To say that September for our family is one of the most chaotic months of the year is an understatement. The fact that I have been absent here in this space is a testament to how little time I have had to cull through photos, much less find the time to sit and write my thoughts. This past month was filled with four family birthdays, a weekend volleyball tournament, camping among the redwoods, a friend’s 50th birthday bash, two Back to School nights, photo shoots, dentist/ortho appointments, haircuts, substitute teaching assignments….all of which required driving on almost every known highway and filling up our gas tanks every other day. I am pooped.
Ok…….so…….I use the excuse of the busyness of the season to explain why I have not posted here much, but there is another reason. Sometimes I come to this space and write a little and I just cannot seem to hit the “publish” button. I am just tired of hearing myself talk. Then I wonder what I truly have to offer. I also get stuck in the cycle of comparing myself to others so that just makes things muddy. I feel…bleh. I scroll through the files of photos I have gathered over the last year, many of which I have not shared, and I am uninspired by them. I feel like I have painted the same piece of art over and over and over again expecting it to ignite some passion in me. I keep picking up the brush and making the same strokes expecting something new and fresh but, alas, there is no spark. I know this cycle of self-loathing is all a part of the creative’s process….this feeling of discontent, this wrestling with my own demons, this lack of energy. So I teeter back and forth between telling myself to gut it out and practice the discipline of cultivating my gifts OR giving myself some grace to relax and not push myself so hard. Sometimes I error on the side of not pushing so hard, which really, for me, is not good because I will take the “not pushing so hard” to its ultimate slothful, lazy end. Laziness is really my form of avoidance.
So yeah, lately I feel as if my head is cluttered with too much of myself, my ego, my insecurities. Ugh. And the only thing I can think of doing to bring about some peace is by cropping out the noise–the noise of the world and the voices in my head that like to distract me from what I know is true and important. I have to take a moment and stop and listen to myself. I have to sift away all of the needless and harmful chatter, take captive my thoughts, until I find myself quieting into that humble place of surrender.
For me, when I arrive at that humble place I am able to focus in on a simple truth: I was created by the Creator to glorify, not myself, but Him, in all I do. He has bestowed me with gifts and talents, a certain way of seeing the world around me, and a desire to elevate and draw attention to the beauty that is all around us and in us. The main thread of my life story (and for anyone’s life story) should be about the unfolding, the exercising, and the maturing of those gifts (as hard as that process may be) so that they can be used for serving and loving others and extending goodness to those we meet along the way. But ultimately the created should always reflect the Creator–give credit to the authorship from which those gifts came.
But, as a daily participant in the flawed human condition, I am prone to switching the order of glorification. In that process of cutting away the clutter that I spoke of above, what it comes down, for me, is cropping down to another black and white truth: it is realizing that half of my battle over my creativity (and my relationships and my work…basically life in general) is the struggle over who should get the glory. When my life and gifts are all about me me me then I will consistently find myself in a wrestling match, not with God, but with myself and the world at large because there will always be a twisted motive as to why I am creating and there will always be someone who is not giving me the attention and glory I feel I deserve when I do create. It is a frustrating place to find myself in, this battle over glorification. This root of self-glorification creates all kinds of craziness, and sometimes I feel as if I am taking a rubber axe to that root because it seems to be taking a life time to conquer it.
So there you go…now you know why I have not been here in this space much. In a nut shell: I’m tired and I’m tired of myself.
Truthfully I feel a bit vulnerable in hitting the “publish” button on this post. It is humbling to admit my struggle. I fear my words not making sense. I fear being judged by those who do not share my same beliefs. See, even now my ego is vying for power over whether or not I should send these words out into the atmosphere. Even now I am engaging in a cropping exercise. Seriously, I need to be saved from myself.