I see these stickers on vehicles everywhere that say variations of “Keep Calm and Carry On.” I think it’s been overdone, but there is something there that we need to consider. As much as we love what we do in this life of art and ministry, as great a blessing as we know we have, it can get frustrating. We all have those times where it feels like our work is getting nowhere. We all have times where the doors seem to be closed or our skills just aren’t where we want them to be. We all have the times where we’re passed over. We all see people pass us by. We have the times when we get rejected. We hear, “You’re just not right for what we do” or “we’re going in a different direction” or worst of all, you hear nothing. It can all get very aggravating and in our weakest moments, there can be a great temptation to quit.

Please don’t. Remember no one promised this journey was going to be easy. If it was we would reach the top with a malformed character that could be disastrous. The Bible tells us don’t become weary of well doing and don’t despise small beginnings. Sometimes we need to remember our call. There is a reason for everything, and the reason you have your gift is so that in some way, you might give God glory. Last night in our church’s Bible study I was reminded of this again. We are near the end of a study on the book of Acts. Paul is headed for Rome. He was told by God he was go there, it was the next place he wanted to go, but I’d have to believe Paul thought he would end up there free to roam the streets and do what he was created to do. Instead he ends up there in chains. God’s plan is looking very different than I am sure Paul imagined, but please note this, Paul still ended up exactly where God said He would be. Further, in this way, Paul would be able to preach to some of the most powerful in his world at the time. In spite of the problems God’s will was done. I asked the question if God’s will being done in our lives every looked different from our plans. There was audible laughter around the room. We all knew it to be true, and I thought about my own journey.

For most of my life, I thought I would make art for a living. I felt like that was God’s call on my life, and in part it was. When I started working for a licensee of the Ninja Turtles, they were making billions in licensing and my client was telling me he could do the same for me. I worked harder than I had worked in my life to that point, and God left me fail. No matter what I did, I did not succeed and I was angry with God. As I looked around my congregation, I realized once again the great thing God did for me. If I had succeeded in the path that I was on, it would have destroyed me. I knew making art was going to be part of my life, and it is. I just couldn’t see the better path He had for me. One dream had to die, and I had to carry on. I had to keep honing my skills and learning new ones. I had work on my faith and experience a new calling, a call to ministry, and then I had to learn how to meld the two together.

I don’t know where you’re at today. I hope you’re happy and fulfilled and in the very center of God’s will, but if you’re not, get together with God. Don’t be mad at Him. He loves you. Carry on in your calling, stop doing the things that take you out of His will, follow His lead and let Him do what He needs to do in you. Trust Him and…

Carry on.

  1. This is a good message for today. Honestly I feel like I’m either in the middle of or at the end of a season like the one you describe, where everything fails. I have a certain skill set but little idea how to apply it and I certainly don’t want to run out and start trying to please God doing random stuff…throwing stuff at the wall and seeing if it sticks. I don’t want to quit, exactly, but I just feel like I’m wandering around in the dark sometimes. I want to do something, I just don’t know what or how yet, and I hate just filling my time until I know something more definite…

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