Choose Creativity

I have always been an “I do it myself” kind of girl (Lucy comes by it honestly). My parents tell stories of 3 year old me, declaring that I could do everything myself. I’m proud of my independence and gift of speaking my truth. However, on the flip side, I’m also a highly sensitive person that gets so anxious about pleasing others. I replay conversations with friends and strangers for days wondering if I misspoke or said something wrong. I hate disappointing people, especially my people. This dichotomy of emotions tugs at my heart and often leaves me in panic mode trying to figure out which side will win. Will I be strong and brave today, or weak and anxious? On my bad days, in order to fight against this feeling of panic, I try to control everything. I try to control what my kids wear, and eat, and say. If they look all pretty and perfect, then maybe I wont be anxious. I try to control the interactions I have throughout the day by attempting to be the perfect friend, wife, mother, daughter. I even try to blame my anxiety on my people – If I can do it all just right, then nobody can be displeased with me, they will say all the “right” things, and I can be both brave and overcome my anxiety. If everyone around me is happy because I made them that way, all will be well. 

Turns out this is not a good strategy for life. 

It’s actually really hard and exhausting trying to control everyone else’s emotions. Who knew? 

In the church world, I have been taught that I just need to “give it all to God.” “Let go of all of my worries and just let God take over.” And while I understand the sentiment here, I dont necessarily agree. My kids have this excellent Children’s book Ruby Has a Worry. In it, Ruby finds out that the only way to make her worry smaller is to share it and talk about it with others. I truly believe that sharing and speaking our worries to God is a beautiful start. We should lay them at the feet of Jesus. I believe that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. As an anxious person this is a wonderful declaration. But does laying my burdens down, mean that I then turn and run? God is a good Father/Mother and good parents listen to their children as they pour out their worries and fears. Good parents listen, encourage, and walk with you through them. They don’t, however, take the wheel and try to fix everything and control their children’s lives, right?  I believe that the answer is not in the laying of the burdens, but in what we do once we have laid them down. I don’t follow a God that treats me as a pawn or a puppet. I follow a creator, an artist, that asks me to come paint alongside them. We create together. Thats the beauty of who God is. He isn’t an ATM or a driveby wishing well. He is an artist that wants to paint a beautiful picture, a beautiful life with us. Emmanuel is God with us, not God in place of us.

Amos 4:13 – 

“He is here. 

The one who forms the mountains,

creates the wind,

and reveals his thoughts to [humankind],

the one who makes the dawn into darkness

and strides on the heights of the earth.

The Lord, the God of Angle Armies, is his name.”

He is with us. The God that created the wind is a present God that wants to carve and sculpt with me . The God who formed the mountains is still waiting to write a beautiful story with ME. The God who makes the dawn into darkness and that darkness back into light, He wants to shape and create a life with me. The art that our creator inspires is not just paintings and manuscripts. He wants to create a life worth living, a life full of wonder and magic and joy.

The hard part is that we wont be able to see the beauty or hear him whisper alongside us unless we let go of the control. But remember, don’t let go just so that He can control everything. He is here with us, not to control us or to control our world. But he is here waiting for us to stop listening to what the world wants of us and to start creating. He is a creator. God is an artist. I am convinced that the opposite of control is not apathy. The opposite of controlling everything around me is not that I just don’t care anymore. The opposite of control is creativity. I have to let the creator of the universe,  reveal himself to me. That is impossible if I am constantly trying to do everything and be everywhere and please everyone. I am missing the creativity. I am missing the beauty. 

To find that beauty, in order to actually be creative, I have to make space for that. Just as God spoke the world into being out of nothing, creativity can only come from nothing. I have to make space to listen. To see what God is up to and to join him in that. It is not my job to be everything to everyone or even to produce the most perfect and beautiful art. I just need to listen to where God is and join in. That is where art begins.

I want to create a beautiful life. Not a controlled one. It wont be a perfect life. It may still be full of hardship and heartbreak, but it will be beautiful.


Today on Easter after reflecting on a full season of Lent – a season of waiting and remembering and expecting the Glory of the Lord. After a season of wondering and not knowing. A season of doubt and questioning. Lent ends with not just an immediate day full of joy but that long season is followed by instead a day like Good Friday – full of pain and grief and confusion. Easter Sunday becomes fuller and richer when viewed in full and not just as a stand alone holiday. If you only look at Easter Sunday on it’s own, it is a wonderful day to celebrate – “Jesus has risen!” It’s unbelievable news. Jesus is Lord and Savior and full of Glory and holds the victory. Death has been defeated. Kids are full of excitement with treats and egg hunts and beautiful pastel colors. Easter is a season of things being born as spring comes to life. The tomb is empty. Jesus is the King. 

And today is all of those wonderful, beautiful things. But the waiting and the pain and grief still happened and they don’t just disappear. 

As I read the different Gospels this morning accounting that scene of Easter morning, they all say that the empty tomb was met with both fear and joy. In Mark it says Mary Magdelene and Mary the Mother of Jesus ran from the tomb because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. They were overwhelmed by two very different and deep emotions. There is space this morning for all of the emotions. Sometimes it takes joy and redemption a little while to sink in and even so let us never forget the pain of the cross. The joy of the empty tomb has to sit alongside the pain. It doesnt replace it. This both/and is how Jesus calls us to live. That space in between – it is filled with hope. Hopeful expectation that even though death is real, Jesus is more powerful than death. In order to really feel the depth of that promise, we must look death in the eyes. In order to fully experience the beauty of redemption, we must remember that there are things that need to be redeemed. In order to embrace the empty tomb, we must also fully grasp that the tomb exists. 

And at the same time, If all you have felt in a while is the excruciating pain of failure, rejection, imperfection, anxiety, or death. If those feelings and states of being have consumed and overwhelmed you, let today be a reminder that even though those feelings are seen and real, even thought the tomb exists, we also need to make room for astonishment. Remember that redemption is also just as real and true. His mercies are new every morning. I have started waking up each morning by writing at least one thing that I am thankful for. Some mornings that is easy and I can fill up a page. Other days when I’m tired and full of fear and anxiety, it forces me to step outside of that fear into the love and truth that brought Jesus out of the tomb. 

Gentle hope says all of that pain and grief and death will be remembered. But thats not the end. Let hope creep into that space today and just maybe let it burst forth. Dont let the fear of pain keep you from experiencing the wonder and excitement of a Savior that promises redemption. And at the same time dont get so consumed by the passionate glory that you forget the cross. Today brings them all together. Today love is shown to be real and victorious in death and in life. 

Good Friday

Today marks “Good Friday” on the liturgical calendar. It is known as the day that Jesus died on the cross. My kids refer to it as Jesus’ sacrifice. He bore the sins of everyone. He was tortured and died a brutal and humiliating and lonely death. The thing I appreciate about Good Friday beyond the fact that the curtain was torn. Beyond the fact that today opens up an avenue of prayer and presence to the Father. Beyond the fact that today had to happen so that the resurrection could begin. Beyond the fact that Jesus was without sin and chose to die so that we may live. To me the reason I have been drawn to Good Friday is that for today, we get to sit in lament. Lament is a beautiful spiritual practice. This weekend, we should remember that Sunday is coming and Jesus will be raised from the dead and redemption will win. We should celebrate and shout Hallelujah, but I urge you to wait. Let yourself sit in the anguish of Good Friday. Let yourself see the pain, feel the discomfort, listen to the despair. So many of us are hurting right now. So many of us have experienced death. For many that does look like physical death of someone you love or a diagnosis making death feel all too close. But I’m not just talking about physical death. Death or a season of deep hurt and pain often feels like the death of a life that was meant to be. Death of a plan or dream or relationship. Death can be a dream or a hope that has been left unfulfilled. And in this death, in this season of grief and sadness and anger and doubt. Today, you get to be seen. Today you sit. Let yourself lament. Let yourself cry as Jesus did on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” And don’t rush to the end. Don’t rush your loved ones or neighbors and even those that you dont understand through grief. Sit and cry today. Mourn the loss. Mourn the pain. Mourn the injustice. Let today be a reminder. Yes, it is a reminder that death comes before life. It is a reminder that Sunday is coming and that redemption WILL win. But mostly today is a reminder that anger and doubt in the midst of death and pain is normal and good. Let yourself feel these things. Today sit at the feet of Jesus and cry out alongside Him. “My God My God, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” Where are you? Are you listening?” Today is a reminder that we are seen in the death. We are not alone in the pain. Lament is beautiful thing. Let your body feel lament today. Let us not rush through Friday and miss sitting at the feet of Jesus today.