Feb 29, 2012

Creative Block Stinks

Below is a quote from page 165 in Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way. The chapter is about creative blocks and Julia states, "Every creative person has myriad ways to block creativity. Each of us favors one or two ways particularly toxic to us because they block us so effectively." (Yes, she did say that.)

"Blocking is essentially an issue of faith. Rather than trust our intuition, our talent, our skill, our desire, we fear where our Creator is taking us with this creativity. Rather than paint, write, dance, audition, and see where it takes us, we pick up a block. Blocked, we know who and what we are: unhappy people. Unblocked, we may be something much more threatening - happy. For most of us, happy is terrifying, unfamiliar, out of control, too risky."
This idea that we place blocks in the path of our own creativity is intriquing. My first reaction was, "that's not true!" But the more I reflect on this, I tend to agree, at least in my creative life. In a time of prayer, a visual metaphore will come to mind. I can see it clearly as a watercolor painting. It always has to do with God revealing something to me about my life or where I am with Him. I desire to get out my watercolors and try to translate the image in my mind and heart onto the paper. But often I don't get beyond the desire. Self-doubt stops me cold in my tracks. The inner-critic begins to chant in my mind, "You can't paint that. You don't know how to use watercolors correctly. You are going to make a mess of this." Yes, I'm sad to say that I let the evil one distract me and discourage me. I let him. That means I created, or allowed, the block. But why? I'll tell you why - fear.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

However, when I recall Who's on my side, I pursue (through lots of prayer). Finally, I put the paint onto the paper and I feel a sense of relief, a deep feeling of God's presense with me and even, dare I say, I feel His pleasure. I did it. I gave it my best shot. I obeyed the divine nudge in my spirit to create the image that needed to be birthed.
The next time you feel a creative block, consider its source. Then consider this truth: God is your creative source. You have the Holy Spirit. Nothing is impossible. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16.
What is your block? What keeps you from expressing and developing your creative voice, be it writing or visual arts? It's my prayer that you will acknowlege the block, then kindly chuck it out the window. Move forward with your creative endeavor, inviting Jesus into the process with you. Pay attention to divine nudges and inspiration when they come. God's presense is always with us, it's up to us to notice and savor those moments. Using our creativity is a way of expressing those sweet times.
Grace & peace on the journey ~


Danica said...

I'm all the way on the other side of the country, but I've been following this blog because it seems to be the kind of ministry I want to do in the future (though I understand that that's not for me to decide). Thank you especially for the personal aspect of this post. I am so glad that you "receive" images in prayer when God is revealing something to you! I am blessed in the same way- how cool that God turns our unique talents into his own medium of communication! I am glad to see that I am not the only one engaged in this kind of creative communication.

Deb W said...

I am unfortunately very familiar with this block. It stops me from drawing or learning to paint. It chokes my singing. It even impacts my writing. This is probably the worst since I tend to delete what I write.

Thank you for sharing this.