J. On Getting An Artistic Reboot

Many years ago God gave me a phrase I felt I was to live by: My life is to be built Slow, Constant and Intentional. I have never really struggled with the “Constant” part of that command. I am a pretty good plodder. I can keep going and going and going. I don’t have problems showing up early or staying late.

I feel like I have learned to be “Intentional”. That hasn’t come naturally. It has been a process learning to plan and live my life by a God rhythm. Even all these years into practicing the lifestyle I find there are moments where my intentionality misses a beat or six. In those moments, I have to replan and resubmit myself to the process of being intentioned or thought-out. Mostly I feel my failures in complying with God’s three-step plan have been founded in the trouble I have with slowing down.

Nothing in my life feels slow enough. I feel rushed everyday. Even when I am intentionally taking it slow I feel like the world around me is screaming “HURRY UP!” That external shout makes my insides fight against my attempts towards easing up on life’s gas pedal.

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I can be intentionally moving along at a proper God-set pace, then the world comes along with its myriad requirements and my intentions which are geared to a slower lifestyle fly out the window. I am left scrambling to try and figure out which intentions to keep and which ones to throw away so I can go once again live as fast and furious as the rest of the world.

I’ve noticed over the last year how much this kills my creativity. I run from one thing to the next and frankly sometimes I feel like I am just “phoning it in”. In those moments I sense most powerfully there is something inside of me that screaming for a return to excellence.

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I know this all just sounds like so much complaining about first world problems. Maybe that is part of it, but somewhere in the middle of that is a conviction from the Holy Spirit that things are supposed to be different.

When Brenda and I were discussing her return home I think we both knew that adding more complexity to our already complex lives was going to cause us to rush even more than we already were. I think we both also knew how much this would threaten our creative well-being. That is why even before she came home we had decided to do a study on rebooting creativity. The study by The Artist’s Way author Julia Cameron is entitled It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again. It is a study created to help people facing life transitions to recapture their creative selves (It deals specifically with retirement as a transition but I am finding much in it for our particular transition at the Vicarage). I want to give thanks here to my blogging friends Cee Neuner and Chris Donner who put the book in my pathway.

Yesterday I spoke about the messy mental and spiritual threads I was encountering in the midst of this transition….

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To this pile we are now adding an artist’s study thread, but as I open the pages of this book I am seeing that perhaps this particular thread will bring together several others. Perhaps, this will begin to help us make sense of the mess.

If you want to join us on this study the Book is available on Amazon.com.We have just finished the introduction and I took my first stab at writing the “Morning Pages”. My arm fell asleep…imagine that a writer who can’t write three pages without his fingers cramping up….