While countries are in lockdown and normal life is missing for most of us, it appears that creativity is flourishing for many. There’s been an upsurge in creative pursuits, including jigsaw puzzles, art and craft work, Lego, sewing, gardening, and home baking.
My man has developed a new passion for 1,000 piece scenic jigsaw puzzles which have become a welcome diversion and a change from being on his X-box or watching films. The focus and concentration they require help calm the mind and steer his thoughts in a more positive direction.
Unless he can’t find the missing piece he needs, of course, which produces its own kind of frustration and stress–until it magically appears. Because creativity isn’t always easy or as straightforward as we want it to be. There are times of feast and seasons of famine to surmount.
My creativity is mostly expressed in writing poetry and prose. The “lockdown poetry” I’m writing is fast becoming a set of longer and deeper reflections on life. But the prose? That part is proving trickier because I always write more poetry when anxious or needing to vent.
Fluidity can often be missing when we seek to write, to create. Whispers of inspiration are often hard to hear. At such times, questions thread through our minds, such as: Do I have anything else to write? To create? To share? Is there anything inside of me, clamouring to be released?
The itch we feel demands to be scratched, with the gentlest of touches from Holy Spirit, an inkling of inspiration, no less. Because we cannot even begin without a holy nudge within, a soft whisper to our souls, and words slowly starting to flow. Just a trickle at first, before it develops into a stream.
We sense a word, line or phrase playing in the background of our minds, an echo from the past, perhaps. So we wait until one truly resonates. Maybe this is all the inspiration we need? Or is it just a beginning? So we keep listening to our lives, our environment.
Creativity cannot be rushed because it’s a holy thing, made possible by grace and God’s equipping. Patient listening is the key skill to have. To be able to tune into each potential word and see which ones are speaking to us.
They begin falteringly at first, and then it’s as if a dam has burst, as words spill into our thoughts and we eagerly write them down. They arrive from an inexhaustible well that never dries, though we often have to wait for the water we want.
Or our painting seems to take on a life of its own as we add stroke after stroke. Maybe our craft work starts to resemble art, instead of looking like a mish-mash of materials with no perceived end result.
Then before we know it fluidity comes, like a hidden stream from a hidden source. It makes us smile and cheers our hearts. It stirs our faith and ignites our hope, for we begin to remember feeling barren before. And how God brought water from dry ground. Time after time.
We create in numerous ways because our Creator God has put His creative spirit in our hearts. I hope and pray you are able to stay creative as you seek to rest, relax and be at peace in this challenging season.
What benefits us most is using creativity as a tool to make us feel better, not seeking to be productive in any competitive or pressured way. Small doses to make you feel good, that alleviate anxiety and spark a fresh interest, are preferable to trying to tackle too much.
It’s more about being present to the process itself than being perfect. What is your favourite creative pursuit? Have you tried anything new lately? How is it helping you to relax?
PS: This post features a “Waiting for creativity to be released” Soul Exhale reflection from my book Embracing Hope: Soul Food to Help Chase Away the Blues. It’s could be a helpful read for you during these difficult days we’re in, my friend. 😊💜