Back in December a friend of mine suggested that the members of our church group ask the Lord to give us words for the coming year. Mine were growth and friendship.
Now, I knew better than to try to predict what the year was going to look like based on two words. But I admit I thought it would look something like God calling me to serve somewhere in the church and I would build deeper relationships with my friends at group. My dog died in March so I thought maybe that was a sign God was going to send me somewhere. Or send me someone. I wouldn’t have any strings. I could go anywhere and do anything.
After seven months of 2016, I feel more isolated and alone than I think I ever have. I feel distant from my group. I don’t feel any call to serve at the church. I haven’t been on a date in over a year and I feel really rejected. All I want to do is read and write and sleep. I’m moody, snappish, fatigued.
And somehow, I feel like I’m exactly where I should be. When I read, I feel like me. When I write, I feel like I’m moving forward.
I can feel myself changing. It’s almost like gears and cogs moving around inside me, making me into something new. It’s very hard to describe. It’s like I’m becoming a hybrid of my hard, surly teen self and the much more loving and compassionate twenty something self.
I know I’ve been chosen for a different path. I’ve always been different from everybody else. I’m getting better at appreciating that. He’s leading me somewhere. I know it. I just can’t see it.
This is deep water. This is where a lot of Christians fear to go. It’s much easier to go to church and visit God than to bring Him home with you.
But this is where you find out who you are. When it’s hard and uncomfortable and you can’t see any point in it. When the water is over your head and you have nothing but Jesus’s hand pulling you up and Him saying “Oh, ye of little faith.” This is where you let Him pull you out.
This is my 52nd post on this blog. I have now posted 52 times. I’m sure that means nothing to you but it means something to me. After I started this blog in July of 2013, it didn’t take long for me to get discouraged. By the fall I was ready to just pack it in. The blog would go down as yet another project that I started and didn’t follow through with. But then I made a deal with myself. I decided that I couldn’t give up on the blog until I had posted 52 times no matter how long that took. Why 52? It corresponds to the number of weeks in a year. Another goal I had was to post each week. I don’t know if that will ever be possible but I made good on my original deal. I posted 52 times.
This is a big accomplishment for me because I’m notorious for having big ideas and ambitions and then just abandoning them and starting something else. This blog is the biggest project I have stuck with and I don’t plan on stopping now. That pact I made almost two years ago got me over the hump and showed me it’s not about how many views you get. It’s about the enjoyment I get out of posting, no matter who sees it. It’s about practicing for other writing projects I want to pursue. It’s about being motivated and disciplined in a creative area. And it’s an outlet I need to pursue. Here’s to another 52!
I love Project Runway. I love watching these crazy creative types make something from nothing and if I’m honest I like to see the judges rip them a new one when their creation goes horribly wrong. But as much as I love watching this show, it always leaves me feeling a bit sad about my own creativity. I’ve never considered myself creative. I don’t draw, I sure as hell don’t sing, and instruments would run when they saw me coming if they could. I danced during my childhood and did have a little success at choreography if you count 8th grade drama class and the musical but I don’t think that qualifies me to join the “creative people.”
Those people often have some sort of passion about what they do. They get lost in it, distracted by it and can’t live without it. If it’s not their profession, they find a way to fit it into their lives anyway. If you’re not one of them, I’m sure you’ve heard them talk about how they “have to have it” and are “starving to create” among other equally melodramatic sound bites. I can’t honestly say I have anything like that. I’m not particularly passionate about anything. I’m an accountant and while I enjoy the salary it’s a profession that makes people think you’re boring. And really, let’s be honest, there’s nothing exciting about sitting on hold with the IRS or printing someone’s paycheck or trying to figure out if a client’s new roof qualifies for an energy efficient tax credit. There’s a reason they don’t have any “CPA Shows” on TV alongside the “Cop Shows,” “Lawyer Shows,” and “Doctor Shows.”
But does that make me boring just because my job consists of mundane tasks? Or does my lack of a “creative soul” make me boring? Most people work in jobs they don’t particularly care for if not outright hate. Do they all have some creative outlet that fills the void their less than perfect job has left? Should I be developing some sort of super cool “creative” thing that will let people know that I’m hip and I “get it”? I can’t really see myself investing money in photography equipment and classes just so my desktop background doesn’t look like a kid stole my camera and tried to take a picture of his butt.
Cause let’s face it, creative people are cool. They wear cool clothes and have self-esteem and say words like “inspiration” and “muse.” They seem to exist on some other plane where everyone listens to Radiohead and owns a beret. And while they’re probably just wearing that beret to distract you from the fact they’re total d-bags like everybody else, you still get a little jealous, don’t you? Like they’re plugged into something you’re missing. That’s probably why so many people are trying to sell crafts online. We all want to pretend we’re creative so we can be a part of that exclusive group.
So that brings me to my original question. Do I have to be creative? Will it make me cooler, more interesting, have better fashion sense? (I already own a beret.) Maybe. Or maybe just enjoying and harshly critiquing other people’s creative endeavors is enough. Those who can do and those who can’t criticize, right? I guess I’ll just have to be content appreciating and try not to be too mean because it takes a lot of courage to put your creative self out there.
... the musings of a thirty-something, married, Southern teen librarian with a 14-year-old's sense of humor, an awkward spirit, and a stubborn, mouthy, redheaded country boy to accompany her through life.