It’s funny where inspiration comes from sometimes. My youngest son teaches at a pre-school. Today I noticed he has a box sitting here filled with his children’s books for the winter. One of them is a treasury of Christmas Stories by author illustrator Jan Brett. Ms. Brett is one of my favorite illustrators. Her work is extravagantly beautiful. It’s meticulously detailed and probably takes tens to hundreds of hours per illustration. The art is breathtaking.

Now there’s something you need to know. I know nothing of her personal story or how she got where she is today, but looking at this wonderful book triggered a thought that I hope will be inspirational. Today she is an established artist/writer but undoubtedly there was a time where this was not the case—a time when she was a newbie trying to get discovered and that is where the risk comes in. She most likely faced a choice all of us with a creative bent had to face-namely she had to do the work. She had to make the choice to put her whole self into a project, taking the risk of no reward. She had to do all this amazingly beautiful work on that chance that something good would come of all that work with no guarantee. She had to give her very best to a project, not knowing whether or not anyone would ever see it or ever care. It’s the same way with us.

With every project we have a choice. We can put our best into it, trusting that something good will come of it or we can hold back and put out something mediocre, that will not take as much effort, but also may never get the attention of the audience we desire or are called to. Great art was never created based on a cost-benefit analysis. Great art is an act of love. Don’t hold back. Give your best and trust.

Earlier, I shared a video that I sent to a group of young people on the other side of the world. I was honored beyond words to be asked to do that and I am told it was well received. That was not the intent of the project. I saw an online art challenge and thought, “That looks like fun.” I decided to create a series of pieces with no thought of it being any more than good practice and a good time, but I put a fair amount of work into it and the result was an opportunity to share my heart and a little of my faith with some folks I never would have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. The point is, we never know completely what God is up to, but if we will put our best out there, it’s worth the risk.

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