For Those Times When You just need to try something DIFFERENT to deal with stress, Try being Creative

chocolate cupcake
photo credit: Dessy Dimcheva
Day 2
One day stands out in particular as the absolute breaking point for this type of empty living:  my daughter’s third birthday.  My husband was deployed to Kuwait with the Navy so communication between the two of us was incredibly sporadic.  During the first three months he was away we talked on the telephone one time and I received about 1 email a week.  My daughter has had breathing issues since birth and this day she was having a hard time with her illness.  My car had a flat.  The weather was dreary and overcast.  One by one the guests of the birthday party were cancelling due to sickness and inclement weather.  I had spent way too much money for a party I was not even interested in throwing.  I FELT ALL ALONE.

 The party happened.  I made my way home feeling unheard by GOD but desperate because there was nowhere else to turn.  I put my daughter to bed.  I went in the living room, turned out all the lights and laid on the floor… and cried and KEPT CRYING.  And I remember pleading, begging toward the ceiling with words something like, “GOD I can’t take this.  You have got to do something in my life.  I am alone and feel desperate for something ANYTHING TO DO to feel that my identity is valuable to you.  I have nowhere else to go LORD.  


 "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
 -John 6:68
So, I prayed the prayer that night and I went to bed with that feeling of being heard but with no real idea what was coming next.

 

baked cookies
photo credit: Sarah Gualtieri
 Spiritual:
1.                   Has there been a time in your life where change was occurring in a way that was unexpected?  Are you in a place right now where change is inevitable/unavoidable?  What does change look like to you?  What area of your life SPECIFICALLY do you need change to happen?


 2.                   Look at the following verses to see other examples of “suddenly” moments and write down what you find.  Is there any particular one that speaks SPECIFICALLY to this point in time in your life?
Genesis 37:7

Number 16:42

 Judges 14:5
 
2 Kings 2:11

Job 1:19

Proverb 28:18
 
Isaiah 48:3

 Daniel 5:5

 Acts 2:2

  Acts 9:3

Creative: 
1.                   Do you currently have a creative outlet that you allow yourself to use as a time for worship?  What has that activity done for you personally and in your life’s circumstances?  How much time are you able to devote time to this?


 
2.                   Have you considered trying a new artistic medium? If so, what things do you need to do to begin exploring this?  What roadblocks are in the way? 

Maybe What you need is a creative Outlet... BUt Where Do you Begin?



six women leaning on white wall
photo credit: Clarke Sanders


The following series is excerpts from my book "Your Creative Peace: How to find your creative voice while communing with God" written in 2013
to purchase: CLICK HERE


Looking for
Your Creative Voice

Here's the process:
We will:
-explore God’s creativity
-explore the beauty of creativity
-explore creativity as an act of worship
-PINPOINT your creative journey
-INTEGRATE YOUR CREATIVITY AND SPIRITUAL JOURNEY MORE DEEPLY
This is my hope for you. That as you journey through these next 5 weeks, you will have a sense of how GOD has gifted you with a creativity that is uniquely yours.  Maybe you ALREADY have a sense of where you thrive creatively.  This may be an opportunity to incorporate this section of your life into your spiritual practice. This may be a time to try a new creative medium.  Whatever place you find yourself, remember during this point in time you will journey through this course as YOU NEED TO. 
Suggestions on how to use this course:
-At the beginning of each week a creative prompt is given along with a bible verse.  You may choose to use either of these as the jumping off point for your creative expression that week.
-You can choose to read the sessions as preparation before you begin work in the creative medium you choose.
-At the end of each day's session, you will find questions to deepen your creative and spiritual practice.  Journal space has been provided for you to log your thoughts.  You might also choose one of these questions as a prompt for your creativity.
-A final suggestion on how to utilize these sessions in your creative practice is to keep an art journal and create drawings, scrapbook pages and mixed media pieces or photography as a means to express the work God is doing in your creative life.
Vision for the Course:
This course is geared towards:
-those who are ready to start finding their creative voice
-those who have a creative outlet already or have an idea of an avenue they would like to explore creatively.
-those who can commit some time (this course is structured to complete in 5 weeks) to exploring more deeply their creative processes as an act of worship/spiritual connection
Examples of what I mean by creative outlets:
Drawing, Painting, Mosaics, Sewing, Cooking, Clay, Photography, Decorating, Jewelry making, Baking, Scrapbooking, Writing, Music, Poetry, Knit/crochet, Needlepoint, Yoga, Teaching, Gardening, Singing, Songwriting, Homemaking, Teaching Sunday School

Ready to Begin? 



GOD AS CREATOR
Week 1 Creative Prompt: Declare Freedom
Verse for the week:  “You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body.  You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.”  Psalm 139:15
Day 1
 Recently, I read through the best selling book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.  He touched upon something that I find sits in a very deep place for me: being successful and fulfilling your life’s purpose are not the same thing.  Have you noticed that in your own life?  Do success and fulfillment go hand in hand?  I think it depends on how you define success and whether or not you have figured out what areas in your life leave you feeling fulfilled.  

two women standing on snow covered surface
photo credit: Brooke Cagle
For many years I had not answered these questions for my life.  I was just living.  Were the bills paid?  Are my kids healthy?  Am I fighting with my husband?  I did not have any real sense of purpose.  Definitely I did not think it mattered to GOD what I was doing with my time other than making sure I lived a moral life.  I would have been content to live this way but…GOD in His mercy for me (AND FOR YOU) allowed the events in my life to shift in such a way that I had to TAKE NOTICE.
One of the things I found in my life is that I seemed to not be able to connect with God anymore.  I felt like life had beaten me to a pulp.  I was discouraged, disillusioned, distracted… feeling hopeless.  My prayers felt empty.  The words on the pages of my Bible waxed cold in my ears and on my heart.  The disappointments and discouragements felt too great to overcome.  I found that I was living in a shadow relationship with GOD.  He was there but I had no desire to connect, no entry to connect, no vehicle to connect.    What I did not know was that God was making a change in my life and I would start to find a language to express fulfillment on a deeper level.

two women sitting on chair
photo credit: Samantha Sophia

 Spiritual:
1.                   How do you define success?  Has it changed over the years? How so?  What changes would you like to make in your life in order to redefine success?






2.                   Are success and fulfillment two sides of the same coin or are they one and the same?  Explain.





3.                   Do you feel like you are fulfilling your life’s purpose? What one step do you need to take in order to get on track?  How do you see creativity playing a role in those changes?







Creative:
1.                   The theme for this week is Declare Freedom as in letting go of how others would have you define your success, your fulfillment.  Begin to think of how you would represent this declaration in a creative way.