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. 🙂