The last few months I feel I’ve been on a quest. In an attempt to write a Bible study on how to live life with intent (to make and keep goals, to manage clutter and stay organized, to prioritize, to rest) I have been forced to walk out what I am learning and will soon teach.
For the most part, it has been good. I mean really good. I set goals for myself (those nagging things that have needed doing for the last year but I found every possible excuse to put them off). No more excuses. I had to reprioritize when I realized outside factors (namely the weather heating up earlier than I had hoped) were going to be a problem. I persevered through frustration and difficulty and not only completed the organization of the garage, but also of my room/office. I get a goofy grin on my face as I pass through the garage now and see the neatly stacked and numbered boxes. I re-enter my bedroom/office and the clutter that now is tucked away in decorative boxes has given way to space. This space acts like a balm to my soul, beckoning me in to peace.
This space allows me the ease to enter into a time of quiet. It allows me to spend time in the Word. It allows me time to be creative. It seems suddenly easier to paint or sketch or write. As the clutter around me comes under control, the clutter in my mind follows suit. I can think. I can rest. I can dwell in the quiet and wait without the eerie feeling something I have forgotten is about to come crashing down on me.
I have had this week off. The first few days were filled with enjoyable outings intermixed with room maintenance and necessary shopping. I like productive days. I like feeling I have crossed things off my list. Today, however, I caught myself feeling stressed out about not getting enough done and then laughed at myself when I realized that this is my vacation time. I didn’t HAVE to get anything done. I didn’t have anything on my list that couldn’t wait. They were all “want to’s” not “have to’s.” I could rest. I decided to take a little break in the middle of my week to maintain it as a stress-free zone. Peace returned.
I still got a lot done, I just managed to enjoy the day while doing it. I’m learning to do this more effectively. Enjoy the days, vacation or not, busy or not. I’m learning to build in rest and to protect it. When I do this, I hear from Him so much better. My creativity flows freely. Instead of feeling like I need resuscitating, I feel alive. I feel options instead of feeling doom.
I realize I cannot allow myself to stifle the creative parts of me any more. They are there for a reason. They are a part of who I am. They need nurturing and protecting. Just as much as I need a good night’s sleep to be the best of who I am, I need to consistently create. It motivates me to get through a work day or a chore day so that I can settle in and let creativity flow. It brings peace and restoration to me in a deeper way. It gives me purpose.
I don’t know why I never saw it before. If you were imbued with a creative streak (whether it’s cooking or computing or painting or dancing or gardening) you were meant to do that thing. We were meant to find a way to use that thing to bring glory to the One who created us. It wasn’t meant to be squelched by others’ opinions or rationalizations. We are at our most purposeful when we use every gift we were given.
I’m still walking this out. I still have a long way to go. But now I am excited. I am anticipating amazing things. I have expectations of peace and connection and genuineness in a deeper-than-ever way in my life. I can’t wait to see what’s next.