John 3:8

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cultivating Contagious Creativity

Recently, a friend of mine began a life-coaching job. She is training for it and needed to practice on some people she knows, so she asked me. I was thrilled--any chance I get to brainstorm with someone else, I'll take it. She showed me some questions that she'd give her clients to help them prepare for the coaching session, and I was hooked. Questions like "what gifts do you have that you'd like to make available to the world?" and "When in your life did you feel most creative?" sucked me in like quicksand.

My mind immediately turned to my enjoyment of writing. I used to write a lot in High School, but I'd since taken a bit of a furlow in light of "more important" things and busy-ness. School and work and other endeavors ate my time and my brain. I didn't exercise my writing, and that part of my brain was slowly turning to a boring, crusty mass. The creativity and fluidity I once felt, despite the relatively low quality of my actual work, were a fading memory, instead of an ongoing experience.

I actually feel sad thinking about that. How did I let this happen? In recent months, I'd started back a bit, but there is always an insecurity I feel related to my writing. Is my writing any good? Will people care about what I write? Does my writing have a purpose, or is it just a resounding noise?

Last weekend at my college's homecoming, I saw someone I've known, albeit not super well, for a number of years. She saw me and immediately told me she follows my blog and expressed how much she loves it. Needless to say, I was blown away. I didn't really expect anyone beyond my immediate circle of friends (and some church family) really read this. I can't fully explain what all happened inside of me, but I needed that. So, thank you (you know who you are).

It's helpful to have a bit of a push to keep practicing, keep exercising my mind and my articulation. As I talked through this topic with my friend in our coaching session, she encouraged me to pursue that creativity more. We set goals related to how often I write, what I write for, and how I can incorporate writing into my work in foster care. Since then, I have been thinking about the purpose of my writing quite a bit. I used to write to keep people informed on my life. But I want more. I want to be a part of changing people's lives. I don't want my writing to be shallow, limited, or repetitive. That's why my blog is often very vulnerable. I want to share stories of what I see as important in this world...But I can't do it alone.

People often talk about having "writer's block," what I think I experience as a general overload of emotion, and a shortage of concrete thought. It's hard to make myself keep writing and squeezing all the juices out. Because of this, I am really excited to be heading to Nashville tomorrow for Hutchmoot. (If you're wondering, like so many others, what a Hutchmoot is, I recommend watching this video). Basically it's a conference dedicated to having discussions on faith, art, and stroy-telling through a variety of mediums. I am especially excited to meet other people in all kinds of careers and in different points in life, who also want to learn how to tell good stories and integrate their faith, art, and work.

I'm feeling very grateful at this point in time; grateful to have good friends who challenge me and help me brainstorm about how to be fully me wherever I am; grateful for opportunities to have my mind stretched by creative Jesus-followers; and especially grateful for YOU. It's a bit daunting, I admit, not knowing who YOU are all the time, but YOU drive me to keep writing and believing something I share strikes a chord with YOU at one time or other and spurs YOU on to great things.

I believe we were made to be like the one who made us. And by that very nature, he is a creator, so we are also creators. Mini ones, but creators nonetheless. So take some time to you to ask yourself, What gifts do you have that you'd like to make available to the world? Then share them. What are you waiting for?

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