Grow Your Art Through Discouragement (Said No One Ever)

By Erik Peterson

If we know that discouragement is absolutely not a recipe for success, then why do we often resort to it in our art?  

We tell ourselves we aren’t good enough. We nitpick the smallest of mistakes. We say things to ourselves we would never say to a friend.

As a result, our art suffers and we suffer.  Isn’t there a better way? (Why yes, there is!)

Let’s look at what God says in His Word. 

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”  - 1 Thessalonians 5:11 

I love this verse for its simplicity and how practical it is. When we encourage each other, we are literally building each other up. The Greek word for ‘build’ refers to a house-builder. So, through encouragement, we are making each other new and fulfilling God’s blueprint for our lives in Christ.

Discouragement does the opposite. It tears down. 

So, quick check-in:

  1. Are you receiving God’s encouragement over you in your art and life?
  2. Are you encouraging yourself and your creative progress?
  3. Are you positioning yourself in a creative community where you can give and receive encouragement?

We need all three to thrive in our creative work. Even if we have the first two, and lack community, we will not bear the kind of fruit God intends for us. We are designed to be His own vessels of encouragement to each other.

Encouraging Each Other

This is why in our creative coaching at the Grove, encouragement and celebration are core qualities we embody every time we meet.

One of the ways we do this on a practical level is by molding certain rhythms into our creative coaching time. We always like to begin by acknowledging the good in our lives and art, in the form of, “What are you celebrating?” 

This simple practice can create powerful shifts in how we relate to our art. Rather than feeling like we’re behind or not making “any” progress, we look for the wins, both big and small, and give them their due.

In time, we learn to fuel our work with more positivity, encouragement and genuine satisfaction for the ways we are showing up and how God is showing up with us.

Celebration is one of the most encouraging practices we can do to build up each other in our art, life and faith.

What are you celebrating today?  


For more resources to cultivate your spiritual life and creative work, follow The Grove (@thegrovecenter) over here on Instagram!