Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 8: Waiting out the Swirl

My mind is circling a bunch of different directions this morning, and I'm not sure how they fit together. Perhaps they don't. But you know the sense you get when the mental multi-tasking feels different, somehow? That odd awareness that, If I just give all those thoughts enough time & space to zoom around, they'll land in an interesting way? That's me this morning. Waiting for the zooming to stop.

It's a challenge to leave room for this. Part of me likes defined time, where I start and end a project or a prayer, and then move on to whatever is next. But creativity (and by this I mean life) rarely works that way.

As I write this, I'm thinking about an author friend who flummoxed an interviewer recently by admitting that the bulk of her "writing" time is spent staring at the wall or out the window. I recently turned down a request to have a teen writer job shadow me for exactly this reason--I was terrified that after an afternoon with me, the girl would never do homework again!

As we grow up, it becomes less and less about getting the homework done. I've wasted too many days trying to force myself into productive mode (as if I had a camera crew following me, reporting back to headquarters) with little or nothing to show for my efforts. My best "stuff" comes after it's had time to percolate a bit, and then to sit. But that's tough to wait for in a world that constantly threatens to leave us behind.

I feel caught in the swirl of two truths: One, the artistic lament of the decades, that quality takes time. The other, the wise words of a law school friend who refused to let the stress get to him, that things tend to get done. Both are true. But it's a weird tension to hold.

Where are you in this tension? If our lives are part of God's creative act, is there time in your life to let things percolate, trusting that they (and you) will land where they're supposed to be? My guess is that I'm not alone in answering "no." Let's talk to God about that today. Let's ask for holy confidence in his plan, and for space--mental, physical, emotional--to let things settle down enough, inside and around us, so we can see the patterns emerge.


kim said...

This morning I also felt like I was in the spin cycle. Then I went to the gym and listened to a Joyce Myer sermon, "God Is In Control." Her words of assurance were a HUGE relief. At this point I feel like God is in control and I don't have to know the what, the why and the when. I also have more confidence that God's plan and blessings will come to pass, even if I periodically mess up. I'm still feeling the juices of my desires and creativity still swirling, but now I'm not feeling the burden that I have to understand or control it all. Praise God for that!

Kristi E. said...

Wow, the timing of this topic is amazing...I just finished my first day of full-time summer school yesterday! And because all of my courses are online, I'm already needing to strike a balance between "getting my homework done" and giving some space (because I can) to how and when I do it. Because I have that first-day-of-school hit-by-a-truck feeling this morning, I am definitely leaving the when and how of my homework up to God today. Great post, Trish.

larramiefg said...

This is a wonderful reflective topic that I know all too well. But it's true thoughts/feelings/actions need time to come together successfully. Perhaps this describes it best:

"To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven"

Sarakastic said...

This is the hardest part for me because i'm always like "I could have faith if I knew what was going to happen" but that's not exactly faith.

KimberlyH said...

Larramiefg - checkout Ecclesiastes 3. The words to ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ are there. I didn’t know the connection until this past Sunday when our pastor’s talk was on the verses and I was like “hey – those are the words to that song!”

This summer I’ve been looking forward to a more quiet schedule, more walks outside, more lazy BBQs with friends, etc. But my natural ambitious tendency is to start planning to do all these things I’ve wanted to do – gardening, reading more (I’ve got 5 books out from the library), getting back to my daily bible reading, taking that language course I keep want to take but never have had time, and the list goes on until I could be just as busy as I was before!
Last night I took a walk. Normally, I listen to music or a podcast. I took my iPod with me, but I didn’t listen to anything for the 45 minute walk. I was perfectly happy to be processing the events of the day and recent weeks. I’ve started to realize, I need a lot more downtime to “process” than I have typically given myself room to have. And I think if I do less, I will actually connect with God more and be happier, than if I try to pack in more stuff.