Just Believe: Faith, art and the supernatural
5 lessons to help you operate boldly in your calling
Julia has one of those smiles that lights up the room; she smiles with her whole face, even her eye’s smile. She has a smile that makes you feel welcomed, accepted and loved. It was this smile that greeted me early one morning when we got on Facetime to do the first Faith @ Work interview.
I explained to Julia that I wanted to tell the stories of Kingdom builders, change makers and pioneers who had partnered with God to manifest his will on this earth. I knew Julia was the first person I needed to interview because the story of how she arrived at what she does now will leave you in complete awe of how good God is and how faithful he is to work out his purpose through willing servants with surrendered hearts.
Julia Powell is the founder of Just Believe, a prophet art company where she creates glimpses of heaven for all to see. Julia travels the country sharing her gift through her paintings and teaching at a variety of events including workshops, retreats and conferences. In 2016 Julia started Twelve 12 a worship experience that encourages believers to worship God outside of the confines of regularity, through art, music and dance, tapping into our infinite creativity as God’s image bearers.
I am going to share 5 lessons that I hope will help you to step boldly into your creative calling based on Julia’s inspiring story (whether you consider yourself an artist or not!).
Lesson 1: Take a leap of faith
In 2009 everything changed for Julia when she decided to apply to take part in Bethel’s Children Leaders Advance course. When she applied she had no idea how she would raise the money to go, but she was fully persuaded that she needed to be there and with just 3 weeks to raise the funds she took a leap of faith and went for it. Julia says ‘The thought that I wasn’t going did not compute, I thought if I had to iron a 1000 shirts I would… within 3 days I had the money’.
This trip to Bethel was the catalyst God used to completely transform Julia’s life. Here she encountered the power of prophetic art and tapped into her gift. Julia tells the fascinating story of meeting the man she drew in a prophetic art workshop, while at Bethel.
On the way home, Julia asked God to ‘do it again’ and God gave her a picture for the air hostess including her name. Julia was nervous, but in faith, she stepped out and God honoured that giving Julia the opportunity to reach out and touch that woman’s life and share her faith.
Before starting Just Believe, Julia heard God tell her ‘I want you to paint for me. I want you to paint as you would go after a full-time job.’ So with her last lot of money, Julia bought a cabin her dad put it up for her at the bottom of her garden and she began to paint.
It is these leaps of faith that transform us and in turn, help us to transform the world around us.
“Look at the proud one,
His soul is not right within him,
But the righteous will live by his faith [in the true God].
Habakkuk 2:4 (AMP)
When it comes to stepping out into our calling, we can learn from Julia’s experience, trust God and take a leap of faith.
Lesson 2- Be faithful in the small seemingly insignificant seasons
Before going to Bethel and starting Just Believe Julia had been a Christian for 14 years and a children’s Pastor for 9 years. Julia speaks about the fact that as soon as she became a Christian, she said ‘If I’m in, I’m in’ and she began to work faithfully in different roles within the Church including working in the Crèche, working with young offenders and vulnerable women to name a few.
Julia encourages us to be patient in seasons of waiting. When she was in her seasons of waiting she determined to enjoy the journey and not to miss ‘all of them gems and tools I will pick up along the way’.
We can learn from Julia’s journey, that where God has placed us is preparation for where we will go next. No role is insignificant if we humble ourselves in due time God will raise us up. We are placed for purpose. In times of waiting Julia advises us to ‘press our ears closer to God’, so that we can discern when it’s time to ‘go’.
Lesson 3: There is no formula, it’s all about relationship
Julia has a sense of peace and joy about her, her sense of security radiates from her, this is a woman that knows that she is walking in the will of God. When speaking to Julia about how she navigates her way as she walks out her calling she says ‘I need the holy spirit like I need air’. She explains when it comes to her art; it’s all about relationship, there is no formula, God doesn’t do things the same why every time, she has to stay close to him and so do we.
God wants an intimate personal relationship with us, we cannot rely on formula’s, we have to get to know him for ourselves. We can’t compare our journeys or try to replicate someone else’s journey. Recognising and applying principles is one thing, relying on formula’s is another.
Julia encourages us all to stay close to God. She says ‘When you are in love with someone they are all you can think about’, this is how we should be with God, he should be our focus. Everything else flows from this relationship.
Lesson 4: Trials don’t define you, they refine you
Julia’s journey has not always been smooth, she has had to deal with false accusations at work, she had to make the difficult decision to leave her home Church and she started Just Believe with little to no funds. One thing that is clear, the challenges that Julia has faced do not define her but she has allowed them to refine her.
When talking about dealing with conflict with other Christians, she says ‘When a Christian throws arrows at you it wounds’, she explains that you have to repent of your anger, forgive and ask God to heal your heart. She urges ‘don’t let un-forgiveness harm you’. When it comes to conflict, she compels us to ‘lead by example’ and ‘practice grace’ at all times.
Julia’s experience shows that sometimes God will use difficult situations and trials to propel us into our purpose. In these times we need to trust God and his plan for our lives.
Lesson 5: The key to conquering fear is ‘get over yourself’!
Towards the end of the interview, I decide to ask Julia a question that has been burning on my mind. If it is true, that fear stifles our creativity how do we overcome fear?
A smile spreads across her face and there is a slight twinkle in her eye as she says ‘Do you really want to know?’ I give an enthusiastic ‘yes’ as she continues ‘Get over yourself!’.
I was utterly stunned and a little amused, I was expecting this really profound spiritual advice and yet the simplicity of the statement resonates somehow. She goes on to explain that the only reason we are afraid is that we don’t want to make a mistake, we don’t want to get it wrong and we don’t want to embarrass ourselves and look stupid. If we can just ‘get over ourselves’ these insecurities that hold us back and stop us from cultivating our God given creativity are no longer a barrier. Genius!
Creativity helps us to unlock a different dimension in our relationship with God. Julia explains that creativity ‘helps us capture the multifaceted nature of God’. It gives us freedom, we have to let go and stop rationalising everything and so we become more sensitive to the spirit of God.
As I came to the end of my interview with Julia, she encouraged me to be ‘brave and be bold in the power of the Holy Spirit’ and to live ‘supernaturally normal’. May we embrace this advice with all of our hearts as we operate boldly in our calling.
Reflecting on my interview with Julia, I’m sad I couldn’t share more with you, there were so many well-earned nuggets of wisdom this woman had to share. Who knows, if you like, comment and share this article enough, maybe I will be able to interview her again, this time in a format I can share in its entirety! (I’m still trying to work this thing out, bear with me!).
I’ve got a feeling Julia’s journey and adventure with God is just getting started, let’s see where he leads her next :)