My why has changed quite a few times in the last 5 years. When I first started out as an artist, my "why" was a good grade. I really had no interest in becoming an artist, but because I was a photography major, I couldn't get around it. Then a couple years in, my "why" became freedom. I started experimenting with spray paint my sophomore year and quickly saw I had no idea how to control it. Ironically, for a self-control freak, I loved that! For the first time ever, here was this thing that I couldn't control at all and yet the painting always worked itself out and I got beautiful results. So for the next few years painting was just about relaxing and going with the flow. My therapy if you will.
The closer I got to God, the more I realized the reason I was able to paint so well was because letting go of control literally enabled God to paint through me. My new "why" for painting was quality time with God. I wasn't all that interested in being a professional artist. Sure, I figured maybe I'd sell them one day if someone was interested but that was hardly my focus.
Until Phase 4: My last semester in college I did an art show and people where so hype about my work, they convinced me one by one to turn into a professional artist. In the summer of 2017 I went pro thinking I was a new college graduate with bills to pay. Selling my art would be an easy (ha! ha! ha!) way to pay a few bills. Nothing more. Nothing less.
*Insert the beginning of my frustration here* For someone with rejection issues, putting yourself out there is a recipe for doubt to invade all confidence in any positive results. Nevertheless, I hyped myself up thinking I could sell at least half of my work. I went into the event telling anyone who came by about how God painted this and teaches me to quit trying to control everything. After a few hours...I didn't sell not one! piece or print. I tried not to get discouraged because that particular event didn't cater to art lovers. The next event, however, was an actual event for creatives but once again I went in there with my stories about God and still couldn't sell anything. During the 3rd or 4th event, I did sell two prints but the lady haggled me down after convincing me no one else at that particular event would buy my art at my prices, which of course made me feel some kind of way. Frustrated that no one was buying my work, despite my efforts, I stopped my pursuit of looking for shows for a few months.
However, I still wanted to be a full time artist. In order to keep from being disappointed all the time, I had to resolve that I wasn't in front of my targe audience yet. To get there, I needed to network and that became my new "why" for going to art shows. I quickly saw that by changing my "why" I was no longer disappointed because I had changed my focus to what I could accomplish instead of being irritated at what I couldn't accomplish.
The tide really turned when I went to Pancakes and Booze, a major art event held around the country. I'm not going to lie. It was so popular that I fully expected to sell at least a few prints. I went and did like I always do: people came up to me, admired the art and I started talking about God just as candid and casual as anyone else talking about their art. I got to hear other people's theories on my work. I encouraged some people to follow that creative urge. I talked to a mom about her concerns for her daughter and did my best to give her some hope since I use to be a lot like her daughter. Yal somewhere in the middle of this 5 hour show I realized how much fun I was having talking to people about God and just in general even though I still hadn't sold anything to the dozens who were interested. At some point I looked up at God and told Him that selling my artwork would've just been a bonus. I walked away from a 5 hour event, thousands of people came through and not one piece sold yet I felt like I was on top of the world. It was after this show that I realized, my art wasn't for paying my bills (although that is ALWAYS a nice bonus lol). My art was purposed to minister to people about God.
For the next couple of events, I didn't go expecting to make money. I went expecting to minister. Every event I was able to network and minister or encourage people was a successful show in my book. Tonight I attended The Art of Metanoia pop up art show. I went in there with Godly business as usual and for the first time in 8 months, I sold an original piece and a print at full price! It seems that the moment I re-postured my heart and my "why" to where God wanted, is the moment my gifts started to make room for me.
I'm sharing my story, so that you can see just how important your "why" is to God. He has to make sure it is in the right place before He will bless it and make it successful. If I had made a lot of money when I first started I certainly wouldn't have submerged myself into the ministry God was trying to call me too. So if you're not making the kind of progress or success you feel you should be making, you might want to check in with God and make sure you are where He wants you to be.