I’ll be 24 in a few weeks. I still talk about doing classes with SCAD ( Savannah College of Art and Design) like it was a great achievement from yesterday or being accepted to visit Heidi Baker’s ministry in Mozambique; having amazing job opportunities and travel ambitions. I talk and think as if they were accomplished, when all they became were more great ideas among the dozens in my head. I didn’t actually complete any of them. Why? Mostly for financial and other situational reasons. Not long ago, my Dad described how he still saw each of his four daughters…with me, he still saw the daydreamer, care-free child, starring off into the distance, wind gently blowing strands of hair. In my own little world. Imagining. That is what I’ve done most my life and now thank the moments it brought brilliant ideas to mind. I prized being that little dreamer. Slowly, that part of me began to feel out of reach. Lost. Dead. If I tried something again, would I be disappointed? I ignored the itch to keep moving. If I stay here, at least I won’t let anyone down. But what good are ideas if they stay dormant? People want to see my work and I show them ideas!
Are not profound thoughts accomplishments? And good ideas great work?
Ambitions slowly fade into everyday routines when motivation sits idle. I usually don’t let my gas gauge go below a quarter tank but for the first time ever, I pushed it till the fuel sign glowed orange. I’ve been out of fuel that feeds creativity. The fuel that keeps you moving or seeking, or trying.
I think, “what will I do today, who do I need to text back today?” to “what will I wear today, what will I have to eat, how will I do my make up, do I need to stop by the store before work and get groceries?” All of those thoughts keep me busy but they don’t keep me productive. They don’t keep me productive with things that fill my creative tank.
I thought of title names for this post and “stick in the mud” came to my mind. I looked it up and it’s what most of us dread becoming. “A person who is dull, unadventurous, and who resists change” googles exact dictionary description of the phrase.
I know I’m not dull, I crave adventure and I embrace unexpected change…even when it’s difficult. Then why do I feel what I fear becoming? I fear disappointing society when they see how non-interesting my life is. I have no big accomplishments to show for, I’m not headed toward specific goals. I get caught up in the mundane routine of life. Hobbies? Oh yeah! I forgot I enjoyed doing them. Why did I stop? Too many people are doing the same thing, swing dancing isn’t cool anymore, I don’t have time, too tired, no one will be impressed, I’m not good at those things anymore, it’s too expensive. I hate that word “expensive”. YUCK! Do you know what rhymes with yuck?…STUCK. I hate that word too. I have felt stuck for a very long time. Maybe a bit blinded too. One of my favorite things to do is look through old pictures and read through old journals, papers, resumes, you name it! One thing they all have in common? They’re all from the past.
Regret will always pull you into the past but hope will draw you into the future.
Maybe there’s a reminder in those old notes and pictures. A reminder of fresh starts. A reminder of the determination that drove me into new things, a reminder of what it felt like when my creative tank was full, a reminder of what it felt like to feel ambitious and care free.
You may not find certificates of completed work but you will find an endless supply of written stories, ideas, plans, and drawings. Perhaps that is why I enjoy looking through particles of the past. Hoping they will spark inspiration.
My highly creative friends are rarely seen, they are too busy being creative and working on projects to reflect that.
It was 2015, a high-school graduate, locked on going to SCAD. I had the drive, the deep interest and determination, the plan. Exciting things happened after that online quarter with SCAD, but nothing grasped me like it had. I never desperately wanted to pursue something that hard for myself, carrier wise, since stopping my studies with SCAD. Then finally, I grabbed hold of an idea that I passionately wanted to pursue and make part of my own carrier. I studied and researched, made phone calls, bought books. I hadn’t felt this way in so long, this is amazing! It’s gotta be it. Ambition was there. Excitement? Overflowing! More research led me to some serious questioning of the particular subject which took away the confidence I had in pursuing it all together. Letting go and laying it down…I couldn’t shake it. It seemed to be a recurring theme of surrender in my life. If you’re not in it Lord, I don’t want to be in it either. I put it on the back shelf and decided “unless God leads me back to it, I’ll leave it there.”
Letting go of something can be disappointing but in return, leaves you with open hands for something greater.
In a way, I think we’re all in search for something that will bring us purpose. If you’re a stay at home mom, maybe you find it in your kids. If you’re a manager, maybe you find it in your work. If a photographer, in your pictures. You get it. You could probably name something relatable to you right now. Maybe it’s in being a good friend. I think I’ve tried to find my purpose in others. Being liked by people became more important than pursuing a dream.
I’m in a still season and the things I’d usually find purpose in are drifting into blurry, unidentifiable objects.
My purpose becomes more clear as I see Jesus more clear. There’s a cleansing of the heart taking place in order for pure, new desires to take root. I won’t be doing things for the same reasons I use to. Proving myself, gaining likes and impressing people with a perfect performance. Maybe I’ll experience renewed goals with a type of freedom only my childhood recalls.
When I was a child I would invent toys and show them off. I’d sing a song I wrote in front of dinner guest. I was proud of my amateur paintings and silly stories. I was free despite the imperfections. When did I stop doing things? When I started caring too much I suppose. Or, when I stopped caring about those things altogether.
There’s something in me that fears I’ll disappoint people when they see how “ordinary” I am or if they ask those “out of the box” questions and I have no significant answer. I recognize these thoughts connect to lies, while self pity keeps me from acknowledging truth and the black and white memories of the past distract me from what’s ahead. However, once you realize you’ve been stuck somewhere, the way out becomes a whole lot easier.
I’m still working through this season. I’m still figuring the way out and the move forward. It could be I’ve waited for things to meet me midway, therefore the feeling of stopping midway resides. Maybe this is the start to meeting things beyond midway. Goals, dreams, desires, interests…ideas.
Maybe midway is the “stuck” feeling. Maybe midway has slowed me down. Maybe I’ve been blinded by only seeing midway.
I have found contentment in doing little, but this heart made for more hears a call. A call not motivated by comparison or discontentment, but a call to pursuit, to the joy of creating, and learning to dream big again. A call to finish.
So now, things that were met midway, will be met with a brand new “start” and a clear “finish”, without regret and eyes opened to a creative field ready to be planted in.