That Time I Took Time Off from Art… And When It’s Time to Lay It Down

Posted: October 27, 2015 in Thoughts on art ministry and life

thattimeiquitartI am taking a creative arts ministry class over at and they asked a question about a time when I had to lay art down for a while. My thoughts went back to one of the most painful periods of my life that ended up becoming one of the most life giving parts of my life. Today I’d like to share my answer with you. Some of you may have read this story before but it bears repeating.

For a while early in my career, I fell into idolatry to my career. I was a young husband and father trying to earn my living as an artist. I landed a freelance job painting backdrops and creating promotional pieces for a licensee of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. At the time the turtles were making 8 billion dollars a year in licensing alone. My client, who was a little shady at times, convinced me he could do the same for my career. Well as a young guy with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove, I fell for it hook, line and sinker. I almost lost my marriage and my family as a result of my single minded devotion to “making it as an artist.” I always rationalized that once I “made it” it could give my family everything they ever wanted, when all they really wanted was for me to be a husband and father.

Long story short, I was yelling at God one day over my lack of success (or as I called it then “praying”) when I heard God say, “Your work is your God.” I then found myself arguing with God, as if I could win that argument. A week or two later, I ended up at a Promise Keepers event called Stand in the Gap and it felt like speaker after speaker stepped up to the mic to bring me a message of the Lord. I literally cried all day. By the end of the day, God won the argument and I quit art, telling God I would never do art again unless I was doing it for Him. I got my call to ministry that day, and for the next six months I did no art.

In that time a lot of things were restored, that was 1997 and the ministry I have now is the result.

If you find art getting in the way of your Spiritual life, your relationships with God and family, it might be time to lay it aside for a season. It will be hard, but totally worth it. MY fast from art changed theater course of my life. It was totally worth it.


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