I crawled through the recesses of my mind, searching for the scent of water somewhere within. There was an emptiness inside. The place where creativity sat had become a dried out well. External pressure, busyness, illness and fatigue can steal our thoughts. How to begin again?
It’s the challenge I faced after months of silence, followed by weeks where words were reduced due to persisting fatigue. I had a lingering fear they might never return as they did before. No more faucet flow but an inconsistent drip at best.
How God meets with us in barrenness
Can God meet with you and me in our barrenness? Will He replenish our empty wells? Does creativity return? Oh yes, He can and He will and it does. Think about Hannah and the deep ache she had for a child.
Living in a culture and society where a woman was looked down on for not having children, she was reviled and despised. But Hannah had hope and faith. Two of the greatest assets we can have.
Hannah didn’t give up when month by month the telltale signs of menstruation came. She didn’t lose heart when years passed with no evidence of a pregnancy. How painful it must have been for her to see visible signs of her failure to conceive, while others did so with ease.
And then, the miracle came. Her womb became a home for Samuel. The amazing thing is that she didn’t cling to this oh so longed for son, but offered him up to God. Samuel was to be trained in the temple and have a life dedicated to God. Because deep down she knew that he was a gift and never fully hers to start with.
“So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him.'” – 1 Samuel 1:20 NIV
Be encouraged by this story
Likewise, our gifting and abilities, creativity and relationships are not ours to hoard. We’re meant to live with open hands and heart. To be willing to release and relinquish them if God asks us to. Knowing they will flourish and grow best in His hands.
This is where I am at. I am looking at my writing and blogging with renewed eyes. Instead of fearing rejection and lack because I can’t maintain them well, I am learning to let go of my perceived control.
I am learning to wait for words to come. I am learning to trust when all looks dusty and dry. There have been encouraging trickles and showers since summer’s ending. A new poetry book is taking shape and words are flowing for me once more.
where we can go wrong and how to fix it
Our creative pursuits can become idols. I was in danger of clinging to mine in a tight-fisted way. Since handing it back to God, I have greater peace and joy. Blogging didn’t start with self-interest but out of a God-given desire to encourage and bless others.
But I became derailed by concern over stats and reach, platform building and maintenance. They’re not bad things in themselves but can easily become the major focus by default.
So I’m beginning exactly where I am. Knowing the words will come when they should. My major focus will be on writing as a means of grace, whether I post regularly or not. Because our creative spark doesn’t have to be perfect. Only perfectly surrendered to God.
Fallow creativity can feel hollow to our souls. In fact, it’s the perfect fertile ground for God to water with His word, fill with His presence and seed with inspiration. We needn’t fear a barren season if we hand it over to Him and trust He is at work in the waiting as well.
As you listen to Malcolm Guite’s poetic words below may they encourage your heart right where you are. 🙂
Oh this is speaking so much to me today:
“So I’m beginning exactly where I am. Knowing the words will come when they should. My major focus will be on writing as a means of grace, whether I post regularly or not. Because our creative spark doesn’t have to be perfect. Only perfectly surrendered to God.
I loved the reading by Malcolm Guite, and your own words were such a comfort too. Yes, our words are all dependent on our Lord, and are all offered back to Him. Whether they are few or many, the creativity is all His to start with. Thank you for sharing these thoughts that keep us looking up to Jesus. Your words here are such a confirmation to me, as I shared on a similar topic of “lack” today. You are such a gift to me. Blessings, love, and hugs to you my Dear Friend. xoxo
Dear Bettie, having read your latest beautiful blog post, I can see how God has been planting similar thoughts in your heart. Our surrender seems to be the hardest part of it all. How we love the idea of being in control! But Holy Spirit imparts inspiration and enabling where it has been planned, and we are but willing pens and instruments in the Master Poet/Creator God’s hands. A freeing thought if we could more easily surrender our souls to His service! I’m grateful to have been given these words in advance and encouraged to wait and share them today so they would be blessing and confirmation for you. How wonderfully God works to bring about His purposes! You are such a gift to me too, dear friend! Love and hugs. xoxo 💜
This is so inspiring, Joy. We can so easily get side-tracked into self-pleasing or people approval, can’t we? Or of being so hard on ourselves when we don’t “perform.” I, too, have to remind myself often to stay with the God-given desires of honoring Him and encouraging others. I find this so true – “Because our creative spark doesn’t have to be perfect. Only perfectly surrendered to God.” The story of Hannah is such a great analogy. I love Malcolm’s words, too, especially about how richness arises out of emptiness and the song begins when the heart is full of quietness. Thank you for refreshing my heart today! Love and hugs to you!
Oh Trudy, I know those sidetrack traps all too well! I sat with these words for a month or more but it didn’t feel right to share them until today. Initially there was angst and concern about the time gap since my previous post, but when I finally edited everything I was helped by realising it really wasn’t up to me to worry or become anxious about those things. God showed me I had actually been living out the resting trust I am describing here. Talk about preach it to yourself, sister! 😏 Don’t you find that happens more often than not? I’m so glad I waited and put this out at just the right time to be an encouragement to you, my friend! Love and hugs to you too! xo 💜