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Overcoming Procrastination as a Christian Artist



Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize?

So run to win! 1Corinthians 9:24

 

Creating art is our mission—it thrills and challenges us, and yet we often put it off.

Why?

I offer the following possibilities:


FEAR OF OUR LIMITATIONS


Have you, like me, enviously watched a demonstration at an art club event?

The artist never misses a beat, confidently chattering away about the process. Despite the pressure of an audience watching every move, he or she, creates a beautiful painting in about thirty minutes! There's no errant brushstroke or muddy color. In fact, it appeared as if the artist knew precisely what to expect at each stage of the creative act. Well, he, or she, did!


In reality the creation of art is never that predictable. If it were, it would be dull and lifeless! The viewers learned a little about the artist's process and technique. However, the demonstration would not be quite as inspiring had it not been carefully choreographed.


In our studios, we're aware of the agony of staring at a blank canvas bereft of ideas. We hate the frustration of poorly conceived compositions. Our mistakes are draining and they mock us for our feeble creative ability!


That very trauma is unique to the creative process. Failure to recognize it as a common problem of every artist, no matter how accomplished, is the trap that often leads to procrastination.


With great relief we can acknowledge our limited ability and trust the Lord to make much of our little! Creating art is an act of faith. That's the only way to resolutely press on.


A DISLIKE OF THE UNKNOWN


By procrastinating, we endeavor to avoid the pain of one uniquely tortuous aspect of the creative process—ambiguity. How will this work turn out? What on earth am I attempting to say...?


Never one to be overly concerned with an immaculate studio, I frequently find myself tidying up my space—anything to avoid tackling a new project! How easy it is to tinker with tools, read art books and magazines and never really begin! Perhaps you find yourself simply putting off entering your studio. You're not alone.


PROCRASTINATION WORKS IN A STUBBORN CYCLE—INTERRUPT IT!


It's galling, because we truly are most fulfilled when we create. As Christian artists, being creatively engaged is our sacred destiny. The danger of procrastination is that it feeds on itself. The more you put off getting started, the more intimidating the task appears and the less likely you are to actually begin. Stopping the downward spiral of inactivity is crucial. I remind myself then that even the feeblest attempt is better than the frustrating acid of not having tackled some creative activity!


THE BALM OF GOD'S WORD WILL SOOTHE AND DELIVER


A beautiful prayer was prayed ages ago by Moses. God, who answered that ancient prayer, is unchanging in His intent. He will honor it for you today, if prayed in faith.

Even the language is calming and poetic in the King James Version!


”.. let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it." Psalm 90:17 KJV


The Hebrew word for "work" (ma`aseh) was used frequently to describe finely crafted, skilled work, like the embroidery of the tabernacle and the beauty of the sapphire under God’s feet in Exodus 24. In a broader form of usage, it means the labor of our hands.


Did you know that God placed a hedge around Job and his "work"- (ma`aseh)?


“Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the "work"- (ma`aseh) of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.” Job 1:10 KJV


These were words spoken by Satan about the undeniable reality of Job's prosperity.


As God's beloved children, we are already recipients of His favor through Jesus. His intent is for the work of our hands to be established. Is that not enough motivation to overcome procrastination, even if the outcome seems cloudy when we begin?


LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works (ma`aseh) in us. Isaiah 26:12 KJV


These great men of God would never have articulated these truths if they were not convinced of them. God never denied Satan’s accusation of favoring, protecting him or establishing the work of Job's hands!


Polymer clay sculpture of a landscape with a tree and the sun being rolled like a scroll.
Our Time, His Terms, SOLD Polymer Clay, Sara Joseph

A sense of urgency, a vital trait for overcoming procrastination, resulting in the brisk and effective use of our gift, is something that God alone can impart. I'm not persuasive enough to tell you how brief your life is, or that it's imperative to quickly step into your mission as an artist. God alone can jolt you into making it a priority, as you earnestly pray for His will.


Time, as we know it, will one day be rolled up like a garment and swallowed up in eternity.


"They will perish, but You remain;

And they will all grow old like a garment;

Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed.

But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” Hebrews 1: 11-12


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