Most things that I like to do come to me in phases. I’ll have a historical fiction phase, a guitar-playing phase, a baking phase, etc. These phases repeat throughout my life,, but they only come at certain, unpredictable times.
When they come, I try to take full advantage of them, especially when it’s a phase that involves creativity. (By the way, it’s highly overwhelming and not-so-productive when they all strike at once. And it makes for interesting combinations of activities.)
Over the years, I’ve paid attention to how long these creative phases last, and how often they strike me. Based on that, I can now tell you with relative precision that:
I rarely love to sew,
I occasionally love to play the guitar,
I sometimes love to bake,
I frequently love to draw,
I normally love to crochet,
I almost always love to write.
In fact, I love to write so much that non-writing times come as a huge shock to me, and I could pretty much tell you down to the year and month(s) when they have occurred. Almost always, they have coincided with either a terrible, heartbreaking situation or a period in which I have willfully persisted in some sin.
It’s not surprising, then, that in recent years I’ve come to view my ability to write as a thermometer of the state of my relationship with God. When I’ve started straying from Him, the loss of the ability to write is one of my first warning signs, a wake-up call, so to speak.
But sometimes, sometimes, these “dry” periods come when I’m close to God, doing well, and continually communing with Him and fellowship-ing with believers. These no-writing times always were the most confusing. What did they mean? Had I lost God’s gift of writing? Would I never be able to write again? Would my half-written stories die incomplete, my beloved characters fade without ever seeing the light of day?
Today I was reading Genesis 1-2, and something stood out to me that I’ve never noticed before. In Genesis 2:3, it says, “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creation that He had done” (emphasis mine).
God didn’t just rest from any kind of work. He didn’t take a break for kicks and giggles. No, He rested from the work of creation.
It seems like often times artists (those who create) feel like they always have to be able to produce something. When nothing comes, they freak out or think there’s a problem with them.
But this verse tells me that it’s okay to not be creative all the time. It’s even good to pause and rest from it.
I don’t have to always have a story pouring out of my pen, or be crocheting up a storm, or bake every chance I get. There are times where I need to follow God’s example and take a rest from creating.
That, I think, is a freeing thought.
“Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”