Showing Up

I've been thinking a lot about the creative process lately. Given some books I've been reading, as well as the blogs of some fantastically brilliant people, this topic is one that keeps coming up again and again.

When you work in a creative field, it sometimes feels like you have to be creative on demand. At PORTICO, there is always a new sermon series coming up, or brochure, and every week there has a Sunday means that there are a whole lot of elements that go into our worship services.

There are days when it feels like the demand for creativity far exceeds the supply I have.

There was a time when I believed that to be truly creative, one shouldn't have to work at it at all. That creative energy should just flow like swirls from the fingertips. That a truly creative person could sneeze onto a window pane and it would be a thing of beauty.

I no longer believe in this fairy tale.

Which is part of the reason I've been thinking about all this. In truth, I am still solidifying exactly what my creative process looks like. There are elements that I are fairly set into my routine. The three pages that I write every morning {a la Julia Cameron's morning pages in The Artist's Way}, as well as read whatever I can find on the subject, and limit the amount of time I spend in front of a screen or monitor.

And every month, I sit down and design a desktop calendar, mostly for myself, although I have recently discovered that there are those out there who use them as well, which is kind of fun.

The 'rules' when I design my desktop calendars, are simple. Every month, my goal is to make this month's calendar like nothing I have worked on in the last month. If I have used a photo in a certain way in the previous month, or learned and used a new technique, or even drew a flower in a certain way, then it cannot be done for this month's calendar. Whatever the idea is, it has to be like nothing else I have done in the last 30 days. Sometimes it works out, sometimes...not so much.

When I began working on August's desktop calendar last week, I had a specific Bible verse that I wanted to use. But every time I started typing the words, I ended up typing, 'Be still and know that I am God'. Not the verse I wanted, but I ended up giving in to it. After a while, I got tired of fighting it.

Here is the final product:


Then, my sister-in-law Loralie wrote a post on Jayden's CaringBridge blog yesterday afternoon. In her beautiful way, she described how these past few months have affected her, and how she had been running, avoiding, keeping busy for fear that she wouldn't be able to hold it together if she actually stopped and though about her son having cancer.

Then, she had a breakthrough. I will let you read the post in her own words, but I will share the last line of her post...
"So today I sit and rest and be still and know that He is God."
As I read it, I simultaneously started to laugh and cry. Suddenly, I knew that this one was for Loralie, not me.

This grace-filled realization that sometimes, you can do all the planning—all the prep work, come at it with armed with sketches and dreams and preconceived notions—but sometimes, you just need to show up to do the work, and God will take you and what you've brought, and breathe a breath into it that makes it into something far greater than you ever imagined.

Sometimes, you just have to show up.


Stefanie Brown said...

Great design!

susanne said...

thanks, Stefanie!

bellaverita said...

Really beautiful, Sue.

Monique Edelle said...

Be still and know that I am God... -Amen to that. God bless your heart :)

susanne said...

@angie: thanks, my friend!

@monique:thank you for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful design and beautiful post!
Love them both!


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