Sunday, December 28, 2014

Clemency for Artists

Woe is the world unkind to The Artist! 

People with such misconstrued convictions have a specific place in the world; a place dictated by rules, traditions, and results. Among them are The Scientist, The Law Keeper, and The Rationalist. We Artists have a specific place in the world too; and without disparaging your status in life, we beg for the opening of eyes to reveal the eminent necessity for people like us. It is not validation we seek for our proclaimed path--for we are that we are at no evidence of anatomy--but rather we plead clemency for the invalidation endured by our fellow man. As all lives hold equal value, so all dreams and talents have sanctity.

The Artists are those who determine value not by dollars, but by heart. We are they that dare to live in the treacheries of the unknown so that we might achieve universal understanding through our interpretations. It is us for whom possibilities are truly infinite and life on earth made eternal. 

Yet it is because of those not like us that education and legalistic ambition have become recognized as the only means by which to achieve satisfaction, success, and wealth. Those who think solely thusly strangle and thus kill The Artist, his cousin The Dreamer, his friend The Philosopher, and lastly himself The Child. For it is my belief that all beings are fashioned with and by a creative stirring. 

Discouragement kills us all, yes, but it is especially cruel to The Artist. 

May we never seek to destroy another man's dreams simply because they are not our own. A dream is given to he alone who is able to interpret and to fulfill it's destiny. Although yours and mine are different, each have a unique equality in the world. This mecca is ours as humans to share, to uplift, and to provide for. It is then the responsibility of the collective to create a world a little less massacred by petty words of ignorance or self-serving principalities if we hope to preserve some bit of Eden for future generations.

We must be gentle with our ambitions so that they do not crush the fragile wings of others. For who can know? Their wings may very well be the means by which humanity finally learns to fly. Let us end the war between science and religion, of art and medicine, and of you and I. Together then, by the gifts and passions so preciously nestled in our aspirations, we shall create thereby a sort of betterment of mankind. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

7 Out of 10

I only recited 7. That was it. It was tragic.

I’m one of those from-the-womb Christians (meaning I was born into a family with an active expression of the religion). Still being in the practice of my faith over twenty years later, I quizzed myself on the Ten Commandments just to see if I still knew what they were. There’s only ten of them, right? It shouldn’t be that hard. I racked my blanked brain—without cheating—for the final three commandments. Thankfully, God’s grace covered my mental lapse with verses like:

Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)

But I also knew that Jesus himself said:

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me… (John 14:21)

Written in the Old Testament but quoted in the New Testament, the utterance is still a contemporary edict. While our faith is what will be counted to us as righteousness (Romans 1:17) and love is the greatest of laws (Matthew 22:36 - 22:38), there is yet a blueprint on which, at the inception of Israel’s proclamation as the chosen people, we are called to live by. Following the string of biblically thematic movies, perhaps it is time for a remake of the 1956 film?

John said it best:

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (John 5:2-3)
There’s that silly song I once adored “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.” But John also says they’ll know we are Christians because we “observe His commandments,” and to love God means keeping his rules with out contempt.  Ouch!

In all this, I still couldn’t remember the three remaining commandments. When I finally read the words regarding Moses and the mount, I was not only convicted, but also challenged. The three commandments I had forgotten were exactly the three that I had forgotten to live by. Ouch again! 

It is now a personal challenge to return to my youthful obedience and keep the commandments. All of them.

Notice I didn’t list what they were? After you’ve quizzed yourself on the Big 10, take a look at the cheat sheet of righteousness in Exodus 20:1-17. I challenge you to reassess your lawful meter and look at the blueprint in a whole new way.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Crossing Your Jordan

After being liberated from Pharaoh's slavery in Egypt in a miraculous display of God's power, Moses leads the Israelites in pursuit of the Promised Land.  But this journey was neither swift nor direct and the Israelites, like most of us, began to grumble against the Lord their God saying to Moses "Now we are ready to go into the land we were promised!" (Num 14:39).  God's response to this loss of faith was:
 21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. (Num 14:21-23)
No, you didn't misread the ordering of this verse. God already knew that the Israelites would fail their testing in the wilderness. Moses warned them they did not have God's favor (Num 14:41-42), but sometimes we want to rush into our Promise Land thinking that God has abandoned us in the wilderness. The Israelites were destroyed--excepting Joshua--who by his faith did not complain (Num 14:38; Josh 5:6-7).  He is the one who leads their youth to the door of the Promise Land on the bank of the Jordan River, forty years later as men and women of a new Israel (Josh 3:7-8). 

But the Jordan River was overflowing with high tide and vegetation (Josh 3:15). In a journey too dangerous for even their strongest men, Joshua instructs the priest holding the ark (or God's literal written promise to the people as given to Moses) to step into the water first. In doing so the waters immediately parted so that a highway of dry ground was made. 

Now we've been told that God keeps his promises. But what do we do when we get to the door of our Promise Land only to find it locked, flooded, and impossible to cross? When God bought the Israelites through the Red Sea and away from Pharoah's chasing army he parted 1,400 mi width and 8,200 mi at its deepest. Jordan, by comparison, is only 15 mi across about 150 ft at its deepest. If my God is faithful to part an entire Sea, why do I doubt him when I get to the River? 

What I love about this image is that is reveals to us the necessity of holding on to God's promises.  In verse 17, the priest holding the ark doesn't continue leading ahead but instead he;
 "stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground." (Josh 3:17)
This was so that every single Israelite witnessed that it was not by Moses, or Joshua, the priest, or their own strength, but only by the will of the Lord that a way had been made.

As we stand right on the edge of all we have been hoping for, yet unable to cross, we must trust that our crossing depends solely on our God who is able to fulfill his promises and bring us into our glory. May we be encouraged by our strengthening in the wilderness and steadfast to the promises from the Lord!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Skinny Junk

I’m not an eater.

Some people are great at eating. I, alas, am not gifted in the art of mass consumption. Food and I have a healthy and respectable give-and-take matrimony. There is nothing I love more than a good plate of swoon-worthy vegetables, succulent kisses of fruit, balanced with occasional rounds of lactose and gluten. But I also take good care of my body—meaning it also takes good care of me. No more and no less. Excepting the few times when the mirror disagrees, I manage to make it out of the house from day to day without any major qualms about my physical existence.

“But you’re a model,” you might say. “Models always have perfect bodies.”

Models, truly, have a physic that photographs well and by media manipulation are presented in a perfect image. My legs don’t go on for days, I’m sub-average in height, my cheeks are full, and sometimes I take really bad pictures. Yet what glamour and an airbrush can’t fix lies much deeper. I won’t own a scale because quite frankly the scale doesn’t own me. If I feel good then I look good...

BUT, Today I ate a lot of junk.

A healthy lifestyle, after all, affords occasional saturated meals. But today I ate simply because it was junk. It was a fanciful smorgasbord of sensual chaos. There was homemade jam, and biscuits with melted cheddar, pizza, cookies, soda, ice cream etc. There was no fruit and there was no vegetable excepting the tomato sauce hiding in my three slices of pizza.

Suddenly I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t feel good. Who was this girl and why was she so hungry? I thought of myself as reckless, careless, and (as most humans do in times of binged glutton)… I felt guilty.

“Hey Mami, ” a guy called lustfully to me as I was walking home/burning calories/planning to start a detox cleanse tomorrow.

“You don’t want her,” his androgynous friend said. “She ain’t got no meat on her bones!”

There I am again. I am the chicken-legged vegetarian who is fit, happy, and healthy. I was not a weak person for eating junk food; because at the end of the day, I knew my body would always take care of me so long as I loved it in the process. A diet is not perfect if it does not consist of love. Feeling good is a choice that happens at any size or over any meal, but it is first and foremost a choice. A healthy life starts with loving yourself, feeling good about your choices, and looking good while doing it. So, eat some love today.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nothing is a Feeling

To say I feel nothing, would be accurate if t'were possible. I was told to take time and reflect on what has been the last ~4 years of my life on an indescribable journey in publishing a novel (Unadequate). Perhaps they that have asked how I feel now that the book has been released expected too much of myself--who by my humble nature already feels so much. Given proper consideration, I suppose I will always see this otherwise prolific milestone as just another grain of sand in the hourglass, a notch in the belt, a clover in the field, an attraction in the road trip, etc...

Nothing, in theory, is tricky at best. And so I made a list in hopes that feeling would somehow follow intellect. This is what I've learned in this process:
  1. Do the work.
  2. In all things give praise and practice gratitude.
  3. Be wholly independent. You are not your inspiration/idea.
  4. Don't let your dream become your idol.
  5. Keep it close, and closer still. 
  6. Be ready to share with strangers, for strangers soon become your friends.
  7. Pushing? Stop.
  8. Not every problem requires a solution or fixing.
  9. Money can buy you time. 
  10. Invest your time in what brings you money.
  11. People will surprise you.
  12. Every setback is actually a setup for greater/better.
  13. Get your hopes up and build foundations to keep them there.
  14. Don't fight to quit - Fight to keep going.
  15. Details are everything and nothing.
  16. There are only "Good Days" 
  17. Give yourself milestones not plans or a calander.
  18. Trust the process.
  19. Never lose hope in the promise.
  20. Watch for miracles.
  21. Doubting yourself is fine, but never doubt He who works in you.
  22. Don't skip ahead, the forecast changes and you won't be dressed for the weather.
  23. Forgive yourself when necessary.
  24. You will never know the next step before you take it.
  25. "How Are You?" will reveal your true friends/family. If they don't ask that question in genuine concern,  don't be surprised if they disappear.
  26. Your physical, mental, and emotional state are connected. Neglect one and the others perish.
  27. Disappointment will happen if you're doing it 'right'.
  28. Do things that make you unconditionally happy.
  29. You will always know what you want. Ask yourself.
  30. Your definition of possible was meant to be rewritten.
I suppose that's the best of all the nothing I could offer any of you who are attempting to tackle the biggest of your dreams. For if you expect any fulfillment you must first be emptied; and when you have been emptied in pursuit of your calling... maybe nothing is the greatest feeling one can achieve. 

Nicole Lockhart

For those of you who've already read the book, thank you for your kind words and for sharing it with other readers. If you haven't yet read this little fiction gem of mine: Buy Paperback or Download Kindle. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sit On Your Hands (A Lesson in Faith)

For the past three years of my life, I have poured many hours into a novel (Unadequate). As of today I have mere days to raise the remaining funds of my pre-order campaign. While there are many names I could call, emails I could send, and things still to be done; in the early morning hours of my blackend apartment I hear that familiar voice demand of me:


(The following is the dialogue which then transpired between myself and the universe at 4:44am. It should also be known that I am not a morning person and enjoy always the deepest of sleep.)

ME: You’ve got to be f***ing kidding me.
GOD: No.
ME: Now?
GOD: That’s right. After 3 years of working and doing, I want you to sit on your hands for 3 days.
ME: I think I’m going to be sick…
GOD: How can the works of your hands produce a greater faith in me? I tell you they cannot. Far be it from the hands of humans to perform the miracles they so wish to interfere with their circumstance. It is not hands, but faith and faith alone that produces the power of God. Are not my ways better? Are not my resources infinite? Are not my hands stronger? I am the great I am in whom and through whom all things are possible. Not by your hands but my will be done.
Will by definition is the power by which all things succeed. For what is impossible with man will be possible with God.

How can you credit to faith what you have done by your own works? No! I say unto thee:


Sit and so manifest the powers of heaven by faith. Faith—which is the evidence of all your hopes yet unattained. How can you trust what you still daily see? How can I move when you work continuously? No! I say unto thee:


You look for these signs with your eyes, but I say look no more—for I am in the unseen. What is faith if it is not called to walk out upon the waters? If it is not led through the darkness where all is unseen and yet still is? Faith exists not in the sight of man, but in his heart an in his soul. So I say unto you:


I work in instants and you labor in years. But the lifetime of man is not measured by how many or how frequent the harvest; but by the beauty of his field as tended by the famer of his faith. See, the seeds planted do not grow by the earth but from it. The miracles of the universe come not by man but by the universe itself when man learns he must…


The future of this book, as with all things, lies not with your hands and I ask you to sit on them so that I may bring forth every promise, grow every seed, and manifest every unseen vision by your faith—not your hands. It is not only for your sake that I do this but so that others may see by your faith (not your hands) the work of a God in which they no longer have belief, trust, or faith.


Lift not a finger to tweet, to update a status, or promote. Then watch as I show you what I have already begun, am always doing, and will finish. Think not that you are testing me, but rather I am testing you while you…


If three days can raise a dead man and restore him to life, then in three days can I produce the miracle you so desire. Look no more to your hands, and see the evidence of your faith in me. Doubt not the power of your God with the works of your hand or the generosity of your fellow man, and believe I will give all things unto you when you... 


Sit in darkness as you blackout the sight, tie up the hands in prayer, and contain the eagerness to perform works of your flesh. Then I will show myself more powerful, more abundant, and more omnipresent.

ME: In the silent dark before sunrise, and for every day to come, I will be found sitting on my hands. Watching not for the dollar signs, not for the copies sold, but for the power of He who does all things. Bearing witness to the awesomeness of God as only man can when he sits on his hands.
GOD: Anything else?
ME: Yes.
GOD: What?
ME: I love you.
GOD: I love you too.