- How I’m Ending Creative Anxiety in My Personal Life – Part I
- How I’m Ending Creative Anxiety In My Personal Life – Part II
As things were, I viewed my writing as mine. My words. My field to plow.
The writing industry isn’t going to hand me anything. My writing might be decent, but it’s not good enough to publish (yet). So it’s up to me.
And though I follow Jesus? Ha! God doesn’t care. He doesn’t love me enough to give me a writing career. Jesus just phoned in to say “I’m a bit short-handed for writers at the moment. I need you to pen a bestseller. Ever hear of Rowling? Lewis? Tolkien? I’ll pop back in later to see how you’re doing! Cheerio!”
This was my problem.
I believed Jesus was British.
Kidding. He’s not American either.
My (real) problem was that everything I believed about God’s attitude towards me and my writing was a lie. God cares. He loves me, and though he’s invited me to tell stories, He hasn’t left me as an orphan, but promises to help me through His Spirit (John 14:16-18).
He’s given me everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and I’ve been given His Spirit to convict me concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement (John 16:7-8). These things are done as an aid to fulfill my calling. If I truly believe that I am called to be a writer, than I need to include writing in the things His gifts are for.
My gift is meant to be shared, however. His vision for my writing is that I would get behind other writers, dancers, photographers, painters, illustrators, videographers, sculptors, programmers, musicians…to empower them. This isn’t about me and my ability or inability to spin a great yarn (or make a buck). It’s about a people who need the values of God and the person of Jesus contextualized within the power of a story. Jesus didn’t die on a cross so I can become the next Rowling or Lewis or Tolkien. He died so that people might choose the eternal life He offers and in doing so come to know Him as the Truth and be set free from their propensity to find satisfaction in things that don’t satisfy.
The truth is that I don’t own the field.
He does. And it’s a good thing because His plans for that field are infinitely bigger than mine.
In order to be free from creative anxiety, I have to die to the idea that success is when I’m meeting all of my self inflicted goals/or published/or making money/or reach X number of subscribers. Success is when I am continually responding to Jesus with obedience on a moment by moment level.
If you want to stress yourself to death by following some other metric, you just might succeed.
This is a continual process for me. I have not arrived. I am learning. And this isn’t easy. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.
The reality is that God doesn’t need me to tell stories. He could tell the most epic action-adventure story with a romantic plot twist that leaves lives changed long after they’ve closed the cover…and I believe He has. But all this fiction stuff? He could do it without me in a flash. Amazon bestseller. One word. Done.
But He doesn’t.
He cares about the reader and the author (1 Peter 5:7). He desires peace among people (Hebrews 12:14), and peace internally (John 14:27). And so he invites writers, dancers, photographers, painters, illustrators, videographers, sculptors, programmers, musicians…to His field to work for Him.
So what do I do? Sit around and wait for my writing career to apperate into my lap? No. That’s not what I’m advocating here. He provides for the birds, but they don’t chill out in their nests all day. My role is to believe that there are worms in the ground. It’s about asking “When am I supposed to work?”
So to get out of my last ditch of creative anxiety I turned my writing time over to Jesus. I had to recognize that if I really believed that He has called me to be a writer, than He has also provided a way to make that happen. His field. His calling. My answer.
He’s a kind master. Much kinder than I am to myself. Waking up stupid early and driving myself over the edge trying to make self-inflicted deadlines was like forcing myself to work in that field in the dead of night or in the middle of a hail storm.
My writing, just like my faith, must be based on obedience. And the only way I’ve come to know what to obey (as far as when to create and work on TPC stuff) is by asking.
Practically it looks like this:
I look at my schedule and notice that I have a 40 minute block between 8:40 PM and 9:20 PM. So I pray “Lord, am I supposed to be writing then?” If I get an impression or feel peaceful about it, then I go for it.
Sometimes I get an impression, and I know it will be peaceful, but I just don’t want to. This is where it’s important to be obedient. It’s not my field, and you better believe He has plenty of other writers that will pick up whatever plow I decide to drop.
Before I go to bed I ask “Jesus, what time am I waking up?”
If He says 5:30 to get up and write…I better go to the kitchen and grind the coffee beans cause I know I’m going to need it.
I’m learning to do this for every pocket of free time.
No. I do not hear God 100% of the time.
No. I’m not always right.
No. I do not have super-hearing.
The Bible does not say “And only some of you will be able to hear my voice because you are holy enough”. It says “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27), it says “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things that you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3), it says “the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
And for crying out loud, ask people to pray over your writing. God loves hearing it, and you need to remember that other people are behind you.
I certainly am, and I am continually leveling the focus of this site to prove it.