Founder, a Brilliant Dummy
A designer, photographer, and videographer. In this week’s feature, Tiayrra talks about remaining faithful to God in art, work, and life–and how faith shapes our true identity.
Q: What does “Confidence without Compromise” mean to you?
A: Confidence without compromise means being set apart for a specific purpose and staying true to that purpose no matter what. In actuality, I think you can only gain confidence by not compromising and not conforming to the world, whether it be your walk with the Lord, your purity, or your gifts and talents. Those who compromise only reveal insecurities about their ability–and so that’s why they have to do things to fit in or belong.
When you know that Christ has already chosen you, there’s no need for extra performance or acceptance anywhere outside His will for your life.
Sometimes it will feel like you are being overlooked because you won’t compromise, but understand that you are being overlooked for a greater purpose. God knows the people who you need to be around and places where you need to be–and not everyone will fit into this. So, don’t stay discouraged. He has a specific place for you.
Before you can even have confidence, you need to understand your identity. Everything in life begins with knowing your identity, because it gives you the basics of who you are, and therefore, what you do. If you don’t know these two aspects of your identity, then there’s no standard for you to measure up to. That will make it easy to compromise and settle–without even knowing you’re settling in many cases.
Q: How has your faith given you confidence?
A: I’d say my faith has been the foundation to activate my confidence. Without Christ interrupting my life and moving me outside of my comfort zone, I would have never tapped into the skills, leadership, and confidence that He had placed in me all along.
Since I was a kid, my mom and dad have always quoted Hebrews 11:6, saying, “Tiayrra, you know that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” They reminded me of this regularly, and I’d be like, Oh, that’s what’s up. Cool. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I read the entire verse, that it actually clicked with me. At the time, I was going through some tough growing pains, trying to transition into womanhood and adulthood. Everything around me that I thought were my security blankets began to cave in all at once.
One day, God gave me insight as to why my faith was being challenged and stretched constantly. It was such a DUH moment, but we sometimes have a hard time connecting the dots in our lives. I began to have a strong desire to please God in everything that I did–it became my constant prayer. In that moment, the Lord took me back to Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever draws near to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”
This moment rocked me. It revealed that my faith was growing so that I could please God. He showed me that He heard my prayer, and He was honoring it.
The stretching of my faith was proof that I was pleasing the Lord. To this day, this motivates me to persevere in my journey when things get tough, as perseverance ultimately leads me to the paths that please God. When I finally stand before Him, I won’t have to stand in shame but in confidence that my life was pleasing to Him.
Q: What is a go-to Bible verse that you turn to when you need confidence or hope?
A: 1 John 3:20-22, for sure: “For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” This verse lets me know that God knows, and I still have access to Him.
Q: What encouragement would you give to other young women regarding living for the Lord?
A: Learn to enjoy your King to the fullest! We live in a world where womanhood and what it means to be a woman can mean so many things. This can cause insecurities about how we measure up, but we must let Jesus shape who we are as women and define our worth and significance.
There is a conversation in Song of Solomon (chapter 1) that I love. Here, the queen expresses her deepest insecurities and fears to her King. In response, the King doesn’t shame her or tell her to get over them; he doesn’t even throw scripture at her as a means to rebuke her for thinking this way. He simply addresses her insecurities and fears one by one by expressing how he sees her and who she is to him. That’s the perfect picture of how Jesus gracefully cares and speaks to us as women and men.
We can run to God with our fears and baggage, letting Him speak life and beauty to each one of these areas. This way, we don’t have to run to anyone or anything in this world for that validation.
There will be many things in this world competing for your affections and attention. You have to make a decision long before these opportunities begin to present themselves that you are going to be a woman of integrity and wisdom–and that you’re not going to go with the flow of the crowd. The best way for you to serve others is to stay in your lane and in your position as a believer, a woman, and as an artist.
Learn about a Brilliant Dummy + Verbum Dei
I founded a design company, a Brilliant Dummy, back in 2007. I’m also the Creative Director of a project called Verbum Dei.
The mission of a Brilliant Dummy is to create God honoring art primarily through photography, videography, and set design. The goal in each project is to express joy and pure imagination in some way.
It’s really important to me that the creative arts field can be used as a tool for ministry, because the very first time we see God in scripture, He’s creating.
He introduces Himself to us first as a creator, a designer. It’s kinda odd, too, because usually church and art are oxymorons. It’s not a norm that Christians are associated with creating the best music, movies, photos, and so on. But if we serve the Creator, then there is no question that we should have the best art and ideas to share in the world. Colossians 3:23 tells us that whatever we do, we should work at it with all our heart for the glory of God and not for men. Whether we become painters, teachers, or any other professional, we should do it with excellence and skill to the best of our ability.
Verbum Dei, which means Word of God in Latin, is a platform used to share the Bible through audio. We stream scripture voiceovers with jazz music. It’s a bit more of an interactive approach to be able to listen to scripture.
Q: How have you seen God work in your life and the lives of others during your involvement?
A: God has changed my desires over the years for sure. He’s brought me into better and deeper community with the people around me, and it’s definitely been quite a transforming journey so far.
It’s a scary but beautiful thing when you fully surrender an area of your life to the Lord. I say an area, because most of us don’t give Him everything all at once.
But as we invite Him in to invade our space, He will began to make all things new. This will start a domino effect of letting Him transform every space we have. The Holy Spirit isn’t forceful at all. He’ll only come into the areas we give Him access to.
I’ve become a much better steward of my time and finances through both pursuits. As Christians, we’re sometimes so focused on being good servants that we forget to be good stewards as well. If we aren’t stewarding our health, finances, relationships, and more, it will be harder for us to serve at the capacity that God has called us to serve.
I’ve also seen the fruit of my faithfulness, as it has been a blessing to others around me.
In the beginning, you don’t realize that people are watching your life. They watch how you handle your business and all the ups and downs in between. By God’s grace and direction, my character has remained consistent, and as a result, this has lead some around me to Christ. I’ve had friends come to me years later and say, “You know, you were always different, and you were never ashamed about your relationship with Jesus. That made me want to try Him, too.” That’s what our lives are about–pointing people to Christ with our actions, not just our words.
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Learn more about Confidence Without Compromise here.
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