Are you proactive or reactive? Do you want to plant grass seed or pull weeds? When I’m tired (or lazy), I find myself primarily reacting to problems or requests, endlessly pulling weeds for problems that come up. Yet being proactive is like planting so much grass that the weeds have no room to grow. How can we be proactive and creative, not simply reactive?
Creativity grows in the margins of our life. When every waking minute is filled with activity, conversation and entertainment, then our souls have no space for creative ideas. Solitude and silence are the soil in which life-giving insight spring up. When we take time to cultivate margins, to listen to God from his Word in an unhurried manner, to listen truly and deeply to people around us, then we are far more able to respond creatively to the challenges that face us.
I am grateful to recreate margins this summer which have enabled creativity to grow. My two weeks of focused study followed by two weeks with the family were a rich time to encounter God’s grace in surprising ways. God’s grace encountered me through everything from $10 tickets to watch the musical Hamilton, to the gift of four tickets to the Cubs game when my mom was in town and 2 tickets to the U2 Joshua Tree concert tour at Soldier Field. More importantly I felt God’s grace while marinating in God’s Word, in hiking in God’s creation at Starved Rock, in numerous trips to the swimming pool with my girls, in enjoying the blessing of exercise in a fresh way. Each of these ministered to my soul and body in special ways, and God’s lavish and undeserved grace in providing these gifts underscored my sense of gratitude in this season.
Let us keep healthy margins for creativity can grow. Unhurried times of prayer and meditation of God’s Word, adequate physical activity, and meaningful connections with family and friends are all essential to keep those margins clear. As August nears and summer wraps up, may we cultivate a heart of rest in the midst of the busyness of the fall so that creativity might blossom in the margins of our souls.