During our time as a military family, we blew into a new town every three years or so. Anxious to wrap my babies (and myself) in some sense of normalcy, I would set up house lickety-split, or as quickly as I could. When my kids were little, success looked like unpacking a box or two a day or dangling a single picture frame on a nail. I was moving in a forward direction, so I considered it progress.
We are no longer an active duty military family, but just the same we recently moved to a 1970s split level house, a house undergoing construction.
Many of our belongings remain in boxes as the rooms that will hold them stand dredged in sawdust. Quirky realities of our life right now include my clothes hanging in my sons’ closet and my husband and I sharing a bathroom with our daughter. Speaking of our daughter, we’re also bunking in a corner of her bedroom. She recently informed us, with a tone drenched in dramatic flair, that she can’t wait to have her own room back. My husband and I looked at one another then looked at her and said, “The feeling is mutual, m’dear.”
These realities are more inconvenient than terrible, of course. Nevertheless, it’s clear we’re in a holding pattern of sorts, and at the tempo we’re moving, it’ll be awhile before we progress further.
One would think this means I have all the time in the world to employ my favorite kind of creativity: writing.
But when I sit down to do so, this is what happens: I tap my foot. I investigate the sawing/hammering noise outside. I decide to do a load of laundry. The electrician perth or plumbing inspector rings the door bell.
So do you know what I’ve discovered instead?
It’s hard for me to be creative when I’m neck deep in change.
Yes, I know during the calmest of seasons it’s easy to get distracted by laundry or Netflix when we need to buckle down to work. But this is something more. I’m not just looking for distractions so I can put off working.
On a heart and soul level, I’m too cluttered and overwhelmed to creatively unpack anything of great length or substance.
Does this ever happen to you? When you’re in a season of change or transition, does your typically easy kind of creativity turns sluggish and shy? Where maybe even making a decent dinner more elaborate than grilled cheese feels like climbing Pike’s Peak?
As I’ve processed this whole season, I’ve learned a couple things.
First, it turns out I’m still being creative after all.
However, what I’m being creative toward looks less like writing and more like helping my sons investigate scholarship opportunities and picking our bathroom’s paint color. It centers on my people and surroundings more than my writing.
Simply said, this season of creativity just looks different from the usual.
Second, when I’m under a season of change, I need to absorb encouragement in greater amounts. So I’m snuggled with a book more than hunched over my laptop. I’m getting together with friends for a few more coffee dates than my schedule typically affords. In one way or another, I’m intentionally putting myself in a place to take in inspiration and life-giving words.
There’s grace in accepting this season simply requires more filling up than pouring out.
If you’re like me and are experiencing a leaner time of creativity in one area because you’re pouring buckets of yourself into another, then relax and take a deep breath. That just means you’re neck-deep in life right now, and your future creativity will be all the more richly saturated for it.
The truth is I miss writing more often, I really do. If you also miss your favorite kind of creativity, may you and I both not despise our current season, whatever it looks like.
Instead may we be receptive of it, refusing to miss what’s right here because we’re pining away for what isn’t. May we hold the hand of hope knowing God will not waste this time. And when the path opens to our place of favorite creativity once again, may we dive deep into the energy and excitement of it all.Leave a Comment
Thank you Kristen! I’ve been in a season like this for a while. Except mind looks more like . . . I’m a single mom and there’s no room for creativity anymore simply because of everyday life. One day I hope to have my creativity back! For now, it’s about colleges, financial aid, speaking words of wisdom in the time I have with them between working two jobs to keep us afloat. This is a season of ‘pouring out’ into them. It is my greatest calling right now. I actually said these words to my son last night. Thank you for the reminder this morning. Blessings to you!
I am also not pursuing my creativity of playing my harp. This was helpful. I am busy creating with small grandchildren.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Like you, I love writing. I have loved it since I was little and wrote poems about my dogs lol. I also love what I’m doing with heading up Redeemer Christian Foundation. I also love my husband of two plus years who God so lovingly blessed me with. Three loves, yet one of me. Add to the equation my perfectionist tendencies and I hate doing a bunch of things part way. When you add in major change like what you’re going through and I think God gives us a natural mechanism (one to protect our mental and physical health) that causes us to shut down – in a manner of speaking. Shut down so that He can pour in. Pour in by His presence, the encouragement of others. I believe there are seasons when God says, “Though you love all these things, right now, what limited strength you have needs to be focused here _______________.” There will be seasons that will come when we can multi-task with the best of them, but for now you are following God’s lead and letting Him guide where your energies go. Praying for you in this season of change and I know God will want to use your giftedness in writing for Him again soon.
Bev and Kristin, thank you dear sisters for this breath of exhale that I needed so much today from the Lord 🙂 It is such a grace to hear this wisdom 🙂
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I always take hope from the wisdom you share…glad to return the favor 🙂
Thank you, especially for your shared prayer that we not despise our current season while we wait. We followed up a miscarriage with a PCS with an unplanned for (but thankfully healthy so far) pregnancy. It has been enough just to get through each day, but I have been grieving the loss of my own writing, music, art, and ministry outlets. This last week I’ve been sitting with Psalms 42 and 43 and their gentle reminder that I will yet praise God again. I’m grateful for the follow up encouragement from you.
Mary W. says
Thank you, Kristen. I really like your statement – “If you also miss your favorite kind of creativity, may you and I both not despise our current season, whatever it looks like.”
We’ve transitioned to new schools this year and have one child looking at colleges. I haven’t had the time to create like I had hoped by this point. There’s that part of me that really misses the time but yet knowing that I’m fully available to meet the needs of my family is fulfilling in a different way. Instead of “me” focused, my time is family/community focused. I wonder if this is just part of the ebb and flow of creativity – withdraw and pour out then return and be filled up.
Michele Morin says
Oh! I’m such a measure-er and grader-er when it comes to accomplishments — I give myself no credit for a grueling afternoon shopping and putting away 20 bags of groceries because it seems as if I’ve “nothing to show for it.” So great to receive the gift of your words today. Creativity and productivity may not always look the way I wish it did, but God lets nothing go to waste!
This is exactly what my soul needed to hear this morning. Thank you for your transparency and hope-filled words!
This was truly an encouragement for me today. I am in the same place and started feeling guilty and pressured, cause I could not be creative as I am accustomed to. You helped to realize I am still creative but in a different way. I know I am transitioning. So taday I can relax. Thank you and God bless Kristen.
You finally gave a name to what I’ve been feeling! I’m expecting my first child in less than a month, still working full time, involved in college ministry with my husband…AND I decided to do the Write 31 Days challenge. Guess how many days I’ve written? Um. Four.
I was stymied, wondering why, with hours carved out specifically for the purpose of writing each evening, I am so easily distracted by baby prep and random chores. THIS is why!! My heart is too filled with the flux of the impending changes in my body and life for me to really be creative in the normal ways.
Whelp, it doesn’t fix the issue, but now it has a name. 🙂 Thanks!
” A man’s steps are of the Lord; How then can a man understand his own way?” Proverbs 20:24
Some seasons take a longer time to walk through. We’re still in transition from a cross country move 2 years ago. We are still trying to sell our home 1,500 miles away, after the first year and a half living with family. We are grateful to be currently living in a parsonage, as were are interim serving part time as music & youth minister at our current church. Our children wish for their lives to be a bit more like it used to be. We miss our old ways of life and friends. As my husband serviced faithfully for over 8 years in a church in the Northeastern part of the US, we were forced to leave, as hopes for revival in this church were snuffed out. When you serve the Lord, it becomes clear that we are not our own but are bought with a price. As things change around us we must choose to look up!
“Setting our mind on things above, not on the things of the earth.”
As old things are removed… It can release a new perspective if we abide in the One that never changes. Our Lord and Savior Jesus is steadfast in love and hope.
As life goes on and seasons of life change may we weather them well and learn how to praise in the midst of sacrifice. No illness, loss, or financial crisis can separate us from the love of Christ. Stay anchored to the Word of God, it remains forever.
My last year was turned upside down due to my daughter’s illness. Things are getting back to normal but I still have difficulty wanting to be “creative”. Thanks for your words. Just what I needed to hear. As a mom and grandma I am blessed I can put my time for friends and hobbies aside to tomorrow to be blessed caring for those that need me tiday. Pray to be able to do it with joy and not grumble. Thanks for God’s grace to get me through.
I used to think, “I’m creative because (insert creative activity here.)” Then I had a point in life that I had to boil away the creative activities and say, “God made me creative, and it can be used in all sorts of areas.” That can be used in scheduling. Boy, have there been times I’ve had to be creative with scheduling. I can be creative with meal planning, how to get the laundry done, how to get school done, how I can get this small space to do what I need from it. Sometimes the creativity gets to come out in a school project or a personal project, but I am creative because… God made me that way.
Beautiful verse, and perfect! I’ve been in a remodeling world all summer, and could not understand why I felt so anxious – until a friend pointed out that my home is in chaos when it is usually my refuge. God has taught me so much this season; how to lean on Him and not a house for refuge, and that I need to find my creative pathways again. I’d forgotten how i needed creativity, and you have put an exclamation point on that lesson. Thank you!
Nancy Venuti says
Oh, the seasons of change. I thought when I walked through the grief of 2 husbands dying, a short 8 years apart and moved after 70 years in the same city this was change enough. Well, the change now is understanding and dealing with the fact that our society doesn’t appreciate and pay attention to old people. And I am almost 78 and active but unless I initiate an activity I am alone in my house. Yes, I can garden, decorate, read, cook but I am alone. I would like to gently remind those who don’t invite their senior parents and friends into their lives that they will someday be there.
And, cue the ugly cry. Oh my heart, this is so exactly where I am right now. I feel like I’ve been in this season of change for 3 years…because I have. First not being able to return to Ireland, then finding a new job in a new place, which took us to Vienna, which meant language learning and city living after 8 years of the Irish countryside, and more language learning. Then, the sudden and harsh leaving of Vienna and the 8 months of uncertainty that ensued following that, and then the decision not to remain expats and to stay in America, which meant finding new jobs yet again, new schools, new home. Now I’ve been on the new job for 6 months, in the new-to-us house for 4, kids have been in the new school since August. And I’m just so dad gum ready for the words and inspiration to come. Sometimes they do, in fleeting batches, fading so quickly I can barely capture them in a scribbled note on a crumb-crusted post-it. But mostly they hide, and I feel them in there like rocks, weighing me down, taunting me, scolding me that I should be writing. But I know that this time is sacred, and calls for tenderness, but it’s so much easier said than done.
And amen to grilled cheese sandwiches and boxed mac n’ cheese!
Rebecca L Jones says
I have had changes recently, expect a few more, always for the better. Some of these changes without going into major detail will help my family, but then there’s me. I’m glad to help, but I won’t lose myself in the process, I ‘ve learned to drop whatever isn’t necessary, and I wan write even if there is noise from behind a closed door. The main thing is being focused on Jesus, helping others can take a lot from you, so you have to let Him take care of you.
Oh, how true this is! As a military family we did the same-settling in was more of a line item check off than a real moving in. We always knew it was temporary. Moving into our home 18 months ago has been strange because this is out landing place, the first home we know we are going to be in for the long haul and the adjustment has been so different from the others. My mind has been way more preoccupied with the ‘settling in’ process-there is a sense of wanting to get it right not just unpacking boxes. My creative vein is finally beginning to pump again but slowly and in fits and starts. I have hope that it will come 🙂 I hear you from over here in MI and understand. Your writing is consistently wonderful and each update brings you that much closer!
‘There’s grace in accepting this season simply requires more filling up than pouring out.’
Thank you for your words today…all of them, but especially these.
Jill E says
Ahhhh…as often happens, you’ve put words to my experience. I’ve managed to not beat myself up for not blogging regularly the past few months (a huge win by itself). I hadn’t made the connection between energy for change and energy for creativity. YES! That is exactly what is happening! Thanks for the encouragement.
Michelle moore says
Wow! As a blogger I have been overwhelmed with keeping up with it all as our family transitions to living across the country for the second time in a year (due to my husbands job). I am also a first time homeschool mom this year as we wait for our home to build in a different school district from where our current apartment is. I feel like this blog is my permission slip to take it easy and focus on my family and not apologize to people when I don’t always have my weekly blog put out every Monday.
So thank you!
I love your idea that when we are not creative in writing, we are creative elsewhere. This is so true with me. If I am not writing than I need to be painting, creating, cooking, something. I played the piano for my growing up years and then had no piano when I got married. So I turned to another creative pursuit, writing. Funny, I may have never realized my writing ability without me missing the creativity of the piano. So not being creative in one area can help us find other creative outlets or new creative outlets.
Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts!! Hit the bulls-eye with my situation right now. I very unexpectedly got fired, which was both a career blow as well as a financial nightmare for me and my family. I have had a few weeks now to process this change, and we beating myself up for not DOING something creative or enlightening with my time. Reading your post made me see that I need to allow this time to be what it is–a breather, a gut-check, a path to a new direction, and stop expecting to be crafty, inspired, or crossing off my “to-do” list of projects.
Beth Williams says
Praying for you during this time of change! Like you I have been going through many changes, some major, these past few years. It was so bad at one point that I just “shut down” mentally. I felt like my sanity was gone. Couldn’t keep doing my job and handle all the stuff being thrown at me. God allowed me to quit my job and concentrate on the problems at hand. He lovingly walked me through the many crazy days ahead. At the same time I opened up to allow more of Him inside me. I pursued any chances to work for Him and had more quiet time, and prayer. That period of change did me a lot of good and allowed me refocus my life!