Have you ever felt frustrated or discouraged because you wonder if you’re operating fully in your God-given gifts and talents for the glory of God? Me too! You’re not alone! Sometimes I get down on myself and wonder if I’m procrastinating, disobeying or suppressing the gifts God has given me. God has implanted so much vision and so many projects in me that sometimes I get overwhelmed and fall into analysis paralysis. (Anyone else?!) Sometimes the desire is there but the inspiration and motivation is not and I feel like I’m apart from God.
I was fortunate enough to connect recently with one of my sisters in Christ as she expressed the same feelings of frustration and discouragement. She also happens to be a gifted writer and has been feeling like she’s not “doing” enough with her gift and hasn’t been inspired to write.
In her transparency, I found comfort as I too have been feeling the same way. As she was expressing her heart, the question came upon me. I felt like it was a question I needed to process myself. I asked her: “Do you feel you produce your best work in a systematic, disciplined way or do you operate best in spurts of spontaneous creativity?”
She said, “Oh no, I’m so not a Type-A, rigid kind of person. I am creative and think outside the box and go with the flow.”
That’s when it dawned on me!
Some people are wired to develop a discipline to strategically carve out time to operate in their gifting. For some this works exceptionally well. I admit I’ve been trying to make myself adhere to this same type of method. I set alarms on my calendar to write for at least one hour each day but I’ve been noticing the past few months that each time this alert happens prompting me to write, I feel discouraged and as if I’m disobeying my own well-thought-out plan. I feel like I’m failing myself and God because I’m not always feeling particularly inspired by the Holy Spirit to write. So...I just don’t write anything at all. And then I feel bad about it.
But in all fairness, not everyone is wired this way. Sometimes inspiration comes in waves.
It made me think of my dad who loves to surf.
I realized he doesn’t just grab his board and flop it in the ocean at any given moment when he feels like catching some waves and expect that his showing up with the desire to ride would somehow push the waves.
First, he researches the waves, the swells, the direction of the wind, the rhythm of the water and he strategically goes to the places with ideal surfing conditions.
If the water isn’t right, there’s no sense in dropping in his board. If he did, he’d be out there for hours not catching a single wave and then leave feeling like it was a total waste of time.
This helped me realize that if our desire is to produce quality work to bring glory to God, then sometimes we must wait for the wave of inspiration to come upon us.
As for me, last year I felt like the Lord put me on creative restriction. Deep in my spirit I heard that I was going to embark on a season of writing as He was going to be downloading messages in me at a rapid rate but He made it clear that I was not to publish anything until He gives me a distinct green light. He just wanted me to be ready to record what He’s revealing to me and be patient with the process. Last year, I’ve recorded over 100 pieces of writing. They’re fragmented, unedited, and raw. But the writings don’t come to me in my dedicated 7am writing slot. They come to me at random times.
The revelation I received was to ride the wave of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (even if that means He wakes me up at 3am with a burning message) and then use other dedicated time to go back and edit, revise, tailer and button up my work and operate with an editor's mindset. And then wait for the proper time to publish.
Embrace Your Grace
Understand we're all designed differently and His grace is sufficient for us to carry out His perfect purpose on our lives. Some are more disciplined people that strategically carving out their time and do great work by their dedicated system that works well for them. Because that's how God wired them. For those of us that are spontaneous and "out of the box" kind of people, we look at this with envy and think something must be wrong with us because we can’t just do it how they do it. The key is to recognize and embrace how He’s developed you and not fight the process.
What works for one may not work for you and that’s perfectly okay. There’s no right or wrong. God developed us each differently and in the likeness of His image. Let’s not get entangled by trying to be someone we’re not.
Which do you think is more God-glorifying?
To write 5 new pieces in one day...all inspired by Holy Spirit -or- 1 piece for 5 days without Divine inspiration?!
Let’s say you’re an artist, musician, songwriter, or blogger…
Wouldn’t it be unrealistic to believe that you’ll be under divine inspiration and overflowing with creativity and revelation every single day at the particular time you've carved out time to express your craft?
Unrealistic expectation increases the margin for disappointment and discouragement
So here I say, GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK, FRIEND! God loves your heart and desires to work through the gifts He's given you to bless this world. Just know that He'll do it in His timing and it's perfectly acceptable to simply "ride the wave" of creativity when it comes upon you, withhold your work until you're divinely prompted to publicize it and even stack up the vault of work for release in His appointed time.