement or post a question.   🙂
IMG_2420Bless Him. Keep Creating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

GOING INTO DARKNESS INTO LIGHT

Going into Darkness into Light

It was suggested by one of the Creative Arts leaders in our church to have members write stories how God has  brought them from Darkness into Light during the Lenten Season.  This is an extended portion of what I shared.

I walked into darkness seriously questioning if I was walking any longer. I did not start in darkness. My words of encouragement are: Even when you don’t feel it, even if you do not go anywhere in the darkness hold on!
My early and middle time of meditation through this Lenten season was not a joyous period. In fact, I seriously questioned if I was in God’s hand at all.  I could not write which was emotionally painful. Creatives all around me were exploding in many areas. I was in the dark.  The meditations and  scriptures I kept reading on a daily basis were as flat as pancakes. I kept taking in with nothing grabbing me, to speaking to my soul. Nothing  sticking inside long enough to carry me through the whole day.  With nothing sticking, I  had nothing to give out. I felt very irritable and angry. I kept asking God “Why Why was this happening to me,? Was this going to end?”

In the midst of this emotional drama I was struck with a virus that lasted for a couple of weeks. It was painful.  I did not see a glimmer of light even though I continued to faithfully pursue God through the Lenten Meditations.
I looked out my window. I saw leafless branches crisscrossing in front of the sky. The blue was visible.IMG_1757

Normally I like trees. This time the trees were taunting me reflecting the example of the something just standing in the way of clarity. That is exactly how my brain felt.
The time of revelation, the time to walk into light was not happening. Was this form of worship my creative writing being taken from me? I was empty.

In a time of emptiness, when all the walls around me are closing in, the hopeless statements are around all the time.   I went day by day with no gift to give, still searching to God for the release.
I remember sitting on the couch one day, looking out the same long window as before while in the middle of all the confusion and pain. I was met in my loneliness. I was completely empty and that is when God came.

God asked me to take a step into a deeper walk with my Him when the top layer of life does not seem smooth.  Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls; PS 42:7. The waterfalls are loud, no other sound can be heard,IMG_0480

IMG_0481 but as I cry out, God hears me and His response is, ”Will you choose to walk with me Sandi when I ask you too ?”
God takes the hand reaching out to Him, taking on a journey beyond your control if you are willing to trust. In opening myself to God, He shared a portion of His heart with me.
On the Thursday night  before He was dragged out of the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus made a phenomenal decision.    He said to His Father, “Not my will but yours”.
For a very long time, I thought this meant “Yes” to the pain and suffering, false accusations, etc. It meant this and more. Jesus agreed to accept the terms of the contract made long ago and abide by it.
This contract decreed Jesus  not only experience the pain as the pure, unblemished sacrificial lamb on the cross in our place.    It was the pain to the separation we need not experience. Jesus walked into the darkness. Father could not look on His Son for the first time because the Son was taking on all of eternities filth, crime, horror, and sin. This was by choice. Jesus love for us. God’s Love for us.

This was the first time in  Eternity  Father/Son who had never known a break in their Love their intimate connection would experience a separation.  They were willing  to experience a darkness as nothing imaginable  because they did not want us to know eternity without the opportunity to know TRUE ETERNAL LOVE.
Jesus,  did not flinch, did not hold a grudge, did not hold anger toward us as He was receiving each and every hate filled accusation of being a blasphemer. Each blow, spit or nail pounded into his flesh was not returned with an outcry of resentment. Jesus looked at His accusers from the past, the present and into the future which includes you and me with love, forgiveness and hope because this is where the restitution of eternal intimacy between God and His children began. Finally no more barriers on God’s End.
For a brief moment in time the closest intimate relationship was severed. This was by choice. This was by love. This was because the love for me was deeper. The break was intense. The break was severe. The break caused purification so I would not be separated from my Heavenly Father who truly loves me. The break abolished any lasting ties that Satan had over me.
This is the freedom bought for me. I don’t always walk in it. I don’t always hear it. That does discount it being a fact and truth.. This love is far greater than anyone can ever imagine.
God opened to me in my thread of emptiness the truth of my freedom to worship God with no barriers now and forever.
The Father/Son hand is always extended to me. They know my heart’s desire is to take me deeper into their love no matter the cost. I am glad they take me at my word. They do not leave me. Rather they are persistently willing to take off layers so I can see.
I received a dark to light gift. It is not for me alone. Take into your hearts the love the Father and Son have for you. They were willing to allow a break of their intense Holy Love because of their love for me- for you.

Receive the Restoration in the Resurrection. Jesus did not stay in the Tomb. Receive the light. Jesus has risen. IMG_1666


1 Comment

Dreaming is Risky

Dreaming is risky. Creating is risky.
You are finally given the permission to go beyond a dream. You can look beyond the sweet adventures (or not so sweet) that occur during your sleeping time and pursue “exciting or unusual experiences. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.” (Cool Definition. It came from Wikipedia). The Dream is real. It is physical. It is set in your lap. What will you do?
That was a situation that occurred to me this last summer. I received a wonderful camera-second hand EOS 300D Rebel Digital. I am pursuing portions of my dreams.  I take close ups of bee wings on flowers IMG_0776
and grasshoppers on blades of grass.IMG_0622
The dream is to capture portions of God’s creation in a creative way that is poetic and has meaning.
Yea! Fun! Go play with a camera. It turned out not to be all fun and games. With a dream comes a price.
OH NO. You may say—I don’ t want to hear about a price. My life has been too hard the way it is with raising kids, or not having kids. Being married, or not being married. I can finally pursue a dream that has been dormant and now it comes with a price. Well, good-bye.
Don’t leave. This dream has been put inside of you by a Creator that will give you the strength to really obtain it.

In July 2014, my family went to Naniboujou Lodge and Restaurant in northern MN for some  “no internet/ no tv /no cellphone” time together. Laughter, skipping rocks, hikes, enjoying the beautiful North Shore, family time.

I cannot move as quickly or as smoothly as I once did. Some of this is due to wearing tri-focals.  Being mobile on uneven terrain and rocks while trying to keep up with others can be emotionally and physically challenging.  My family was walking on the breakwater out to the lighthouse at Grand Marais.  Everyone else enjoyed the surroundings far ahead of me. My son was running from rock to rock having a blast trying to see how close he could get to the water. My daughter was strolling along as if this were a normal side walk in the neighborhood. I am gingerly going step by step trying not to fall or drop my camera. The inner friction of fear inside of me is maddening. Why can’t I just have fun as everyone else is?  There really is a battle going on inside of me. I hate the fear. It is strong. The desire to go for the dream is stronger still. I hear a IMG_0422tender voice inside saying to me, “If you don’t go on, you will not catch the waves”.  Pete has come back to me gently realizing that I am having difficulty keeping up with the rest of the family. He tells me that I do not have to go out to the light house if I don’t want to.
Through tears, I told Pete the inner encouragement that I received. I told him to go on. With camera in hand, I carefully walked  and recorded the beauty.

IMG_0424IMG_0426IMG_0430
I made it to the light house and back.

IMG_0431
What are your dreams? Just as the dreams in the Old Testament, ours may be challenging in ways  we cannot imagine.  The physical expression of these dreams always included a risk.  God has put dreams into your life. Keep your eyes on Him. Let Him be the one who pulls them out. It will mean taking risks. The fullness of being everything you are meant to be is so worth it.
NIV Ps 32. 4 Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.