WHY I AM AN ARTIST... (and what you should do with your life)

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Why am I an artist? I’ll tell you why… because God gave me an amazing Spiritual Gift. No I’m not talking about artistic skill, because I believe that is something that is earned with practice, something I am still working on everyday. The Spiritual Gift that I am talking about is one that some people might not realize is a gift. I have always known what I wanted to do with my life. I can see an ultimate goal, the big picture, and know that it is possible. I know when I’m on the right track even when others around me might not see it. That is an amazing gift that I am very thankful for, because I always know the direction I want to be going. I know who I am and I know who I want to become. I recognize these traits as a blessing, as a Gift. I believe this Gift comes from our Heavenly Father. Everybody has Spiritual Gifts that are unique to them, and we should learn to recognize and utilize our Gifts.

As long as I remember, I wanted to be an artist. I have always had an interest in drawing and painting, but more importantly, I wanted to create, I wanted to design something beautiful, I wanted to build. I have held many jobs through my life that fit in with these requirements, but through all my years of working these jobs, I knew they were only temporary. I knew I was working towards something else. If I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life, If I didn’t feel that I was on the right path to get there, then I should have done things differently, but I did know what the big picture was, even if I didn’t yet know all the details. Looking back on my life, I can clearly see each position in my life as an essential step to make my life the way it is today (although some of the steps ahead of me may still be a bit hazy).
Brent & Jeanette Borup Family - Preston, Idaho

About six years ago, my wife and I got this crazy idea: “We should move to Preston, Idaho!”. The weird thing is, we had no idea why. Neither one of us had ever been to Preston, and the only thing we knew about it was what we learned while watching Napoleon Dynamite. Then suddenly, I was laid off. Out of work, we decided to look at our situation as an opportunity. We decided that as long as I was looking for work, I should look in Preston. Soon after, I drove (for the first time ever) to where Heavenly Father seemed to be encouraging us to go. Everything fell into place. We sold our home in just three days and bought a new one in Preston that we love. Our children loved the area and were excited for the change. I began work as the manager of a frame shop and art gallery. My job had tons of potential because I could take home whatever profit I could earn! The sky was the limit! … and I failed miserably.

We felt so blessed to be where we were at this point in our lives. Our family life was great, we were happy… but we were broke. I was extremely busy trying to keep a failing business afloat, and I just wasn’t getting by. I got a minimum wage job on nights and weekends so that I could pay the mortgage. To supplement my two job income, I began focusing more and more on my artwork. Ever since I got married, I had always had a small side business trying to sell my artwork. It was fun, but it was a hobby… for two reasons. First, I was always too busy to do much artwork, and second, when I did have an art show, it just didn’t earn any money. I was lucky if I broke even after a long weekend at an art festival. The weird thing is, I always knew that I should be an artist, I just wasn’t sure how that was going to work out. Moving to Preston was a blessing that helped me see the direction I should take.
"Logan Temple - A Light in the Storm" by Brent Borup 
During one of my first weekends in Preston, I set up a small booth on the sidewalk in front of my gallery (as many local businesses did) during “That Famous Preston Night Rodeo”. I had recently completed a painting of the Logan LDS Temple. I was simply amazed at the response I received. This painting was my first “hit”. I realized that I may have found my niche, but more importantly, I realized something much more profound: If I had a talent, it was because Heavenly Father gave it to me and that meant that I should use it to help other people. Shouldn’t I be using it to try to build up the Kingdom of God? Up until this point, I had painted many subjects, from local scenery to beautiful women. Most were mediocre, some were very good, but when I look back at some of these early paintings, I think… “Why did I paint that? What was the point? How did that piece of artwork really contribute anything good to the world? How did that really uplift or inspire anybody to make their life better? How did that painting bring anybody closer to Christ. What is the point to my career choice if I’m not contributing positively to mankind?”
So I began my career painting Inspirational Christian artwork… quite unsuccessfully. One day I was reading a blog by Al Fox. This was an ordinary person who has been through many trials but still has the faith to move forward and do what the Holy Ghost tells her to do, even when it's not what she wants to do. Now she has a large online presence, and she was encouraging others to use the hashtags #spreadthespirit and #usetheinternetforgood. I realized that even though I was trying to use my talents for good, my focus was on the wrong thing. I was trying to make money. Don't get me wrong, making money can be a very good thing, and I believe that our Heavenly Father wants us to provided for our families, and we can do that abundantly, but... that was my focus. When I shared my artwork, I wasn't trying to spread the Spirit, I was trying to get exposure. I decided to take Al's advice and really try to use the internet for good. I started to create memes with my artwork. Instead of descriptions with prices, I added scriptures, or inspirational thoughts. I encouraged others to share their testimonies by sharing mine. Of course, I do need a balance, sometimes my posts are about business. Selling my artwork is, after all, how I provide for my family, but for the most part, I try to think about how I can use my talents to uplift others. When I started to do this, things started to happen. Opportunities began to present themselves, and doors began to open. I was able to quit my two other jobs and just focus on artwork. It has been hard at times, I have run into problems, but the Lord has blessed me in ways that I didn't plan on, and I try to keep going.

Why do I share this with you? Because I’m hoping it can make a difference in somebody’s life. I believe that EVERYBODY can make a positive difference in the world, and not only that, but I believe God has given us the tools to accomplish just that. Everybody is given a Spiritual Gift… AND… we are counseled to seek after and develop the best gifts. I am constantly re-evaluating my life. I am constantly asking myself if what I’m spending my time on really matters. There are many times that my projects matter only because it they are paying the bills, which is not a bad thing, but I want to accomplish more than that. I have seen my life change for the better when I try to follow the will of the Lord, but I know I still have far to go. I have many lofty goals that I believe are worthy to have, and I know that Heavenly Father can help me to accomplish these goals. I believe He wants me to succeed, because by doing so I can better help more of His children. Some of these goals do not include me being a full time artist, for that too is just a stepping stone in my life. Some of these goals require me stepping out of my comfort zone and developing new talents that are only now just being made manifest. I am excited for the future. I am excited to find out just “how” parts of the big picture in my mind will come to pass.

I would like to encourage you to think about your own Spiritual Gifts. Heavenly Father has given EVERYBODY a gift so that we can use it to help others. Identify it. I’m not talking about learned talents (although those should be used to help others also) I’m talking about your SPIRITUAL GIFT. You may think it is easier to see how some people may have jobs that are better suited for using their gift, but I know that we ALL can use ours everyday. I know a rich businessman who is one of the most generous people I have ever met. I know a gas station attendant who goes out of his way to get his customers to smile. It may be that you are a good listener, it may be that you are bold in your testimony, it may be that you can endure trials with a smile, whatever it may be, use it. Let it grow. Share it with others. I know that when you do, not only will other lives be blessed, but yours will also.
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  1. Your post has really touched me today. I too am an artist. I sincerely believe that that is what Father wants me to be for many reasons. My ability to paint came to me so fast and strong that I was afraid to tell people how long I had been painting. Unfortunately I was shy about the gift that I had been given. I was also aware that I was in danger of pride in what I could do. So to remind myself that my gift was from God and that it was only in and through Him that I could do what I can do, I began signing my paintings with GtG. It stands for Glory to God. I can leave off anything else but I always sign with that even if it's small.
    So today when I read you post it really touched me. I do sincerely want to use my talents to help others. Somehow I feel that if I do that everything I hope will come to pass. I want to be the artist that God want me to be, but I still debate all the time about what I should do. I'm also a graphic artist. It's defiantly an easier way to make money, but if I put the time into that there is no time for my art. Maybe if my focus is to serve and lift others everything will fall into place.
    Thank you for your post.

    1. "Maybe if my focus is to serve and lift others everything will fall into place." -That is definitely true! Try your best at doing that. Of course sometimes you may need to focus on paying bills, the trick is finding the right balance and having faith that it will all work out! (Hint... it does)


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