Ep 21 – Pressing into the Tipping Point

Welcome to The Kingdom Art Life, episode 21
One of the most frustrating things about being an artist in Christ is the journey of attaining this visceral, tangible vision He’s given you of your career life. Inside of you, it is so vivid that you feel like you can reach out and touch it.

Then there are thoughts that come to your mind, things that God leads you to do, instructions that come with such a sense of immediacy, and such urgency that you believe the floodgates are going to burst open as soon as you do it.

So you do it … and crickets.

Then the next instruction comes, and it comes with that same immediacy and urgency. So you think maybe I was wrong on the last one but this one is going to be it.

So you do it … and crickets.

And you do this again and again until you get to the place where you start to doubt the next instruction. You start to doubt very seriously whether you’re actually hearing God talk to you.  And in this doubt, you start to get confused about what to do next, and agitated because that fricking visceral vision won’t go away.

So you feel stuck. I know this place. I know this place very well. I have been on this journey for 20 years and am only now beginning to see notable momentum. I remember the times when God would tell me to host a workshop and no one would show up. Then the very next weekend He would tell me to do it again and no one would show up. He would tell me to write this book and I did it, thinking my obedience was going to change the situations in my life. And I had several copies sold. I’m grateful for those but it was nothing like what I sensed was going to happen. Then He led me to write the next book and I thought that was going to be the one to shift everything. So I wrote it and it did even worse than the first one. I remember all of the videos that He told me to record and post that it seemed like no one cared about. I thought once people saw what I had to offer that they would invite me to their workshop and they would invite me to teach. None of that happened.

But then a funny thing started happening. It was me following instructions to record a dance to an excerpt of one of the books that I wrote (one of the ones that didn’t really sell) and email it to someone that brought me into the season that I’m in now and introduced me to the people that I know now. That one act of obedience ended me up in Spain and connected to whole new world of people. It was my diligence to continue making those videos that it seemed like nobody cared to watch that got me noticed by a young lady from the Salvation Army.

I work with her now and that relationship has opened a tremendous door and allowed me to connect what God has given me to so many artists. It was my diligence to sit down and keep writing the next book that gave me this KAI curriculum which I am receiving more and more opportunity to now take to more and more artists.

It was my persistence to keep doing the next thing God told me to do. And this wasn’t on account of any virtue of mine. A lot of times I just felt like I had invested too much time to turn around and I just I had no choice now but to see it through. Some of it was because I just didn’t know what else to do. If this didn’t pan out, I was screwed. So, it wasn’t that I was always virtuous and trusting of God.

I was talking to a young man last night about this very same issue. He was at the point of giving up because everything that he did to attain this vision he carried was not working, and he didn’t know what else to do. He began to doubt if he was even on the right track, if he was even hearing God at all. The Lord brought this verse to me for him and I want to share it with you.

Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 Amplified version:

He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favorable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you know not what is the way of the wind, or how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a pregnant woman, even so you know not the work of God, Who does all. In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hands, for you know not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

One of the conversations we are having in our KAI workshops is how do we pursue a career in a way that honors faith? To say it another way, how do we pursue a career in a way that honors the process and working of faith? Here in Ecclesiastes, we get a key to what the process and the working of Faith looks like. And here’s what it looks like: there are times when God will lead you to do something and it will not produce the results you think it will produce. And it will not produce in the timing you expect it to produce, yet He expects you to continue doing the next instruction and not be impacted by your disappointment in the lack of results. This is because the bottom line is that there will be results but the way those results are attained are different than what you expect. They are different in timing, they are different in method, and they are different in form.

As we are pursuing our career, we have to accept that, as a person of faith, as a person cooperating with faith, this is a part of what comes with faith. We have to accept that there are times where God will lead us to do something where it doesn’t produce an immediate result.

I want to encourage you today to keep sowing your seed. Keep taking the next step. Keep sending that next email. Keep writing that next book, that next song. Keep making that next dance because you do not know which one will be the one to break it all open.

Years ago, I got a chance to speak to a woman named Dr. Ann Stevenson, who wrote a book called Restoring the Dance. She encouraged me so much when she told me that her book was published for 10 years before it ever gained any notice or momentum. I was speaking to a man who told me about Tommy Tenney and his story. He told me that Tommy Tenney’s book, God Chasers, which is so ubiquitous to us now, was printed for 5 years before anybody ever cared about anybody named Tommy Tenney. He had written the book and it wasn’t really selling when a friend, who was supposed to speak at this large convention, got sick and asked Tommy to take his place. Tommy took his place and guess what he taught at that large convention: God Chasers. And he sold 20000 copies of his book in one day.

Malcolm Gladwell calls it the tipping point. And the key is you have to stay in it until you get to your tipping point, because you do have a tipping point. Viola Davis was an established actress for 30 years before she ever got an Oscar. And despite all that she accomplished, she attributes her role in one movie, The Help, that shifted the trajectory of her career. Tyler Perry wrote 18 plays, many of them were nobody showed up, before his work ever took flight. And there is story after story after story of people with the same experience.

I know you’ve been doing it for a long time. I know that you’ve done things and it hasn’t worked. But I need you to get out of the conversation of whether your career is going to become what you see in your spirit. That needs to be a done deal. The whole reason you see it is because it already exists. You are just doing the work of bringing it from where it is to where you are. So I hope this encourages you today. I need you to keep sowing the seed because you don’t know which seed is going to be your tipping point. You don’t know which instruction, which act of obedience is going to blow the whole thing open for you. And I would be devastated for you to be one instruction shy of your tipping point, to have put so much work into this and never reach where you’re trying to reach — because you just stopped.

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Ep 20 – A Process for every Promise

Welcome to The Kingdom Art Life, episode 20.
This past Saturday morning, I was taking a break from writing to cook myself some soup; and the Lord said to me, Every promise has a process.

Then yesterday, I went to church with a dear sister and her pastor was talking about a vision the Lord gave him. Part of the vision was two images of buildings. The first image was of 3 and 4-story buildings. When he saw that image, he said the Lord told him This is not what I intended. Then the Lord told him, This is what I actually intended, and showed him a second image of buildings; but these buildings were skyscrapers.

This led me to research how foundations are laid for skyscrapers and I came across the story about the Wilshire Grand Hotel here in Los Angeles, which is slated to be the tallest building west of Chicago. I learned about all of the massive work that has to be done in the foundation before the part that we see from the street can ever be built.

The construction of the Wilshire Grand Hotel has been a massive feat, having broken several records throughout the construction process. After demolishing the original structure, they had to dig a foundation site that was five stories deep and the size of a city block. Then they had to create an infrastructure within the foundation with various systems to facilitate the pouring of 84 million pounds of concrete that had to be brought in by 2,120 trucks. Even before they were able to do that, they had to spend 6 months removing almost 250 truckloads of dirt every day.

And before that could happen, there was massive research done to test the fitness of the soil on the site to handle such a structure. There was massive research in engineering and architectural planning to make sure that the design of the skyscraper could support its own weight and the weight of all the people and furniture that would go into it. They also had to make sure it would be able to deal with regional weather issues, which in Los Angeles are strong Santa Ana winds and earthquakes.

It is interesting that Mr. Cho, the owner of the Wilshire Grand, had the desire to demolish and rebuild this site back in 1990. In reading about its process, it was a huge feat just to get to the point of laying the foundation.

The pastor yesterday talked about the discouragement some of us encounter when foundation laying is happening in our promise. During this part of our process, it feels like things are going the opposite way; and they are. Here’s why: because, to lay a foundation for a skyscraper you have to start the project by going down. When you look at a skyscraper from street level, there is no indication of anything existing below what you see. At street level, we see the building going from the street up. And if we don’t know anything about construction, we could miss why there is any necessity for any movement down, when the building goes up.

The Lord said every promise has a process. I once heard someone say that it takes a minimum of 10 years to create an overnight success. I think about my own journey and the amount of time it has taken for my foundation to be laid, which has been about 20 years. The reason I am able to talk so fluidly now about creating a harmonious relationship between faith, art, and career is because I this is what I’ve lived and this is how I live. I stayed in it, allowing time for the foundation to be laid so that I could walk in what God has given me to do. I am only now realizing that is what was happening. I just knew stay in it, don’t stop (no matter how hard it gets), and keep doing the next thing the Lord tells me to do.

Every promise of God has an external and internal process to the full manifestation of that promise. In episode 13, we talked about the external process which was the fact that there are things that have to occur, come together things, and fall in place before that which you asked for can be delivered or manifested. But today we are talking about the internal, formative process.

James 1:4 Amplified says but let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be people perfectly and fully developed with no defects, lacking nothing.

The formation process is necessary so that when your skyscraper is constructed, when your promise matures, it doesn’t collapse on itself, it doesn’t topple, it doesn’t destroy you – because you have been tested, formed and equipped to handle the weight and responsibilities of it. The only thing that makes it difficult for us to weather this process is our own impatience; but it’s deeper than that. There is also a lot of fear in thinking that we will miss our window. If we don’t move now, or if it doesn’t happen for us now, we fear that age or the shifting of trends and taste will take away our moment of opportunity. But that is not true. What God has for you is for you.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “to everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” The scripture says there is a time. That’s a declaration; not a question, and not a suggestion.

Some of you may think: what if I miss my time? If you are following the Lord, and He is ordering your steps, there is no way you can miss it. But, let’s play and say that you do miss an opportunity. Isn’t He the God who redeems the time and makes crooked roads straight. If you allow Him to lead you, He’ll get you right back on track.

If you pair that with Phil 1:6, where we’re assured that God is faithful to complete the good work He began in you, you can rest assured that no matter how long your process takes, there is a season and a time for your promise. Oh, and one more thing: save yourself some anxiety in your process by not comparing yourself to others. We all have processes of varying lengths and experiences. Give yourself permission to walk your walk.

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Ep 19 – A Time for Joy

Welcome to the Kingdom Art Life, episode 19.

I just came back from a beautiful weekend in the Santa Cruz mountains where I spent several days attending the Creative Arts Retreat with the Salvation Army. While there, I got to facilitate two KAI sessions. In the first one, I met this really cool break dancer. After our session, on the walk over to breakfast, he started to share with me how the session resonated with him because sometimes, when he’s taking class or performing, he struggles with making sure he gives God the glory. He feels bad because sometimes he forgets to give God the glory. I spoke to him about it but the Holy Spirit kept talking to me about it and now I want to talk to you about it.

Talking to this young man made me remember several similar conversations I’ve had with artists who, it seems like, almost feel bad for enjoying their art too much. I find this very interesting. On a side note, one of the by-products of this KAI work that I’m doing with artists is helping them experience and embrace the liberty and the life found in relationship with God. We have reduced relationship with Him to service only, and doing that robs us, and Him, of such deep, joyous, intimate connection that we both desire to have with one another.

So what did the Holy Spirit teach me about this matter? We are artists. As artists, we have artistic and creative gifts. Here’s what He told me: those gifts have been given to us for service, and communion, and enjoyment.

Family, the gifts are for service, communion, and enjoyment. Why are we so reticent, so hesitant, so afraid to simply enjoy God’s goodness to us? You know I like to use real examples, so, to me, it’s like sex. Many times, in the church, we have problems simply enjoying sex, or talking about sex as something that can be simply enjoyed. It is a gift from God. Yes, it is used for service: to procreate. But it’s also for communion, for a man and wife to spend time together and get closer to one another. But, y’all let’s live a little… it’s also for fun. Sex is fun! Why are we so afraid to admit that and embrace itt? We can’t we just admit that it feels so good and we have an amazing time doing it, like God, Himself, didn’t build our anatomy to capture and experience the amazing sensations sex provides?

And like sex, our artistry and our creativity are gifts that, in addition to service, are also meant to simply be enjoyed.

So, let’s dig into this some more.

As Christians, we get ourselves all in knots about this honor and glorifying thing. Yes, honoring and glorifying God are important. We are commanded to do so. It is only right for us to do so. But let me ask you a questions about that:

How much more can a creator be honored than when the thing they created does what it was created to do, and thrives at doing it? It’s like God looks at His dancers and says I created you to dance. When you dance, I’m over the moon because I see my intention, I see my purpose, I see the capacity I put in you materialize before Me. I get joy out of seeing you do what I put in you to do.

I mean, how excited did Belle’s father get in Beauty and the Beast when his machine finally chopped the log and threw it I the pile like He intended, when it finally did what He designed it to do? Why wouldn’t God also get pleasure out of watching His creation do the same? How much more honor could I possibly give my Creator than to participate in His intention for me?

And here’s another question: how happy does it make you to give someone a gift and see them really enjoy the gift you gave them? Like building a jungle gym for your kids. You don’t build that jungle gym for them to complete service. You build it for them to play, and laugh, and have fun in life. You don’t want anything from them in giving it to them. You just knew it would make them happy. And how happy does it make you to watch them flail themselves in sheer bliss all over that jungle gym, without any other care in the world? What good parent who loves their children doesn’t want to see them have things with which they can just be silly sometimes?

Think about that.

Now, let’s talk about these three areas because they are important. But first, let’s make it clear: God invited you to a life together. He did not invite you to a purpose. He did not invite you to a job. He did not reach out to you because He had work for you to do. He did not reach out to you because of your usefulness. And your value to Him has little to nothing to do with your usefulness. He paid the ultimate price just for the opportunity to be with you because He loved you so much, and He did this before you were even cognizant of Him, before you had ever done one, single, solitary thing for Him.

So His love for you has nothing to do with your usefulness or your capacity to be used. He invited you to be His companion in life. And as companions living life together, there will be purposes that need to be stewarded, where you, as companions will tend to that purpose together. And as companions living life together, there will be times that call for you to put to use the gifts and graces and abilities God has equipped you with, and as companions you will dispense those gifts together. And as companions living life together, there will be things in life that God says this is for you. I don’t want anything from you. I just want to give this to you because I love you and I want to see you happy. And in the exchange of a loving, reciprocal relationship, you will return the affection and say God, I give this to you. I don’t want anything from you. I just want you to have this because I love you and I want to be pleasing to you.

That is the environment in which we serve God: within a loving, reciprocal relationship where we make ourselves available to each other because we love and appreciate one another. Your gifts are to serve God, but they are not His mop. You are not His tool. You were created for companionship. And anything that you do for God is to be done within companionship. I imagine a father who buys His son a fishing pole so they can spend time together. And, in the course of them spending time together at the lake, they put the fishing poles to use to catch some fish for dinner.

So you have your art for service. You have your art for companionship. Sometimes, your art is just the way you spend time with God. Whether you’re saying anything or not, just the act of engaging with something He gave you makes you feel His presence and feel so close to Him.

For me, it’s interesting and you may find this applies to you, too. I am a dancer, but dance is not how I spend time with Him. For some people, whatever their art form is, that’s how they spend time with God. Some dancers talk about dancing with God around their house. I don’t do that to spend time with God. Dance is how I serve Him. I spend time Him with this mind He gave me, through conversation, writing, and pontificating. That’s when I feel most alive in communion. In service, it’s dance. In communion, it’s writing and conversation.

Then there is art for enjoyment. Yes, God gave you your gifts to be enjoyed as well. 1 Tim 6:17 talks about God as being one who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Interesting that it didn’t say He gives us all things to use to serve Him, but all things for us to enjoy.

God gave you art and creativity because He also wants you to experience the joy that comes from experiencing and making and sharing art. Jesus said He came to give us life more abundantly, and life more abundantly has to be more than just life for service. Like, think about marriage. If marriage was nothing else, literally nothing else, but cleaning up after someone else, who would want to do it? Like if literally you got no enjoyment, you got no emotional or relational feeding from it, if it was just nothing but duty and service, why would anyone do that … willingly? Even in a marriage, there is time for enjoyment. And think about what happens when that very important element is neglected.

I am convinced that even God participates in sheer, purposeless pleasure. What purpose does the duckbill platypus have? They are not like the honey bee that is necessary for vegetation to continue. It’s just cool to look at. Or the silky chicken. Oh my God…how much joy do I get out of looking at a silky chicken? Y’all ever seen a silky chicken? It’s my new favorite animal. Look it up. They are the coolest bird and they just make my heart so happy. So, God gets joy out of His creation. Not everything in His creation serves Him in the way we think about service. Some of His creation just exists in His goodness, and they live off the goodness He put there to sustain them.

If you’re walking around thinking about your artistry and career life, and all you can think about is how you’re not serving God, you are missing out on the beauty of being in relationship with Him.

I also dance for enjoyment. When I’m taking class, or dancing salsa, or making a new dance, I feel so alive. And I don’t worry one bit about whether I’m glorifying God in it or not. My whole life is oriented to glorify Him. He knows that, even if I don’t itemize every situation in my life to Him every single time I engage in it. That is condemnation in a works mentality. That’s not God.

So from this day forward, I want you to give yourself permission to not feel bad when you just enjoy the sheer, purposeless, pleasure of creating art and being an artist. When I’m taking class, or dancing salsa, I’m not worried about all the other stuff. That time is just about sweat, just raw dancing. It’s God’s gift to me to just sweat it out on that floor. And funny, enough, I do think about God because it feels so good to feel the air pass my skin, sweat dripping off my face, I’m breathing all hard, I got this hard combination, and as a technician, this is just amazing. And in that moment when I feel like my chest is about to burst because of how happy I feel, I can’t help but think about God. And not necessarily as a worshipper (in the confined sense we picture it). Yes, I am a worshipper. My life is a worship to God. Even when I’m just enjoying His awesome gifts, His goodness to me. I don’t feel bad that I don’t do the mantra every time I get to the other side of the dance floor. He knows that I appreciate Him. I have oriented my life towards Him. Everything I do is positioned to honor Him so, again, I don’t have to point that out all the time. I don’t have to itemize when the whole lot has already been given to Him.

Just like I feel super close to God in worship, I feel super close to Him in joy. Because is He not joy? If it gives you life, if it feeds you, if it nourishes you, if it builds you up, if you walk out of that session, that studio, if you step away from that canvas, put that camera down and you feel alive, God is life, what do you mean He wasn’t there just because you didn’t say Lord I give you the Honor. You are honoring Him by doing it, that’s why you feel alive; because you have tapped into life.

Alright fam, talk to me. Why do you think we’re so afraid to just enjoy life in God? What will that experience be life for you? Will it be easy? Is it something you’ll have to remind yourself of, like take deeper breaths? Let me know.

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Ep 18 – How’re you seeing what you see?

What do you see?

Welcome to the Kingdom Art Life, episode 18.

In episode 17, we started a conversation about patience, about what being a career artist looks like inside of the faith process. We talked about patience being a necessary part of faith, and time being a necessary part of patience.

We ended that conversation exploring how we could be, and remain patient. Last week our tool was remembrance. In this episode, I want to explore the tool of perspective.

As you are walking out God’s promise to you for your career life, it’s important for you to check yourself at each juncture about how you’re seeing what you see.

In numbers 13 we read the account of a group of men who were challenged in this very area. In this account, the Lord tells Moses to send some men to spy out the land God promised to the Children of Israel, land He said was theirs and, at the time of directing Moses, was in the process of bringing them into it.

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.” In verses 3 through 16 we get an account of all of the men who went. Verse 17 continues, saying, Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains, and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.”

Verses 21 through 24 tell us that the men go out. They spy out the land and they collect fruit from the land. Verse 25 picks up saying “And they returned from spying out the land after forty days.
Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”
Basically, ain’t no way we getting in this land.

Now, this is interesting because perspective is not just about what you see. It’s about how you see what you see. Remember, they’re in the process of being brought into their land of promise and this step of seeing what’s there is part of bringing them into the land. They were not sent to find out IF they could get in; that was already settled. They were only sent to find out what was there. But they lost sight of that and instead spoke about the situation and made conclusions about it from the wrong way of seeing it. They reported from the wrong perspective.

It wasn’t the fact that they reported these difficulties. The difficulties were there and they were real. It was that they lost sight of why they were sent there, and of what to do with the difficulties they saw. They didn’t come back and say here’s what’s going on. Let’s seek God about how to deal with this. No, they didn’t say that because that’s not how they saw the situation. And if you’re going to get all the way into what God showed you, you have to check yourself on how you see what you see, so that you don’t talk yourself out of God’s promise because of what you see.

“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “[No we’re not!] We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”

I just think this is so funny because these men are like no, y’all didn’t hear what I said. I said the Canaanites are here the Jebusites are there, these people are here, you got these giants over here. We can’t do this! And there are times when you’re walking out God’s promise that it feels like all around you, no matter where you look or how you look at it, there is no possible way you’re going to be able to do this. I remember driving home one time after the Lord had told me to leave my job and I just felt like my chest was going to cave in. The pressure of feeling like I had no possible way of making it through this and getting into what God told me to leave my job to do felt like I had on a corset that was too tight.

The story goes on with verse 32. “And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies, (now stop for a moment, because again, this was the land that God said I’m giving you; it’s yours. This is the land they were in process of inhabiting. This is the land they’re talking about).

“And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight,” which is not true because no one even knew they were there.

“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!”

And I’m laughing because this is the insane talk that happens, that truly happens at some point when you step out to believe God. Now let’s remember what was happening in Egypt. They were getting their behind whooped. They were enslaved. They had no freedom. The Egyptians treated them so horribly because they were afraid of the Israelites multiplying too fast. So their life in Egypt was horrible. And the whole reason God tapped Moses on the shoulder was because they cried out to Him about how horrible Egypt was and how they were being so mistreated. They were in the position that they’re in in Numbers 13 because God answered their cry. That’s important to remember. Sometimes, in the midst of God answering us, we forget. Our perspective goes awry, and we lose sight of what we should be looking at. You are in the position you’re in now because of God’s faithfulness to you. Remember how miserable you were behind that desk job? Remember how much you prayed that God would make a way for you to leave Kansas and get to New York? Remember how hollow and depressed you were not being able to do anything with your art?

Instead of looking at their current situation remembering they were there because God was faithful to answer and was in the middle of fulfilling His promise to them, instead of seeing that as the next step into promise, they saw the situation as God bring them out there to die, and Him being in the process of trying to convince them to take on a mission in which they were guaranteed to, not just fail, but die.

In verse 3 of chapter 14, they continue their moaning and complaining.

“Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt, (to the place of our oppression, to the place furthest away from our promise)?”

“So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”

This is another place we get it wrong because in the process of patience, without the proper perspective, time makes us start to have crazy conversations where we start to devise steps and solutions of our own making. And they are always stupid ideas that make the situation much worse if we actually go through with them. I’m dealing with one of those of my own right now.

The story continues with Moses and Aaron falling on their face before the assembly, Joshua and Caleb step up and say bump that! The Lord promised us this land; and He’s going to bring us in. I don’t care what y’all saw over there. God told us this was ours. Let’s go get it. Then the children of Israel say oh yeah, and then they they conspire to stone Joshua and Caleb.

Then the Lord flips His wig. He goes off… until Moses says now Lord, if you kill them what will people say about You? If you let them die people will say you brought them out of Egypt and then you killed them because You couldn’t fulfill Your promise to them. So the Lord decides not to kill them, but He vows they will not enter His promise.

This episode came out of a recent experience I had that really taught me a lot about following God. More so, it taught me about my responsibility in following Him which is to be careful how I see what I see. I quit my job in June 2016 at the word of the Lord. I went to Spain over the summer, which was an amazing experience. Then I came home to begin the next season. The Lord was continuing to introduce me to new people, unpack my curriculum for the kingdom artist initiative. But financially, I was struggling the whole time. And I am still walking through that season.

Back from the amazingness of Europe, back from the high of making the great escape from the 9-5, I was spending a lot of time at home and things were dead quiet. I went from 7 years of being busy, of knowing where I was going everyday, of having lots of phone calls to field and emails to answer and projects to do… to silence. And I’m a person who usually does really well in silence, who’s is able to deal with long periods of solitude and silence and find a lot of peace and enjoyment in that. But in this particular season, which was just a couple months ago, the silence was deafening and was really hard to deal with. I felt really anxious and it was hard to sit still and the overwhelming presence of inactivity was very hard. Not only was I broke, but I was broke and inactive. My phone wasn’t ringing, no emails were coming in. I just felt stuck in limbo. It felt like no progress was being made. At least if I was doing stuff, I could feel like things were moving forward even if the money was not yet flowing like I wanted. And then one day while I was cleaning the house, the Lord checked me and he checked me hard, lovingly but hard, because this was also the period where He told me to start writing the next book. And I struggled to write because all I was focusing on was the fact that I was broke and nobody was calling me and it felt like I wasn’t moving forward at all. All I could think about was the gnawing feeling that I left my job for nothing.

When the Lord snatched my behind, he reminded me of the previous four years. Over those four years I was working full-time and I would get up early in the morning to write, or I would stay up late at night to write. I would write on my lunch breaks. I would take my stuff with me everywhere I went so that any available time I had I would squeeze in time to write these books that he told me to write. And because I was faithful when it was difficult, he had brought me into a time where all I had to do now was write, a time where I had the freedom to do nothing else but write. He had brought me into a time of blessing, a time where he was rewarding me and honoring me because I was faithful in the little time that I had to do what he was leading me to do. And his reward was to bring me into a season where I didn’t have to juggle my life to follow him anymore, a time where now, I was just free to follow him. but I didn’t see it like that at first.

But after he showed me that, and I realized how wrong I was seeing my current situation, I Repented and I said thank you and I continually thank him for giving me the opportunity to do nothing but focus on writing my next book and continuing to flesh out Kai.

I’ve had conversations like the children of Israel, where I missed the time where I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay my rent. It was definitely time for me to leave my job. The grace has absolutely lifted. There is no doubt about that. It was time to go. And every time I substitute and try to stick my toe in to go back, I remember very quickly how much it was time for me to go. But there was the temptation, the very real temptation of at least I didn’t have to worry about this or at least I had that.

And in those “at least” times, when the day-to-day-ness of walking this out seems overwhelming, when the bill collectors are the people who check on me the most, I remember God’s faithfulness to the children of Israel even in the Manna season. Yes they were in a season of Mana where every day was about just having enough, about wondering if you were going to have enough, and feeling like your whole existence was about having to believe God just to get enough. But I remember God’s faithfulness to them. 40 years they spent in that wilderness with no jobs and the Bible says they lacked nothing. Their clothes never wore out, their shoes never wore out, their feet didn’t even swell. They always had enough to eat. Was it what they wanted? No. Was it what they needed in that season? Absolutely. And I can see that same faithfulness in my own life. Yes, I am in a very, very slim financial season. But my rent is paid every month, I’ve never gone hungry, my lights don’t get turned off, and when I get my eyes on the right things, I can see God beautifully bringing me into the very thing He promised me. I can see His hand at work all around me. So I challenge to take some time and assess how are you seeing what you see, right here in the moment you’re in. I challenge you to see God who has been faithful to take care of you and I challenge you to acknowledge all the signs of forward progress He has allowed you to see and experience along the way.

Alright fam, talk to me: Where are some places you’ve lost perspective? What was it like for you when you got it right again?

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