Finding Joy in Making Art / by Izzi Ray

Being an artist is difficult. Whether it's songwriting, making music, writing a book, drawing or painting… It is hard. Not gonna lie. It's emotional, frustrating, freeing, exciting, and sometimes very stressful. It is all about inspiration, yet all about diligent consistency.  And as soon as your art becomes stressful and frustrating, creativity gets cut off. 

I went through a season of being absolutely obsessed with writing songs and loving every step of the process of creating something new. But the moment I started looking around at what everyone else was doing it stopped being fun and It became frustrating because of comparison and stressful because of the deadlines that kept creeping closer and closer. I started feeling so insecure about the work I was doing and found that all creativity and freedom and joy were lost. 

I'm sure I am not the only artist to ever feel insecure or discouraged or to second guess why I do what I do. So I want to share what God showed me when he grabbed me firmly by the hand and radically changed my perspective on doing what you are gifted at and doing what God has called you to do.  

Guard your heart and your mind. Renew your mind, don't waste it! It can become satan's playground and he can so easily pull us down and use comparison to tie our hands and distract us. But God can lift us up from that pit! So treasure the time that you get in the Word so your heart and mind can be cultivated and your thought life will line up with scripture. That will guide your tongue, hands, and service. And what you put in, is gonna come out. Whatever you put in your brain, is gonna fill your art. 

"Comparison is the thief of joy." -Theodore Roosevelt 

Everyone has a unique God-designed race that has been marked out for them. We are not racing against others, you're the only one on your God-given life track. We get to dream and create and influence and respond. It is a glorious luxury and our greatest responsibility. We were all given specific spiritual and natural gifts that God purposefully gave us and we are called to lay out what we have and hand it over, letting him use one of his creative plans to make himself known through us in unique and beautiful ways.   

"God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be."                               -1 Corinthians 12:18

I think it is very easy to hide the gift God has given you because you're worried about appearing conceited or you don't think you're "good enough". We have a responsibility to quit being afraid of our motives and just start using the gifts and passions God has put in us! If you realize that you are doing a good thing with wrong motives, don't quit. Dedicate it to God right now and ask him to commandeer it for his glory.                                                                            

I'm currently doing a bible study by Jennie Allen called 'Restless' which God has used to greatly inspire me lately. I highly recommend it if you want to dive deeper into this subject or if you are uncertain about what your gifts are. 

"Instead of fearing or craving greatness, crave God and run your guts out." -Jennie Allen 

"I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do." - John 17:4

Joy unlocks creativity. Start working on your art a little bit everyday, and I think you'll be surprised at how fast you start falling in love with what you do. God has given you that gift and when you use it you can feel his pleasure! You will find genuine, pure, sweet, real joy when you run with your eyes fixed on Jesus and start living so that the standing ovation is directed upward.