Let me start off by saying WE ALLLLLL NEED A BREAK!! We work hard!?! Between all the emails, social media updates, meetings, bills, volunteer work, family time, cooking and trying not to yell so much in traffic, life can be at best slightly overwhelming some days.
As an artist, sometimes it seems as if you can literally feel everything shift in the air as you strive towards pushing out your next creation. Long nights turn into longer weekends until its finished. However, living in a society that hasn’t always celebrated artistic living at large, it can be difficult to navigate the nuances of an artsy lifestyle.
And sometimes our navigational system leads us down paths of unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms. Picking up a glass of wine can lead to countless empty bottles, zoning out to chunks of time lost, and on it goes.
For me, it was always helping others. No…I’m not a volunteer-extremist. I never intended to push off projects as long as I did. But somewhere in the middle of working with clients and trying to maintain relationships around me, my business (my gifts, talents, calling to the world) took a major hit. I’d become obsessed with tending to the needs of others personally and professionally, and later making excuses for why “it could wait” another week. Every effort to return phone calls, attend church twice a week, lead a ministry, hang with friends and roommates, mentor, cook (I…strongly dislike cooking…and grocery shopping), workout, read the Bible…and study it…all eventually fell through. I thought that with my extensive knowledge and years of experience in time management and goal setting, I should at LEAST be able to get this under control. The breakdown of 2015 and getaway of 2017 should’ve been enough warning for me. But, like most people, I kept pushing forward...eyes wide shut.
As a believer, I whole-heartedly believe the Bible verse that says, “God will supply all your needs…”. Fortunately for me, that looked like a progressive, major breakdown. Although there are too many details to infuse in this page, a combination of that hectic schedule mentioned above combined with another round of sexual abuse support group meetings and eventually therapy lead me to pack my bags and hit the road back home to Indiana. And as it turns out, it’s what I needed. I NEEDED to get back to the core of who I was created to be. And the life I’d built up around me was okay…it just wasn’t it.
If there’s one thing I’ve come to understand about life and God, it’s that you can’t escape how you’re designed and what you’re meant to do—no matter HOW many years you attempt to do other things.
And so now…here we are. On the other side of relocation and a business re-launch.
Looking back, no one could tell me that what I was doing wasn’t healthy long-term. Because this culture thrives on “rise and grind,” busyness and other trendy phrases that encourage over-working, taking the time out to re-evaluate my schedule versus my internal wiring just wasn’t something that was a priority. Well, it was important. Just not as important as working in a position that silently drained me creatively. The work we put in at my job was impactful! Lives were being changed, our community was growing stronger…it was all noble. But subconsciously I knew. I knew I needed to leave. But after buying a new car, looking for a house, I figured I could stick it out for another year.
It wasn’t until I hit the WHOLE bottom of the barrel—bottom like couldn’t function at work because of excessive crying, struggling to pay bills and eventually moving back home—that I realized I was only functioning at 50% capacity.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s been the best thing to happen to me! Moving back around family enabled me to pick up core pieces of me that I’d dropped along the journey of adulthood. Core pieces my soul was starving for all along. Music, writing, speaking and encouraging other, styling, enjoying nature, sports…somewhere along the way, I’d only allowed people to know half of me for fear of being too much for others to handle. But like Marianne Williamson’s poem, Our Deepest Fear, says, “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same…”.
So, what is it for you?
From one artist to another, it’s critical to exam this. Are you constantly thrusting yourself into the needs of others? Maybe you’ve developed a way to manage work and family, but with help from other substances that have led to an addiction. Can you be alone with your thoughts long enough to determine what’s really going on? Is there always noise around you? What are you surrounding yourself with daily? And more importantly, how have these things impacted you creatively?
I encourage each of you to explore your organic desires, gifts and interests. How are you wired? What was the ORIGINAL intent behind your creation? Those are questions worth digging into.
And in your digging, I pray the inner artist in you begins to shine and flourish like never before!
Until next time,