I know better.
I even teach how to do it better – how to live a creative life that feeds on play.
Yet recently, the stresses of life gained the advantage and play disappeared. It was all I could do to get up in the morning and look at my longer-than-ever list of tasks that “must” be completed.
But even though I knew better, I continued to live in the pattern of extreme hurry-ness, checking off each task as if its completion kept my world rotating in the proper direction.
Then, just as I began to wonder how long I could keep up the pace, I crashed. I sat on my deck during a beautiful autumn afternoon and instead of enjoying the colors and feeling gratitude for the moment, I wept.
Stress tears finally broke and leaked from my soul. In that moment, I knew something had to change.
As if to confirm my self-diagnosis, that evening I tried to write.
For me, writing is the same as breathing. Words go in through the books I read and on any given day at any given moment, words expel in creative bangles that treat my soul to its beauty sound.
I write when I’m happy and I write when I’m sad. I write books and articles and character sketches and sometimes – a type of poetry that somehow morphs into prose.
But when I am too stressed, my soul replies with a sort of dis-ease and the words become blocked and lost behind a stiff wall of pain.
When I am stressed, writing becomes a chore and everything else revolves around its unhappiness and the unsettling of soul regret.
Worse, when I cannot write because of stress, I feel bereft of the gift God gave me for creativity and connection with Him. Typing the words He whispers brings a sort of completion of the gift – His breath in me, His words coming from me, then His words back within me.
When I write, I feel Him smile. The joy of the Creator resides in my soul, cached in that holy of holies within.
When I cannot write from stress, that block keeps joy from bubbling to the surface and instead becomes a tentacle of aloofness. I cannot feel God. I cannot breathe.
So how do I fight against the stresses that tempt me to self-destruct?
First, I say, “No.” When someone asks me to do another task that steals my joy – I say, “No.” I set the boundaries that protect my soul and keep that God-given creativity fresh and alive.
Second, I find ways to play. The best remedy for stress is play. So I sit at the piano and make up a new tune. I pull out my wonderful box of 64 crayons and fill in the lines in my coloring book. Who cares if the frog is purple? No one grades my coloring.
I take long walks and this time of year, search for pretty leaves to take home and plant on my sink so that I can see them as I do the dishes and remember to keep a joyful heart.
I browse through bookstores and search for other words that nurture my sentences. I read books from authors I admire and wish to emulate.
I stroll through a garden nursery and touch the flowers that God designed, marvel at all the intricate shapes and colors and remind Him how much I love Him.
Then I go home and defy the stress to leave me alone as I sit down once again and search for my creative source.
Once defeated, stress has a harder time finding me. I am camouflaged within hope and joy, able to find peace again and offer my treasure back to God.
Then my writing becomes worship, and my work reflects joy.
©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1
Encouraging words as I prepare for the coming holiday season and all the stress that comes packaged with it. Camoflaged in hope and peace – great encouragement. Thanks!
Maybe especially during the holidays, we need to find our place of peace so that we can celebrate with joy.