Creative noise, priorities, and unexpected God things.


Sigh. So God has been doing a lot of interesting things in my life lately. Did I tell you I went on vacation for two weeks? It was an international trip, and I was loathe to lose my laptop in airport security somehow, so I left it behind. Being so detached from the internet and media and all my creative outlets really made me aware of how peaceful it was to be without those things.

Coming back made me realize how noisy, how hectic, how nearly frantic my mind had become.

A long time ago God really began to speak to me about creativity, how He gives us natural talents, and that honing them honors Him; that He is very much a creator and that our creativity reflects and glorifies Him. I loved that as a writer, I could do what I did, and worship God with my talents in that way. But I always longed to honor Him in a more direct way with my creativity. I never felt like I knew what that outlet was. I just knew I was looking for it.

But back to creativity honoring God. Since I always felt that, I always believed, too, that creativity came from God. Certainly, you could say con men are creative, and so are spouses who cheat on one another, and so are manipulators and liars who never get caught. The Bible talks about how humanity has an enemy who will do anything to take the things God created for good and pervert them to the bad. But that God is constantly reclaiming what the devil has stolen and redeeming what the devil has destroyed.

So I knew that, too.

Fast forward. For a while now, I’ve sensed God trying to teach me a tricky concept. It goes something like this: the gift of creativity is from God, but creativity can become a distraction, a noisiness, if you let it.

My life has been noisy. Too noisy. I was staying up late, writing. My mind was churning out video ideas endlessly, and it was distressing, to wade through every one. Every problem or thought or interesting thing I saw instantly became, in my  head, an idea, that I had to either create or feel regretful about losing.

Coming home after vacation, for a few brief days, I hated the thought of getting on my laptop. I knew if I got on that the fuzziness would fill my mind again. It was never satisfying, to pore through Youtube videos and Pinterest boards, not the kind of deep satisfaction that lasts through a night and a day. I was sick of it.

So, you guys, I’ve been taking a step back. God is clearly doing something here. My priorities have been shifting. On one hand, I know God is prodding me to cut out the creative noise that has been distracting me from Him, and on the other hand, I see him maturing my creative skills, so that when it comes time to get a job in my field of education — and that time is coming very soon — I’ll be ready to handle it.

Even my writing, which for years has been a mainstay, I sense God shifting about, pushing out here, pulling back there, changing priorities for whatever move He has in mind next. For now, I am taking a break from the world of YA. Not from SHUTTERBUG — I haven’t sensed God asking me to do that. But the networking, the discussions on whitewashing and grittiness and which debut author is getting all the publicity at the moment? That, I’m taking a break from. And if I’m being honest, it’s a big relief. It feels like I know the industry inside and out, and I don’t always agree with its values.

Anyway, I’m rambling. Let me share this quote by the amazing C.S. Lewis. (Chronicles of Narnia, remember?)

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to?

The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Oh, you guys. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I knew the shape of the house God was building, only to find myself scraped down to the foundation and rebuilt from scratch. It is a bewildering process at times. And then I remind myself that God did create us and sacrifice so much to be in relationship with us just so that we could have a quiet, happy little life. He calls us to a radical life full of battles and victories and purpose.

* * *

So all this is happening — and then I look back on my previous announcement, made only a month ago, about challenging myself to creating more multimedia and to focusing on creativity on Saturdays. Guys? That might have to change. I don’t know if it will get scrapped. I don’t know if it will simply shift gears to fit whatever God is doing in my life right now. But I took a step of faith, making that post, and now God is taking that step and using it to take me in a new direction.

(Let me just say how much I HATE it when I announce something on the blog, and then turn right around and change it. Blogging makes you feel like the biggest flake sometimes, because everything you say takes on a whole new weight. Everything is heavy with accountability. But God is doing an unexpected God thing, and that post simply doesn’t line up with it. So. Change the plans shall.)

That’s really all I have to say. Perhaps that is a lot more of hearing me talk about God than you guys are used to. And perhaps you’re rolling your eyes at the irony of my announcement/taking-back-my-announcement announcement. Or maybe you’re used to it.
God does unexpected things. Scary as they are…they’re also exciting.

And that, finally, is where I want to leave things. What will happen next around here? I don’t know. I’m hopeful…I’m excited to find out.

Yours truly,
-Creative A


Winter is Coming

Going for a walk in the cool, the wild
River a crisp, laughing child
Trees weeping golden tears
They see this coming every year

Winter is coming, but
Fall is here

Cold as the bone of a castle’s keep
Down in the dark, where the flowers sleep
And further still, the earth twists round
Fall bites her lip. Her limbs are bound.

Don’t weep. Don’t weep. Time will keep
You nestled in her heart.

The moon exhales, softly, ah
As snow drifts down from the prickling stars
Even now, it’s drawing near.
Winter is coming–
It’s almost here–

How easily deer startle at the sound
Of winter, choking the river down
And Fall, dear Fall, how silently
She acquiesced the battleground

I feel this keenly; the setting sun
The wood is hollow
Winter has come.


© Amanda Smith, 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Please do not copy or reproduce without permission.