Two years ago I was in a much different place in my creative journey. I wasn’t letting my heart me led by the One who I truly always longed to be lead by, I was finding inspiration in places that weren’t helpful and I was crossing boundaries of being ’too inspired'. Honestly my heart has always been to be authentic and real, that was always my intention.. but somewhere along the way I got bit distracted, by the quick fix of likes and emails and importance. By the need to be on trend, to somehow satisfy the inspirational levels of millions of other creatives who weren’t seeking their creative expression in the place I was called too. I found myself constantly finding it harder and harder to communicate who I was in my creativity, and I knew. I knew that I wasn’t called to business and to impact the secular world.
My lack of true source and drive was strangling me of what creativity I had left inside of me and leaving me dry and barren. I knew it.. and I truly hated it and longed for God, but didn’t know how to make space for Him to speak.
The Father began to whisper over and over again in my spirit.. there’s more.. there’s more..
In His kindness he had tuned my heart enough to recognise that it was time. That the season for the painful wrenching out of the weeds had come and that it was time to lay down and let Him.
He led my husband and I into a beautiful season of training, of laying down.. of travelling and seeking and praying and learning to hunger after only His face. It reawakened deep deep things inside my heart.
I willingly and excitedly laid down my business and with it my creativity.. and over the next year and a half God began to take me on a journey of being so okay if I never created again - if only to be completely satisfied in Him and Him alone. I welcomed it. I was hungry for it.. and even in the midst of the painful rooting up of false ideas and false motives, he was so so kind. Sometimes I would try to pick up a brush and create something, it would fail miserably and I honestly would just be so okay with it. Nothing every can replace the joy of only being satisfied in Jesus and His beauty.
A huge part of this for me was truly overcoming insecurities that I really had thought were long gone from my heart - yucky things like comparison and pride began to start popping up over and over again in my heart. And it was ugly. Ugly to deal with, painful and frustrating for my wonderful hubs, and just plain painful for me.
Right in the thick of it we had a speaker that spoke so powerfully on identity.. and it wrecked me. It wrecked me because truly I thought I was at a place where I had overcome many of the identity issues I struggled with in my late teens. Now, I was married, secure in who I was, ‘successful' in creativity and truly trying to give my yes to Jesus in everything.. and again, with His kindness, he began to restructure. I still remember sitting in a very stuffy crude cabin in South Africa and weeping as the Father downloaded the clearest and most beautiful words to be about who I was.
He whispered over and over that my success is found in loving Him, that my creative expression is a reflection of how I love and how He loves - of a beautiful union between a Bride and her maker. That He is my teacher, and that my creativity is only just one expression of so many that he wants to unlock in my heart…
It was all things I’d heard before, over and over, things I’d meditated and prayer about regularly even - but really it was like it was hitting my heart for the first time. He took me deep into Song of Songs and the Psalms and overwhelmed my heart again and again with the beauty and humility of Jesus becoming human.
He began to wipe away any words I would say when I met someone new about what I had done, about my past and my achievements, about the ministries I had served with and the places I had gone. He humbled me and broke my heart for the poor and truly put holy anger in my spirit for injustice… literally I was ready (and always still am!) to lay it all down forever and move to some remote nation to give my life.
So it really came as a bit of a surprise to me when creativity started to come back onto the scene through a precious heart friend I met in Africa.
Honestly, it was like learning to walk again. Everything I created was cheesy and lame and floral and just not cute or minimalist or anything that I actually thought I was. It was literally annoying and I so often ripped page after page out and threw it away. But it was the pruning that my heart needed, the being unknown, the lack of a following, the embarrassment of again creating another floral wreath during class that looked like the same from every other day.
Even as we came home I still felt like I was in some rut, and didn’t create again for months… almost ignoring that God clearly had something he wanted me to create. Then again, in his kindness he sent another beautiful friend that challenged and championed my originality and my hearts cry for authenticity.
I’m still on the journey. I haven’t arrived. My creativity still lacks energy often and I still struggle sometimes with comparison and drawing inspiration from the wrong places… But, if there’s one thing that will transform your creative journey - it’s friendship with Jesus. It’s so worth it. He’s the best teacher. It’s so worth it to be wrong if He’s the one that is willing to speak the truth about the wrong.
Surrender truly is the only place to find the inspiration and authenticity in creativity that you crave - and getting in the secret place is the only way to find true surrender. When we line our hearts up with His, it’s so much easier to begin to discern in our spirits when we’re not flowing creatively the way he really has for us. I quickly realised that I’m not really a minimalist. That mess inspires me. That colour is a beautiful thing. And it took months and months of experimenting and being a little bit frustrated that truly got me to the place I am.. and then I ran out of money to buy paint and now I’m back in ‘business' with a different heart and perspective.
The journey and the process is worth the time and the pain required to get there - not because of a end game or a goal - but because authenticity is worth the fight, and the fight is made a heck of a lot easier when it’s birthed in the secret place of holy discontent and a longing for more of Him first.
If you’ve gotten to the end of this long long loooong heart revealing and you’re in a journey of creativity, here are a few things that truly were and still are key for me in my creative process:
Feed yourself real food. Get in the secret place. Let God cultivate your heart and birth his creative song and process inside you.
Don’t let the worlds standards overwhelm your heart! Don’t scroll instagram for hours and hours and then look at your feed again and again and wonder why you can’t just ‘get it' (trust me, still a struggle). Find where your security lies and don’t forget it! Write it down, yell it out, sing it, paint it, draw it - do anything you can to remind yourself over and over that your success is only found in Him.
Taking a break from social media is superrrrr healthy. The secret place is a secret because it examines your motives! Don't let social media steal the beauty of doing something special with him.. share it when it's time :)
Comparison will always want to be the thief of the ground you’ve made in God and in your creative journey. Don’t let it! Run! Flee! Get alone with God.
It takes time! Don’t be fooled by the instantness of our generation - let Jesus lead you from the overflow of your relationship with Him first, and the overflow will truly be magical in every way.
Experiment with everything and and fail a lot! :)
I pray that my little journey speaks life life life to your heart! Be blessed and encouraged to walk out the things on your heart and in your spirit as God leads you.