Build It By Faith
Episode 31 looks at how we build, live in, and navigate a Spirit-led art career.
Hello, hello, and welcome to Episode 31 of the Kingdom Art Life podcast. I am Marlita Hill, here to help you flourish in faith, art, and career.
Today, we delve into our final mindset to help us build without compromising. When we got saved, we didn’t just go through a spiritual transformation. We also went through a transformation in method.
When we received Christ, we went through a process of justification. And the as those who have gone through justification, we are now members of the community of the just. And the Bible says that the just, whom we are now a part of, shall live by faith. Part of our experience as artists in Christ, as artists on the other side of a yes, is learning how we work our creative experience in this life of faith. It’s understanding how we build our creative life by faith.
I was thinking about Narnia in The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe. If you’ve never heard or read the story, it’s basically about a group of siblings who find this secret door in their closet. And when they go through that secret door, they enter this magical land called Narnia. The interesting thing about Narnia is that all of the elements are still the same. The sky is still the sky. The ground is still the ground. A tree is still a tree. The snow is still the snow. Beavers are still beavers. Things are the same, except for some magical beings like Mr. Tumnus. Basically, though the elements are still the same in Narnia as they are on the other side of the closet door.
But even though those elements look the same, in Narnia, they operate by different principles, different mechanics. There are different possibilities there that don’t exist on the other side of the closet door. Beavers talk in Narnia. They don’t talk on the other side of the door.
And this is a picture of our life as artists working our faith in our creative life. As Christians, the elements of our art life are still the same. A G major scale is still A G major scale. A cello is still a cello. The audition is still the audition. Head shots are still head shots. All of those elements are still the same, but the way we manage and handle those elements as artists who’ve said yes is different than those who haven’t said yes. The procedures, the steps, the path, the possibilities, the mindsets are different for us here in faith land.
You’re going to build your art career using the same elements as everyone else. You’re still going to build your career by auditioning for artists or companies, submitting to festivals, by composing using chords and scales, by going to ballet class, by meeting with gallerists. All that’s the same. But when you engage and manage those elements by faith, the sequence of how you do things is different. The timing is different, the order is reversed, steps are skipped, limits don’t apply to your life like they do to those on the other side, access to things and people is gained differently, connections are made differently, progress is made differently.
For example let’s say you’re a visual artist and it has entered your heart to exhibit your work at the Denk gallery in downtown LA. So you pray Lord, I ask you for divine connections. I ask you for favor to help me get into the Denk gallery. I ask you for instruction on what I need to do to connect with the people who organize the exhibits. You pray that, receive it in Jesus name, and go on about your business.
Then about 3 days later, you’re flipping through the LA weekly and you see this book reading that’s happening at a bookstore in Santa Monica. Now if you don’t live in LA, downtown and Santa Monica are quite a distance apart. So, you’re flipping through the LA weekly and you see this event in Santa Monica and you feel in your heart that you need to go.
But, this is not an author that you’ve heard of. You’re not even really interested in their work, but you still feel led to go, so you go. You show up to the book reading, still not really sure why you’re there. And you’ve kind of forgotten what you prayed a few days ago. But you’re there.
The event goes on. The author speaks and it actually ends being really interesting. Ok, but you still don’t understand why you felt the press to go. The event ends and you go over to the refreshment table. As you’re pouring your tea, someone walks up next to you and the Holy Spirit says, “ask them how they’re doing.” So you look over and ask them and a conversation rolls from there. You guys are having small talk getting to know each other and then they ask you what you do. You tell them you’re a visual artist and you share the kind of art you make. You tell them you’re in the process of trying to get your work into galleries, etc. As they’re listening to you, they ask to see your work. And because you have your stuff prepared for such an occasion, you whip out your phone where your portfolio is digitally loaded and you show them your work. As they look through it,, they’re telling you they like your work, they’re asking you questions about it. It’s a hoot.
As they continue looking, they say, “You know, it’s funny…I’m the curator at the Denk gallery in downtown LA. Have you ever heard of it?” You casually say yeah as you giddily shuffle your internal feet. And you say yes yes I have. Are you really?
They go on to say, “We are about to transition our exhibit and your work would really fit in the direction we’re about to go. I’ll tell you what, can you come see me at the gallery next Wednesday?” Yes you surely, most certainly can!!
This is building your art career by faith, versus having to call the gallery, hoping that the administrative assistant will remember to give your message to the Curator. If they do give your message to them, you hope that they have time to call you. And even if they do call you, you have to wait several days, weeks, sometimes even months to get an appointment with them because they don’t know you. They have no investment in you. Artists are calling all the time. And let’s hope that something doesn’t come up where they have to reschedule.
You pray and three days later God tells you to go to a random book reading where you happen to be pouring your tea next to the curator who’s pouring their coffee and you guys strike up a conversation where they invite you to come meet with them. This is how you build your career by faith by seeking and following the leading of the Holy Spirit in how to go after the things He showing you to pursue in your art career. And if you trust the fact that God responds when He sees faith, you won’t feel the need to compromise to get where you’re going.
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Have you ever has this kind of divine connection experience? What was it like when you experienced God moving you directly where you needed to be, past a lot of steps?