I’ve been paralyzed by frustration in my creative business this last month. Usually when this happens, the only solution is to pull out my journal and start talking to God and work it out with Him using the Gospel. The following is straight from my journal: a frank conversation I had with Jesus about the root of my frustration. Because He cares and wants to talk to me. Hopefully this encourages you to talk to God about it. Whatever ‘it’ is.
Note: I have not been openly Christian on my blog thus far but because it is the most important identity I have–being an artist is secondary–, it is not fair to exclude my relationship with God from my relationship with my art. I am bridging the non-existent gap for you in this post.
Lord, I feel so discouraged in my art and my business. I feel like I should be further along in my revenue, even though I have not been very consistent in my work. I have not seen a lot of self-control in my business practices in general and I know there are practical things I can do. But ultimately it is a heart issue.
Please help me. You are in charge and in control of this journey I’m on and have me where I’m supposed to be. I want to be content where I am in my business while working hard to keep growing. Please allow me to trust You to give me the strength I need to do that. I need You.
I think my self-control issues are sin and need to be repented of. Thank you for showing them to me. I repent of the sin of depending on myself for success and not You for everything. I repent of my sin of pursuing comfort and not having self-control to tackle the hard things about work, like getting up in the morning.
I desperately need You to change me. I know that starts with time with You. Thank you for drawing me in. Please don’t ever let me go. Please continue to expose the sin in my heart. I want it out, though I don’t always know where to start.
My self-sufficiency constantly brings to mind the “practical” solutions I can use to develop better habits. Which are fine, and I will come back to that, but I know in my heart I have to start with You. You are the one who changes hearts. Plus I know myself well enough to notice sin when the Spirit exposes it. This is not just a better habits issue, it’s a sin issue, that I really think is ultimately rooted in mistrust of You. I try to go my own way, which, frankly, is one of fear and discouragement instead of running straight to You. It’s why I drag my feet when I need to launch new products and services.
I’m terrified that something is going to fail.
Am I in charge of that? The failing I mean? Of course not! I can do my best with the knowledge and experience I have to do it well, but the result is just not up to me. Plus, logically, the less I do, the less chance I will have of making sales and growing my business.
Where is the courage I used to have? Courage that was based on God as my rock and knowing that when, not if, I fail at something, I would be falling back on Him? There are far worse places to be then in the arms of my Savior, even as a failure. Worse places like the terrifying isolation and loneliness that self-sufficiency takes me. A place where not a lot, if any, good things happen and where I know I don’t, can’t, belong as a child of God.
Like Psalm 28 says. The Lord is my shield and my strength. Not Rachel. Not Rachel’s perseverence. Not Rachel’s art talent or creativity. Those things are gifts to me to use but they are not the help I lean on when I am empty and when I am full.
This is a truth I am constantly having the learn the hard way. I am so forgetful.
Which is why it is so so so important to spend time with my Help every single day. Because I forget. I forget who He is and I forget who I am. When that happens, the roles get switched in my head and I start thinking that I am God. Then the despair comes. Trying to be something or someone I’m not is awful. Even our unbelieving American culture tells us that. Be yourself! Love yourself as you are! There’s a lot of bad thinking that goes along with that but at its core, the message acknowledges the impossibility of being someone I’m not. The misery of it.
So who am I? I am a creation made in the image of God, desperately needing to be saved from the slavery of my dead nature who by faith in God’s mercy and grace, His Son’s resurrection life was breathed into me so that now I can know God and know real freedom and joy and love, living in His glory and pleasure forever.
That is magnificent.
Who in their right mind would not embrace this identity and never look back? It doesn’t make sense for me to try to be God and lean on myself. That is the quickest way back to the darkness and bondage that I have been freed from at the cost of Jesus’ life. I spit on Jesus’ sacrifice when I buy into the lie that I can help myself. On my own strength say “I got this.” Even though I don’t say this consciously, it is said very clearly when I neglect my alone time with God, when I choose not to pray about decisions, when I am not content with where I’m at in life, because, really, I could do better.
The Holy Spirit has captured my thoughts and exposed this sin for what it is: dark, ugly, but most importantly, forgiven and covered under the sacrifice Jesus made.
And so I run.
Away from the darkness and into the light of the majesty of God. Every day, this is a choice and a fight. Some days are harder than others but every day I can choose to not put a wall between me and my Savior. Every day, I can choose to turn to Him and away from my own nature. It doesn’t get old either. Every time, it is unexpectedly beautiful. I don’t know why I am always so surprised. I guess I’m a forgetful person.