Friday, August 1, 2014

Starts with Why

Reflections of Indigo
6x8, oil
sold

I had a conversation with my cousin while on vacation about my art career that triggered me to thinking about why I paint. Why I paint in the style that I do, why I paint the subject matter that I do, why I want to sell my paintings, increase exposure of my work, take commissions, etc. Why do I do everything I do?

My cousin Bryan recommended a book by Simon Sinek called "Starts With Why". You have probably heard of him and his message. He gave a fantastic TEDtalk with the same title.

The premise of his argument in the talk was that people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

I've always thought that I'm very clear on my Why. Because it's the same reason I do (or rather, want to do) everything in my life.

A couple days after talking with Bryan I read Psalm 27. Verse 4 is my Why.

"One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple." Psalm 27:4

My personal why is "to behold the beauty of God every day and be amazed by His person, character and majesty."

Now I am just like everyone else. I am distracted by the to-do list, the phone calls and text messages, the people who need things of me, health issues, family issues, peripheral goals and "putting out fires" as they call it. After my conversation with Bryan I started writing a little every day about my Why. I was shocked to see how often I unconsciously switched into "How" and "What" mode. It proved to me that I need to focus my mind more each day, beyond 20 minutes of reading my Bible, on my "Why" for existence. The how's and what's will come naturally when I am clear on my Why.

While Simon Sinek's why for having a Why is to have a more successful business/career/life, my why for having a Why is this: It it what I was made for. I was made to behold God's beauty. I was made to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (as states the Westminster Catechism). It is the very reason I exist. This reason was not chosen by me. It was woven into my soul by the One who brought me into existence in the first place.

I hate how easily I forget it. Those empty feelings, those feelings of dissatisfaction, those feelings of "if only ____ then everything will be right again" are really reminders from the Holy Spirit to return to my Why, my purpose. 

And this purpose, this Why, has everything to do with my artwork. If you don't mind, I'd like to write a little more about it and how it directs the How of my art-making and art selling in subsequent posts. Simon Sinek and my cousin Bryan were good reminders that this is something to be shared.

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