Well, she’s out there! The God Blanket officially launched into the world this past Tuesday and it’s been fun. And weird. And uncomfortable. And very, very vulnerable. Sometimes people imagine that creative endeavors are some sort of mystical process (kinda’ like I used to). But, when we put things in mystical categories they become unreachable and intimidating and highbrow…and ain’t nobody got time for that nonsense.
Now that this second book is out, one thing I’ve been really wanting to do is take the opportunity to tell you a few things I’ve learned about the creative process. I’m telling you this because it’s fun to relive the journey. But, mostly I’m telling you this for you, in the hopes that it would encourage even one to step out into something you may have considered for a long time. So to that end, here’s a few pieces of unfiltered truth that I hope will bless your own adventure.
- Creative processes are HARD. I’ve literally had years of practice along with some natural gifting with words and language. And still, almost every single time I sit down to write it takes way longer than I expect and I have at least one or two times where I think about quitting or how incompetent I am. While the easy magic of something spilling onto a page has happened a handful of times, most of the time it is a grind — and therein lies the gift.
- Doing hard things is a blessing. When you step into something God has called you to, it does not mean it is going to be easy. In fact, if Biblical examples teach us anything, it means it’s probably going to be really hard sometimes. That’s the gift I’m talking about. I’ve never been surer that I am living according to my design and yet, God has allowed it to be so hard sometimes that I have had to rely on nothing else than my trust and faith in Him to keep going. Diving into the unknown has transformed my faith in Christ in ways nothing else could.
- We create best when we mimic how God created. Even though He could have created everything at once, He didn’t. He showed us how to create from the basics (day/night, land/water) to the detailed and polished (plants, animals, people). We shouldn’t expect everything to come together right away! Even more importantly, He showed us how to enjoy the process as it goes along. In Genesis 1 He didn’t say, “It’s still awful. It’s still awful. It’s still awful.” He said, “It is good. It is good. It is good.” Until it was finally, “very good.” Don’t mentally whip yourself along the way, enjoy the process and trust in its development. Do like He did.
- You will feel exposed. Even if you only show your work to a couple people, it is a vulnerable thing to be creative and then open it to public opinion. When The God Blanket launched I spent the entire day vacillating somewhere between celebration and wanting to cover my head with every blanket in my house. It’s weird and uncomfortable to put your stuff out there and even weirder to promote yourself. Just ride that awkward wave as it rises and falls and trust that God is in charge of it all.
- Your obedience to God’s call will bless others. This is the one I didn’t see coming. Living out an unknown process gives other people permission to be vulnerable and say, “It’s okay to do scary stuff.” And while I appreciate the grown-ups who may fall in this category, you know who I ended up affecting more than anyone else? My children. (Cue unsightly Mom sobs.) I haven’t hidden the hard of this journey from them. They have heard me admit I don’t know what I’m doing but that I’m trusting God. They have seen me struggle and they have seen me celebrate. And on Tuesday, they brought me the cards you see in the picture above and my heart busted open because even if I don’t sell a single copy of a single book I have shown my children what it is like to live out in the unknown and maybe, just maybe, they’ll be able to do that too.
So thank you, everyone who has been part of this journey and everyone who may now start their own. I don’t know what adventure into the unknown God may be calling you to but calling you I am sure He is. Remember, creativity is not just found in the arts. God calls us to the unknown in lots of areas of our lives so that we will have to trust Him there. It won’t be comfortable but you can trust that He will give you all the love and guidance you need for that first step forward. It’s thrilling and scary and awesome out here folks. Let’s go.