Trust in The Creative Process with All Your Heart (especially when frustration kicks in and you feel like giving up)
She stood in the parking lot in tears.
The only thing that motivated my daughter to get her driver's license was knowing that in a few months she would be a senior in high school and that meant the opportunity to paint her senior parking spot.
Lainey sketched out her design and bought the materials. Now here we were, after hours of work and she was ready to take a paint roller to all her plans!
She had hit a snag that was throwing off the whole picture (and the picture she held onto in her head). She felt like giving up.
"Why did I choose something so hard?"
"I can't do this!"
The sun had gone down and she kept working by flashlight trying to force her original idea.
"Why don't you call it a day and sleep on it? Maybe you'll come up with another idea." I asked and encouraged.
On the way home, thankfully she had another plan. The next morning we stood in front of the spot and realized that this idea would not work either. Oh the frustration!
"Trust me, you have everything you need inside you. BUT, you're going to have to give up what you had envisioned to make room for something new to emerge. You go paint the ears and let's sit in the Silence a moment. Something will come to us."
In releasing her grasp and opening to other possibilities, a new idea did emerge. And not only was it going to work, it was going to add some lighthearted humor to the parking spot, making it even better than she had originally planned. Hope resurrected.
A week later I headed to a personal silent retreat and was getting increasingly frustrated as I walked a prayer labyrinth, my own snags and stuckness on my mind. I heard my inner proclamations-- "Impossible!" "I can't do this!" "Why is life so hard sometimes?!"
A passage of Scripture I had always loved came to my mind and sounded completely naïve, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
"Sure You will," I said sarcastically and trudged on.
In midstride, I stopped and looked up, seeing the sculpture of Jesus on the cross in the monastery cemetery. I silently pleaded, "How did You do it?" as I considered how his path led straight to the cross.
Continuing to walk I thought of my words to my daughter, "Trust me, you have everything you need inside you. BUT, you're going to have to give up what you had envisioned to make room for something new to emerge..."
Just then a rephrasing of Proverbs 3:5-6 flowed into me:
Trust in The Creative Process
with all your heart
and lean not on your own expectation
or image of the ideal.
In all your ways allow and accept
The Creative Process and
your next step will be
No circumstance had changed, but my way of seeing sure had! Even seeing God not only as Creator but The Creative Process offered a needed depth. It became clear that through the process of walking the prayer labyrinth, The Creative Process had walked me right into the middle of the Wisdom Pattern!
I could now see that I was in the fire of the crucible, the dissolution of the caterpillar in the chrysalis. It was a place I could not force anything to change faster and trying harder would simply lead to more frustration. Instead I was being invited to let my expectations burn and my images of the ideal break apart.
In this place I was being asked, "Will you trust in The Creative Process with all your heart?"
Kasey is a scarf, ball and club juggling spiritual director just outside of Nashville, TN. Play helps her Type-A, Enneagram 1 personality relax, creating space for poetry and other words to emerge. She also likes playing with theological ideas like perichoresis, and all the ways we're invited into this Triune dance.