Joel: We have the privilege of dreaming together with God. Now Religion has told us that we must sacrifice our dreams, to offer them up on the altar, die to them in order to “please” God. When in reality He was the one who placed those dreams inside of us in the first place. This lie of giving up your dreams has left many depressed and not really living their lives to the fullest but merely surviving. We encourage you to dare to dream those dreams again. I see many leaving jobs that they have been working in for many years because they thought they had to and opening up their own businesses and or going to school again to go after those things they have longed for. I see a people who will no longer dread getting up in the morning to go to their boring job but jumping out of bed with joy and a great expectation of what that day will look like.
Heather: After working as a missionary giving “my all” to God, my career choice took an unexpected turn of events. While living in the midst of illiteracy, a culture of addiction, lack of adequately involved parenting, and general violence, while doing a lot of “good work” Papa said, “Quit belittling the gift I’ve given you.” In my hierarchy of perceived self-sacrifice I was “laying down everything” to do what I perceived to be God’s will. Until he had a conversation with me. I was invited by an individual to start painting. It seemed like the world was ending in the midst of my decision on this one point. I was picturing with God and I saw him through the eyes of a scared little daughter. I was tightly holding a box of 64 crayons (well used and appreciated in my childhood–mine even had the sharpener built into the back) and Daddy reached out his hand to following his leading. He was opening a door for me into the front of a building and was leading my hand to follow him and come inside. I said yes.
I’m not sure if I would have had the faith to step out into starting my own business trusting God’s leading if I hadn’t already done that on the mission field for eight years without having “produced” anything. But God made it undeniably clear that he desired my creativity and that somehow was important to him, well beyond my understanding. I was even slightly offended by my lack of understanding on how this was at all practical or effective in any regards to the kingdom of God but I decided he knew what he was doing.
To this day, two and half years later, I paint. I still don’t understand it, I still have never received training (I don’t have any concept of doing things wrong or right), I still don’t know why what I do is special, and I still often wonder how I should be doing things differently but in the meantime, I paint. I don’t paint led by money, I paint led by inspiration; sometimes those to combine nicely, other times, I am left to wonder and trust at the fruit. I find I am often challenged by the Holy Spirit–every project actually–always has something new I’ve never done before involved in it. To be honest, that’s what keeps thing challenging and intriguing and inside when I’m going to approach a project. I have to figure out the execution and that’s the part I enjoy of creation, the newness that I’ve never experienced before. I guess it’s kind of like singing a new song to the Lord. That’s a little of my story as an artist, a child, and a wonderer.