It’s no secret that sometimes it’s hard living a creative life in a critical world. Inspiration is seemingly everywhere, but so is discouragement! An artist would be lying if she said she didn’t face direct opposition of her work and her gift on a regular basis. In fact, I think we should expect it! Or know that we’re not being nearly vulnerable enough. Our greatest gifts are going to come out of our greatest weaknesses and if we’re doing that work, then some days it’s just plain flat going to hurt.
Jesus tells us in John that the world will hate us, because it first hated him. This is not to discourage us, but to encourage us! If we’re doing the work to which we’ve been called then His light is going to shine out of our brokenness and blind some people around us. Sometimes that light is going to nearly blind ourselves because it is not of us. It is meant to CHANGE us. This is good news! Even though it may hurt, for awhile.
All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. ~John 16:1
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ~John 16:33
Any artist, disciple, or person following after the heart of God and the message He has entrusted to them will face opposition and discouragement in this world. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re weak; that you’re a fraud, or that you’ve fallen out of the goodness and grace of God. It simply means you’re normal. You’re doing the work you were called to do and encountering the very obstacles He warned you would come.
If you find yourself in the middle of a trial or you’re facing a seemingly impenetrable wall of un-inspiration, here are a few things to do instead:
Sometimes great seasons of feeling uninspired coincide with a general state of doing too much. Perhaps you’ve been running yourself ragged in too many areas and your body is finally telling you to slow down, stop, and take some time to recharge. Listen to your body and yourself, and take the time to rest and fill your cup. Often times you’ll come back fresh and with new ideas.
People who love to serve and give tend to do so to the point of forgetting that in order to serve well, one must also receive. Take this time to put some things back in. Read, schedule time to spend with people who pour into your spirit, and who challenge and encourage your gifts.
Often we over-schedule our lives and our calendars with so much, thinking that more is more fulfilling. More is actually less. Don’t be nice by saying yes to things that end up strangling your schedule–remove them from your life and make room to breathe. Make some room for fun!
Get outside. Summer is coming, already here, or always around for some of us. Life is bursting from the buds in my backyard and it brings such tranquil joy when I give myself a moment to soak it in. Take the time to get out in nature and see it! Soak in the evidence that new and beautiful life truly does bloom out of the deepest frost.
Often the world seems dark and it’s easy to look at all that is going wrong or the things we haven’t done right. Take a minute to write down three things to be thankful for. Scroll through your Instagram feed or your photographs and look at the faces in your life. Remember all the incredible things you already have, and hold them. Yes, life is full of hard things, but we were made to do hard things! Especially when we are grateful for the exceedingly greater good things we already have.
If you find yourself in a season of discouragement, be encouraged by the fact you are not alone. Nor is it a surprise! This world is stacked up against us if all we choose to see in is dark. Remind yourself that there is still SO MUCH LIGHT. Sometimes there are no big plans, just the next right thing. No matter what obstacle has come up against your gift, find the courage to do the next right thing.
We have been entrusted with gifts, talents, and abilities that nobody else can do in exactly the way we can. Though we will face hardship – and sometimes direct opposition to our calling – we serve the One who has already overcome. He chose YOU not because of your strength, but because He believed that in your weakness He could be made known.
Embrace it! Welcome the struggle. It’s not a popular choice in this world but the longer I live the surer I am: we were not made for this world.
Do you ever feel like you’ve lost it? Lost hold of what matters or lost yourself somewhere along the way? Are there things holding you back from pursuing the life you were made to live, but you don’t know how to break free?
The timing of your life is no accident. Nor is the timing of every single vicious attack on your gifts and abilities. Trust Him. Trust the One who knows the desires of your heart and longs to give them to you. Know that perseverance must finish its work so that you will be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
FAITH. HOPE. TRUST. A cord of three strands. Grab hold of it and never let go. You were made to live free so that you can run your race well. I believe in you. Now you, believe in you!
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