As artists trying to do anything with or through our art, we can wrestle with the belief that we're missing something; that there's something we need that we don't have that's making it difficult to move forward or take the next step. In Episode 35, Marlita explores how incredibly thorough the Lord has been in setting us up to have, be, and do what He's showing us for our life in art in His kingdom. All we need is already inside of us! After the episode, share your thoughts!
Hello and welcome to the Kingdom Art Life podcast. I’m your host, Marlita Hill, here to help you walk in wholeness, move in freedom, and work in harmony as you build a life in art in collaboration with God.
As artists trying to do anything with or through our art, there are several questions we encounter on a rather regular basis. Three, in particula,r come to mind.
There's the question of resource, how am I going to pay for this?
The question of capability, how am I going to accomplish this?
And the question of confidence, do I have what it takes to pull this off?
And as I reflect on ways friends and I work through these questions, I notice that all of us start off wrestling the belief that there is something we're missing that is preventing, or at least delaying, us from moving forward or taking the next step.
But the other day I was listening to a coaching session I had with an artist and two parts of our conversation jumped out at me. The first was our discussion about 2 kings 4:4 and the second was our discussion about God's interaction with Moses and his rod in Exodus 4. The connection the Lord drew between these encounters was so encouraging for me and I want to share it with you today.
As I mentioned in the beginning, when trying to do anything with or through our art, we can initially wrestle with the belief that we're missing something, that there's something we need that we don't have that's making it difficult to move forward in what God is showing us. But in 2 kings 4, Exodus 4, and 2 kings 6, we're going to see that's never the case.
When I was writing this episode, the Lord illuminated two other passages for me. In the Passion translation of 2nd Peter 1:3, it says "everything we could ever need for life or godliness has already been deposited in us by His divine power."
Everything we could ever need.
For life—or to live.
And for godliness—or to do or be anything God is calling us to do or be.
Everything you could ever need for either of those situations has already been deposited in you by his divine power. That is a selah moment if I've ever encountered one.
In Genesis 1:29, God is explaining to Adam how to feed himself in the garden. In His instructions, God repeats this three word phrase "that yields seed," as if to stress to Adam if you need anything, you'll find it on the inside of what's already here. 2nd Peter and Genesis show us that the first and biggest part of the answer to what we need will always come from inside of us.
With that yumminess, let's look at these 3 encounters.
It starts inside you.
In 2nd kings 4, we find a widow who needs money to pay her creditors. After she explains her situation to the prophet Elisha, he asks her, "What do you have in your house?"
She needs money.
But he doesn't give her money.
He asks her what she has in her house. And she responds "your maid servant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil."
So she needs resources. She's wondering, how am I going to pay these bills. And I can imagine she calls out to the prophet hoping he might give her something. But he directs her to inventory what's in her house. Again she has said that she has nothing but a jar of oil.
Then the prophet gives her some instructions and tells her when she follows them, she'll have enough to pay her debts and be able to live on the rest. Now, I'm hugely paraphrasing this story because there is so much that is so amazing in this encounter. And I'm sure I've shared what the Lord taught me from this passage at some point in this podcast. I mean, it's so serious for me that it shapes how I live and support myself. But I digress.
So the prophet gives her instructions on what to do with the oil to get the money she needs. Now she's always had that oil in her house. The prophet doesn't give her a jar of oil. She's always had it. But she needs to pay her debts and she believes she needs something she doesn't have to be able to pay them. Her problem isn't that she doesn't already have what she needs. Her problem is that she can't see that what she already has in her house is the answer to what she needs. She doesn't know how to employ what she already has in a way that will get her what she needs.
So the prophet doesn't give her anything but instead tells her what to do with what she already has. Well, I guess if we're being super technical, he does give her something. He gives her a strategy, which is huge. But my point is his strategy simply points out how she can use what she already has to get what she needs.
The same is true for you and I. Our oil is our gifts, talents, ideas, etc. As artists, we wonder how we're going to make a living, how we're going to pay bills or get the money to pay for something we need. And the first and biggest part of the solution is inside of us. We just have to recognize that and get a strategy for how to put it to use to help us get what we need.
You’re holding something amazing.
In Exodus 4, the Lord has appeared to Moses and charged him with freeing the children of Israel from Egypt and bringing them into their own land. God tells Moses what to do and in Exodus 4:1, Moses asks God, "But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice. Suppose they say the Lord has not appeared to you."
I can imagine Moses thinking, God, I don't think I have the means to do this. I don't have anything that would convince them that you sent me. I certainly don't have anything that would convince pharaoh to let these people go.
In verse 2, it says so the Lord said to Moses, "What is that in your hand?" And Moses answers "A rod." Then God proceeds to instruct Moses in how to use the rod to do what he's being asked.
So Moses is about to take on an assignment, a project if you will. And he's convinced that he doesn't have anything capable enough to help him get it done. In response to him, the Lord doesn't give him anything. Instead, he asks Moses what's in his hand and then proceeds to show him how to use it. And throughout Moses' confrontations with Pharaoh, we see God showing Moses yet another thing this rod can do.
And I picture us. God shows us these visions and we think, Lord, I don't think I have what's needed to do what you're showing me. And the Lord is asking us
"What's in your hand? You're already holding everything you need. You just need me to show you all it's capable of. Let me show you all that this gift of art can do. You can create with this.
You can curate with this.
You can produce with this.
You can build community with this.
You can heal and repair with this.
You can change minds with this.
You can shift destinies with this.”
I didn't start out knowing all I was going to do or all I was capable of doing. I didn't know that I would be dancing, then teaching, then choreographing and producing and mentoring. I didn't know I would be writing and that that writing would expand from dance to all arts to entrepreneurship. I didn't know I would be building courses and coaching. I didn't know I'd be creating frameworks and systems that other people would use and find solutions in.
But the Lord just keeps showing me how expansive this gift He gave me is.
And I just keep following him.
And He'll do the same for you if you let Him. You're already holding what you need to fulfill what you see. You just need to be shown how amazingly capable you and it really are.
It’s time for you to see.
And finally, we go to 2 Kings 6. The king of Syria is warring with Israel. Elisha the prophet keeps telling the king of Israel what the king of Syria is going to do next. Obviously this ticks the king of Syria off so he sets out to capture the prophet Elisha so that Elisha can't keep giving the king of Israel the tea or the scoop. The king of Syria finds Elisha and the Israelite army and surrounds them, which understandably causes Elisha's servant to freak out. In 2 Kings 6:15, the servant asks Elijah, "What shall we do?" Now his question is not a question of strategy, as in what steps do we need to take now that we're surrounded? No. His question is a question of confidence, as in "Are we going to be OK? Are we going to be able to pull this victory off because right about now, I'm not feeling so sure."
And in verse 16, Elisha responds, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are against us. Then he prays "Lord, open his eyes that he may see." And it says, the Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
So the young servant is afraid. He is not confident that they will be able to pull off a victory. And Elisha simply assures Him and prays that the Lord would open his eyes that he may see.
There have been many times in this walk where I have lacked confidence that things were coming together as the Lord showed me because nothing I could see around me looked like they were. But without fail, the Lord has been faithful to assure me and open my eyes so I could see—
See how he was working
See the parts that were moving into place
See the people who were in place to help me
See that the problem was so much smaller than I thought it was
See what I actually needed to do to get out of a situation or move things forward.
I have learned that many times it's not that we lack what we need. It's that we don't see what we have.
One of the great joys of doing this podcast, writing books, and coaching and teaching artists is that I get to remind you of how good the God you serve is,
How amazing He is,
and how incredibly thorough He's been in setting you up so that you can victoriously have, be, and do what He's showing you for your life in art in His kingdom. I pray that this encouraged you today!
Until next time, be blessed!
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Which of these encounters most spoke to you?