Focus: Trust

I've been on an adventure of sorts lately. About 2.5 weeks ago, I started an art journaling collective - 40 days in which several of us are learning how to put our feelings and thoughts on the page through painting, drawing, and found poetry. And oh my word, this journey has already brought up some deeply buried issues. 

This last journaling prompt I did has made me delve deep into my own soul. I have issues. We all have issues, but dealing with your own issues is...tough sometimes. It's tough to talk about with anyone else, but especially with yourself. So, I have these issues. And the words I found for the poetry in my art journal just kept coming at me, like darts, piercing straight into my heart.

And once I had the paint on the page, dried and ready, and I glued on the words, and I sat back to figure out what kind of artwork I would add to the page, I realized something.

I have a trust issue.

And I don't mean I have problems trusting other people. I mean, yes, it can be difficult for me to open myself up to people fully. But it's not because I'm afraid they'll hurt me. I have been hurt, certainly. But it's not other people I fear most.

It's myself.

I don't trust myself.

I realized that I often hold myself back because I'm afraid I'm the one who will do the hurting. Even if that hurting isn't seen or felt. 

There are things in my own soul that I am still working through. I probably will always be working through these things. Always. And it completely sucks. It feels like an injured limb whose wound never stops bleeding and never scabs over. And I just wanted the limb amputated. But that's just the easy way out. What I really need to do is analyze the wound; poke around, even though it hurts, to find the thing that makes it fester. I need to work through a process of healing, despite all the pain that comes with that. Because healing a part of myself so that the whole of me can be fully functional is much better than just chopping out and throwing away a piece of my soul. (And I don't know if you can actually do that, anyway.)

So. Yeah. I have trust issues. With myself. 

It's amazing the things that art journaling can bring up. I highly recommend it.

Being Fruitful

The act of creating is supposed to be pleasurable. Overwhelmingly pleasurable.

Not work. I mean, sure, you can get worked up about it. Like, your heart beats faster, you're energized.

But it should be something enjoyable, invigorating, inspiring, and perhaps even a bit of a stress reliever.

No, I'm not talking about sex.

Well, not entirely.

Sex is the most primal act of creativity. It's been around, oh, pretty much since the beginning of human history. I mean, if not, we wouldn't all be here.

But, we create in other ways also.

We write. We paint. We draw. We make music. We design. We act. We imagine.

So, why do these things become so difficult? So mundane?

I am listening right now to Red, one of my favorite bands ever. Their music has what I would describe as an epic quality. Many of their songs have something in them that makes my stomach feel like I just went down the first hill of a roller coaster. It's not just the lyrics, either, though they are good. It's the music itself.

Have you ever listened to music, or read a piece of writing, or viewed a piece of artwork, that stirred something deep within you? Something that seemed arousing, but to your spirit rather than your senses?
You feel something rise within you, a response to what you're experiencing. But you can't quite describe it. It's like something in the piece of art you're experiencing has made a connection with your soul. And you don't want to leave. You want to just take it in, stay right here, listen one more time, hold the words in your heart and repeat them over and over again. Because this experience seems right. That connection we feel, that thing that cannot be described, is our soul getting a taste of God. Call it touching the hem of Jesus' robe if you will. It is small, but it is so huge.

And there is something so absolutely right in creating or experiencing creativity. Because it's what we were designed for. We were made to create. To imagine. To give of the deepest part of ourselves in ways to which other people can relate.

Any creative act is ultimately both an act of giving and of trust. And those two things are intrinsically intertwined.

Just as with sex, you cannot give of yourself fully unless you trust your partner completely. Same with creating and God. If we hold anything back, it is because of a lack of trust. And holding back in an act of creativity leaves us feeling disappointed, unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and even empty.

If you have something in your soul that is crying to take shape, you feel it, even when you ignore it. It's there. A small pulsing, a throbbing ache, an insatiable need that goes beyond desire. Maybe you try to ignore it by working longer hours. Or putting your energy into some other thing, like cleaning the garage. Or maybe you drown it, by watching movies or playing video games. Because there's something you're holding back. Or maybe you only pretend to be creative - maybe you should be writing, but instead of writing what you need to write, you throw all your energy into "research." (I'm totally preaching to myself here, if you haven't noticed...)

Why not open yourself up to God in unabashed trust?  He is the one that put that desire within you. And He is the one that can fulfill that desire.

God wants to create with you, in you, through you.

Don't hold back. It just hurts. If you are holding back, examine your heart. See what lies there. Are you afraid that what you'll create will make waves? People won't understand you, you'll be criticized - perhaps by those you love?

God is bigger than that. And maybe that thing you have to create is just what those people need to hear. Or read. Or see.

Trust God in this act of creativity. In trusting and giving of yourself, something beautiful can happen.

And it's exciting. And it feels good.

Because when you trust and give everything that's in you, that act of creativity fulfills you. And you might be surprised at the results.

With God working in you, it's guaranteed to turn out better than you expected. Certainly better than anything you could do on your own.