We’ve been suffocated with snow days this week: four days in a row. We’ve gone from the exciting first day (No school!) to the shoulder-slumped fourth day (*sigh* no school). Even the kids are ready to get back. I’ve had to be flexible and gracious with my time. Sometimes I haven’t done such a hot job of it. And it’s made me think about the art we’ve been talking about around here lately. Because some of you are artist who are creating. And some of you are artist who are waiting.
There can be great frustration for those who long to create but aren’t. Maybe you have babies around who need stuff and things – when the twins were born, I was too busy picking dried-spit up out of my hair and staring out the window during my free time to think about any kind of art. Maybe you are taking care of aging parents. Maybe you are in the process of moving and your house is filled with boxes and packing tape, or you work full time outside of your home and your job responsibilities don’t allow for much else. If you home school or are the president of the PTA or are remodeling your kitchen, you may not see a place in your life for the art.
All of these things could be reasons why you have to wait. BUT (and I’m going to be very bold here), they could also be excuses. It is important to know if you are waiting because of wisdom, because it truly isn’t the right time. It is also important to know if you are waiting because of fear. Here are some ways to discover the difference.
Ask your people. My people would be my husband. For you, it may be other family or even kids. When the twins began to get a bit older, I went a year or so where I felt a pull to write, but I didn’t really tell my husband. What resulted from that was frustration on my part because I was trying to squeeze writing into a schedule that wasn’t allowing it, and also frustration on my husbands part because he didn’t understand how important it was to me. Get your people behind you. The idea of creating in isolation may seem romantic and artsy, but it isn’t.
Adjust your expectations. It doesn’t have to be I’m either going to write a book, or I’m not going to write at all. If you have the idea that you have to finish an entire book or else it doesn’t count, you could be waiting forever. Thirty minutes of writing before the kids wake up still counts.
Art and margin must co-exist. If pursuing your art does not also allow for some white space in your schedule, it could mean that now is not the time to pursue your art. But be honest about this. Decide which things in your schedule you value the most. You may discover huge chunks of time that can be replaced with creativity. Tsh’s book, Organized Simplicity, helped me as I thought about this in my own schedule.
Consider the beginning. If you pick up the Bible and start on page one, the first thing we see God do is to create. It was priority number one. It was not an afterthought. He had a purpose and a vision, and he made it come to be. If you tend to see creating art as a luxury, or if you feel guilty about your creative self, I want to urge you to reconsider. You were made in the image of Someone who places a high priority on creativity. To deny that part of yourself is insulting.
Find the art in the living. I know it may seem like I am contradicting myself here, but if you insist on compartmentalizing your art from your living, you may never find the time to pursue it. The more I see myself as an artist, the more my art spills over into my life. I begin to see meal prep as an outlet for my creative side. I use my writing as a gift by sending a long note to a friend instead of jotting a quick thank you out of obligation. If you can’t find art in your living, keep looking. I promise it’s there.
Three years ago, as I prayed about what 2008 would hold for me, I sensed the Lord speaking these simple words into my heart: It’s time to write. He didn’t tell me what to write, when to write, or how. I had to sort of figure that part out. But I had a clear impression as I considered that the words were from him. As you think about your own art, I want to encourage you to lay it all out there and ask him about it. Because when he calls you to something, I promise he will provide.