Today It's From The Heart

In an instant—everything changed.

At the age of  7, I lived in a place of fear--not fear for my life or of being hurt, but one of concern for what other people thought of me and my artwork.  I could not separate the two. One critical remark from someone was all it took for me to hide away.  

As time went on, my desire to create never changed.  I became an art teacher and encouraged younger artists to express and be themselves, yet I held part of my own creativity and work back.  Many years later, something happened.  

I painted a tree.  Not just any tree - a wishing tree.  I wrote all over my canvas things that were hiding away in my heart.  When I thought I was finished with my painting, I hung it on the wall.  I looked at it.  I sat with it.  I ate next to it.  Somehow, it didn’t feel complete.  There was something more inside of me to share, but what?

I had no idea in that moment, that my life would change forever.

Finally, it dawned on me.  This tree reminded me of a huge oak, one in my childhood backyard, one that I always dreamed about. I would go through a tunnel in my bedroom closet that took me inside the tree.  A small, wonderful art studio was inside.  In this imaginary studio, everything I created would come out exactly how I wanted it to.  It was a safe place for me to create.  No judgements came from anyone.

Staring at this painting, I realized that I was still hiding inside that tree by not sharing my art with others. I was not a little girl anymore; I wanted to be on the outside of that tree from my dreams.  So I replaced the tree in my painting with a girl, joyously leaping.  I was going to take a leap of faith just like that girl.  

The tree was now hidden inside the girl in my painting.  I had discovered that my creative space was safe in my heart. As I chose to trust God’s voice and direction, I found joy. I discovered painting wasn't an option, it was a calling.  I needed to paint.  

This painting is about the journey, transformation, and joy that comes from fulfilling our life’s purpose, which often involves using our talents and taking a leap of faith. 

It takes faith and trust in God to recognize and share talents that we have been given.  Through my experiences as an artist, and as a follower of  Jesus Christ, I have come to discover the following: 

 

Faith  + Trust + Willingness to Change = JOY 

 

This is deep joy - the kind that simmers in your soul even when you are in bleak and challenging situations. You might feel peaceful and secure, so happy you could burst at the seams, or full of  inner confidence. 

Looking back on my journey, I discovered five things that helped me jump into joy: 

  1. Faith.  Develop and strengthen your relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Strive for unity with them in your daily spiritual practice.  This is a gradual process.  

  2. Trust.   Show trust in the promptings you receive by taking action.   And make sure to never compare yourself/your work to others. Comparison is the killer of joy!

  3. Be willing to change.  This takes bravery and is exciting.  Step out of your comfort zone to overcome blocks that stand in your way.  Witness the strengthening power of the atonement of Jesus Christ.  

  4. Serve.  We are given spiritual gifts and talents to uplift and help people.  Trust that God will use you to make a difference.

  5. Awe.  Develop a sense of wonder of  God’s creations, including you!  This will fill you up with the living waters of gratitude.

There is an abundance of  JOY that naturally evolves from living in line with God’s plan for you and by discovering and using your talents.  Go ahead, take a leap of faith, and find joy in the jump!