I sometimes find myself pondering the implications of our profession as Christians and how it may differ to others. How do I experience and handle my writing and illustrating career differently to those who do not have the kind of relationship I have with God? Is there a difference? What does that mean, and how do I process that and how does that influence my decisions and outcome?
Personally, I believe there are some enormous and important differences!
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:13-16
I am not a big fan of the Message translation but I felt these two passages were a perfect for what I wanted to illustrate.
God’s salt to the devil is like table salt to a slug - Let us be SALTY!
SALT & LIGHT...
SOURCE: The key to all I do is to do it safely through prayer and trust. Even Christ followers can underestimate the value of prayer – isn’t that crazy! Over time God has shown me the undeniable power in the name of Jesus. I would be crazy not to submit my career to prayer regularly, when I say prayer - I mean both speak and listen!
REASON: I need to be mindful of my intention and outcome when I create anything. I need to understand what God has placed in my heart for the Works. Life is short, and we can only produce so much, so I want to make my Works count and have a little foresight in God’s direction. For this reason (after considerate prayer) I wrote down the answer to why I write and illustrate and what I want my writing to say and do. I cannot tell you how much this has helped me!
I came up with three significant words I call the ETrinity (edify, encourage and empower). The 3 e’s are at the centre and forefront of my mind when I work. Should the enemy try to distract me, or should I take even the slightest detour, I can decipher this when remembering my 3 E’s. These are my ‘SALT and LIGHT’, and at the core of my heart. This is what God wants me to have the courage to express through my voice.
OPPOSITION: In any business there is opposing or competing elements that can create resistance. We are in the business of God. He has our back and we have a different opposition to contend with. We need to be aware of how the business works in the world but we also of the fight unseen.
Knowing how God works against this opposition I turn to my personal assistant; the one I need to consult each morning and makes a difference to every day. My assistant is wise beyond all measure and has the amazing ability to find solutions to every concern. My assistant’s name is Bible. My days ignoring Bible or prayer are always harder than need be. I am trying to be more habitual about this essential time.
MANAGEMENT: Less planning and more flexing. Am I truly letting God lead my career path and making my time count or am I just indulging myself?
If we haven’t already figured it out, we eventually will; life following Jesus is unpredictable, exciting and sometimes challenging but always incredibly fruitful. In my humanness to manage MY business, I can sometimes forget it is not MY business - I gave it to God!
I am a great believer in planning. I have mind maps, lists and filing systems that probably look OCD to some, but I am also open to godly interruptions. God owns my time, my life and my career. This has come in the guise of a stressed and lost person at my door, a person broken down on the side of the road, a prayer meeting I have no time for and even shifts of well panned ideas. The interruptions to my time-deprived days are numerous but I know God is behind a generous life and when I feel at peace, I have to be flexible and trust. He is my time manager. The challenge at times, is to determine what is a distraction from God and not one from the enemy.
Why are you here? What is your salt and light and at the core of your career and who is managing your time and business?
I pray you use every minute and every written word to honour our beautiful Jesus. I also pray that you harness the awesome power of prayer and God’s anointing, and God blesses the words that fall from your hearts with salt and light. Whether writing for mainstream or a Christian audience, may all we do eventuate in multiplying our family, and somehow draw others into a more intimate relationship with a Father who adores them.
Kayleen West is a children's book Author and Illustrator from Victoria. Her new picture book Adoptive Father can be found at www.adoptivefather.org
Her portfolio can be seen at: www.kayleenwest.com.au