Monday, 15 April 2013

Down Time In My Abbey

I've been thinking about this post for several weeks now. 

Can I just say here that blogging is a funny master.  For me, I want to feel that I have something that I want to say, so I wait until that moment comes.  Meanwhile, weeks go by without a post from me, so then I get thinking that whatever my next post is, it better be REALLY interesting and I'm always afraid that it never meets that bar of success so then I don't blog and then more time passes and all of a sudden I want to blog but it should be really interesting......

I digress.

I've been reading this devotional by Darlene Zschech, prolific Christian songwriter from Australia.  Anyone who has sang a contemporary worship song in the past 15-20 years has likely used her song at some point.  She's that prolific.  It's easy to hold her up as a 'super' person - super writer, super singer, super Christian, superwoman. 

There was something that she said on Day 1 of this 15 day devotional that I'm doing via YouVersion.  She said "For my own soul to be strong, I need God time, family time, thinking time and creative time.  When my soul becomes weary, I find myself vulnerable to waves of depression and insecurity.  That's the moment - the second - when I know I need to go and care for my soul with all urgency.  Am I missing God time?  Family time?  Thinking time?  Creative time?"

Hmm.  This concept hit home, big time.

It hit home for me because, to be honest and open, my soul has been weary these past few months.  My soul has been beat up, it has been in sorrow, it has been battling unpredictable and unmerciful hormones.  It's tired.  And, from that feeling of soul-weariness, I have reached for things by instinct to fill me up again.  I've had to reach for things that Darlene has had to reach for. 

Thinking about these four "fill-ers of my soul" (God time, family time, thinking time and creative time) makes me think about the mind-numbing things that sometimes fill our days that don't fit into any of these categories, things that keep us incredibly busy, but are without purpose.  We have become SO busy with day to day stuff that we have forgotten how important it is to fill our soul.

Something my soul absolutely craved this winter was a long-neglected cross stitch project.  It beckoned me, like a long lost friend.  I literally dusted it off and started poking my needle through the fabric, eyes glued to the pattern.  For the first while, my thoughts kind of drifted in the "is this supposed to be fun?" direction.  Then I started to notice my progress, and the shape of the picture became more defined with each group of stitches I completed.  By then, I was hooked.  I, Maureen, am creating something beautiful here. 

I couldn't begin to count how many times I've said "Oh, I made that" or "I'm working on a cross stitch/crochet/sewing project", etc., etc. - to have people gawk at me and reply "How do you do that?  I don't have time for that", and it's often said with this it must be nice to have so much free time to waste attitude.  I don't HAVE free time to waste, to be honest.  Amidst this, I wonder to myself - where have the creative people gone?  How have we managed to eliminate the act of creating something beautiful as an expression of our hearts?  How have we forced ourselves into believing that life is too busy to be creative?  Why have we chosen to cut ourselves off from making something with our hands from our souls?

I can't do it.

I can't NOT create.

It.  Feeds.  My.  Soul. 

And my soul needs to be fed.

If I'm going to thrive, I have to follow my instincts.....my instincts that have led me to create, to be creative.  Pouring myself into creative projects gives me time to think.  Thinking time helps me unload my busy brain.  A mind at rest provides space for my family and friends to roam around my thoughts.  Roaming thoughts leads to aligning perspectives mentally and spiritually....which settles my soul and opens my heart for God thoughts..... FILLING MY HUNGRY AND WEARY SOUL.  It's just not optional for me.  I'm drawn to creativity.  Called to it.  And I can't apologize for making it one of my personal priorities.

I know that not all creativity is crafty.  I'd LOVE to hear what creativity looks like in your life - are you a writer?  Poet?  Songwriter?  Speaker?  Baker?  Decorator?  Cook?  Painter?  Organizer?  Photographer?  Musician?

Today's post brought to you by me - cook, baker, photographer, seamstress, crochet-er, cross-stitcher, writer, musician.

Today's goal - to unleash 'creativity-with-no-apology' around the world!  It's good for the soul.

If you drop in on me one day, don't be surprised if you find me hunched over a wrinkled piece of cloth, threaded needle in my right hand, ratty paper pattern stretched out in front of me....
......and a wee smile on my face.