As I lamented last week, I’m getting over the world’s longest case of bronchitis.
(Nope, I have no issues with drama at all.)
Last week, I also mentioned several things I learned during my extended break, but I left one important thing off my list.
As it turned out, my illness directly coincided with my month long writing break. I’ve never taken a long writing break in winter. In the summer, yes, but not in winter. And given the fact my book released not long ago and I’ve got a few more projects up my sleeve, it felt a little risky to do so in February. But I did it just the same, and since my health chose that time to nosedive, it was doubly good I did so.
I originally thought if I took the month of February off from writing, March would find me eye to eye with all kinds of invigorating creativity. But that hasn’t happened. I’m disappointed mid-March is here and I’m still heavy on tired, light on inspiration. While I give myself grace for this truth on account of having lungs that don’t yet fully work, I wonder what’s wrong with me that I can’t just sweet-talk myself into pushing through it. After all, it seems like so many other people return from breaks with a cornucopia of creativity and inspiration.
When I look at the calendar and see deadlines, my mind spins with all kinds of ways I need to get movin’ pronto. I absolutely desire to get to work. But then I’m reminded of how tired I am, and I just want to hit the off button on my brain and take a nap.
What is my problem?
Not long ago, a wise person told me that fear kills creativity. That is, fear tells us that when faced with any particular problem, we can only do the first option at one end of the spectrum or the second option at the other. It tells us extremes are the only way to go.
This has definitely been true for me.
Fear tries to boss me into believing I must either take another month off completely or resume the pace I kept in the fall and early winter. But I’m learning there are all kinds of creative middle options for getting done what needs to get done that still respect my body and soul’s need to take as long to rest as is necessary. It is possible to sit in that middle place with a little of both. Because while creativity can’t be rushed or manipulated, it can be encouraged when given the breathing room to just be.
So when panic over my schedule curls around my shoulder, I flick it away and listen to the whisper telling me to just let it be.
“The soul and the schedule don’t follow the same rules.” Emily P. Freeman, It’s Simply Tuesday
The truth is that while I can’t ignore deadlines, I also can’t ignore what my heart and soul need right now. Neither can you. When creativity is slow to be our companion, may we not give in to knee jerk panic. Instead, may we take the time to do just what needs to be done and let God’s unforced rhythms of grace be the tune to which we move by. In short, may we find a way to be intentional with responsibilities but easy on ourselves.
Instead of giving way to panic or fear today, I’m going to give creativity breathing room by making these for my people in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. (This green-eyed O’Neill just can’t pass up the opportunity.) I’m going to read through more of Stacey Thacker’s awesome manuscript for this book releasing this September. I’m going to call a friend on the phone and have a real, live conversation.
What I’m not going to do is force creativity to show up, but let it. And when it does, I’ll be ready.
Under the Blue Skies
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The Influence Podcast: A few weeks ago I had the privilege of talking with Jacey Verdicchio of the Influence Network. Podcasts make me nervous beforehand, but then I always have a good time during them. If you’d like to listen, click here.