Crickets. That’s all you’ve been hearing lately from me. The crickets started cricketing last summer and they’ve been buzzing for quite a few months now. (My last post, Great Power and Beauty Await You, was way, way back in July…cricket season!) For me, it’s been a question of focus. A question of focus with my art, life, faith and creativity. I’ve simply been focused on larger projects requiring greater time, energy, faith and focus than ever before. I know many of you will benefit from them, but since many of you have been long and loyal friends to this Art, Life & Faith blog, I am sorry for my silence. It really has been a question of focus… of where I believe God has uniquely made me to make my best contribution. I’m also learning a lot about my limitations. What I can and can’t do. And the reality that I can’t do it all.
Jeff Walker, a favorite author and market strategist I follow, recently wrote about focus in his book Launch. “Your most scarce resource is focus, ” Walker writes… and here’s why!
Are you a flourishing artist? Or do you feel discouraged and overwhelmed like you’re floundering? Whether you’re flourishing, floundering or somewhere in between, I’d like to invite you to listen to this free webinar, 5 Secrets of Flourishing Artists. As a writer for over twenty years, I’ve certainly gone through seasons where I feel like I’m floundering. There are days when it seems like I can’t get traction for where I want to go. And if it’s not my writing or film projects, it could be my spiritual life. Or key relationships with my family and friends. Can you relate?
Discovering what it means to flourish as an artist can be an elusive journey, but I am convinced it’s not out of our grasp. Jesus did come to give us life and life abundantly in the here and now. As we find our life in Him, I believe there’s great overflow — a flourishing, you might say — that pours into our art, life and faith. So with this is mind, a couple artist friends of mine in our Grove community and I hosted this free webinar through The Grove Center for the Arts & Media. The response we received to our 5 Secrets webinar was overwhelming! Read on…
Last year I wrote a blog post titled, “7 HARD Questions for Every Artist.” The post was designed to help all of us cultivate a more beautiful life. I don’t know about you, but the EASY questions never do much for me. Easy questions keep me in my comfort zones, never pushing or prodding me forward. Easy questions don’t lead to the thriving life I long for…
Since then, this 7 Questions post has become one of my most popular posts, so I decided to turn it into a short ebook as a tool to help artists, creative teams, worship teams and leaders of art retreats. Even if you’re not an artist, I think you will find it helpful. This free PDF workbook has fillable form fields to write your responses to each question. Or you can just print it off to take to your favorite park or lake.
After editing the 7 Questions and adding a bit more content, I hope this ebook helps you cultivate a more beautiful life. If you like it, feel free to share it with your friends. I’m making it available as one of many free resources we provide through The Grove Center for the Arts & Media.
Take some time alone with God or a few friends to talk through these 7 Questions. I’d love to hear what you learn and discover along the way.
Answering these questions my seriously improve the quality of your art and life!
Think of all your mountain-top successes and face-grinding failures. Your valiant victories and deadening defeats. Your golden trophies and locker-room second-guessing. All those wonderful wins and heart-breaking losses.
Before you take too much credit and get swollen with pride or stand on your toes, pointing your finger, blaming everyone in sight, just remember this: For every swig from your victor’s cup, someone, somewhere helped you cross your finish line.
I am honored to count Scott Johnson as a friend. He’s the one with arms raised, celebrating Army Ranger, double-amputee Cedric King’s finish of this year’s 2014 Boston Marathon. After Cedric lost both his legs in an IED explosion in Afganistan, he could have called it quits. For good. But even with prosthetic limbs, he didn’t stop walking or running. Yes, that’s Cedric King kissing the finish line after thousands of Boston Strong spectators cheered him the final 500 yards. A picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it?
If you’re facing trouble, relationship conflicts, struggles and pain that could deepen your character, let me ask you a simple question: Are you backing down from trouble? Are you afraid to show trouble who you really are? Have you, somehow, bought into the lie that creating a beautiful life would be easy? That you would never be opposed? That conflict would never involve hard work to reach for creative solutions?
A friend of mine recently shared Hello Trouble, a great Gerber knife video with me and as you go into this weekend… (more…)
Oh, how I long to live in an uncluttered world! If you look at my desk in the photo above, you’ll see that I’m living in anything, but an uncluttered world. If you look closer at my desk, you’ll see that it’s “medium-cluttered”. There are actually a few items that I don’t consider clutter. A few books I’m reading. My journal. Much-needed caffeine cup. Favorite family photos. Good stuff, but not clutter. But, as you may have noticed my recent blog absence, my life has been unusually busy with film, writing and ministry activities. Yes, many good things, but still busy and cluttered.
And then there’s that pile of receipts that need filing. That large stack of papers I need to go through. Sticky notes of urgent items to followup on. People to call. Tasks to complete. If I’m not careful, that pile will grow and grow, creating a mind-numbing stack of mail, bills to pay, and papers screaming for order. And that’s just my desk… you don’t even want to look inside my mind.
I recently read some very helpful thoughts from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence. If you’re drawn to the fantasy of an uncluttered world, I think you’ll find Christ offers us something deeper than a clutter-free desk. Sarah offers her reflections of Jesus’ words of hope, peace and guidance to her…
One of my goals is to be a life-long learner, which is why I really enjoyed this TEDx video on creativity, kids and hackschooling. As the parents of four children, Krista and I have tried hard to figure out the “secret sauce” for what makes each one of our kids tick. And without naming names, our four kids love school, hate school, like school and tolerate school.
But school does not always equal learning, creativity or education, which is why I hope you’ll be inspired by 13 year old Logan LaPlante and his creative approach to learning in this TEDx talk. If you have children, especially teenagers, this is a great video to watch as a family and discuss. If you have a creative team, build into their lives by having a conversation about the importance of lifelong learning. Click here to leave a comment now.
I read in a recent issue of Outside magazine that their mission statement of “Live the Active Life” was a failure. Seems nobody really knew what the Active Life meant. The Outside editors and staff found that no one they interviewed could definitely answer whether they were living the Active Life or not. It was all a bit too vague. Heck, if you can walk to the bathroom, that’s an active life.
Living bravely was another matter. Everyone they spoke to could determine if they were living bravely or not. I suspect the same is true for you and I. We instinctively know if we’re living bravely or not. So my challenge to you (and myself) is to live bravely today. To live a beautiful life, we must live bravely. I have a few ideas what that might look like…
For the past ten years, I’ve had the privilege of walking alongside and investing in the lives of artists with The Grove Center for the Arts & Media. Like what you read here on Art, Life & Faith, the mission of The Grove is to cultivate the spiritual life and creative work of artists. Many of you also receive regular updates from The Grove, so I hope you’ve been encouraged.
Today, if the Art, Life & Faith blog has helped cultivate your spiritual life and creative work in a positive way, I’d like to ask you to consider investing in the lives of artists by making a year-end donation to The Grove. Your donation will fund the grants and scholarships The Grove provides for artists. In the following year-end letter, I ask the question, “Are You A Generous Artist?” because I believe generosity reflects the heart of God. Walter Mitty also has something important to teach us about generosity. Read on or click here to donate now…
No matter how much you eat this Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is good for your health. I’m not talking about massive amounts of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes or a second helping of pumpkin pie.
I want to invite you to a much more satisfying meal that’s good for your health: a Thanksgiving of the heart. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. (Psalm 118:1) A steady diet and exercise of Thanksgiving does wonders for your heart, mind and body. And thanksgiving is essential for cultivating a beautiful life. Here’s why… Read on.