Are you a good listener? Listening is a skill that many of us are known for. Friends may think of you as a good listener because you silently let them talk about whatever is on their mind. You do not interrupt. You consciously take in their words, you make eye contact, occasionally you say, “Um-hmmm.”
I think of myself as a good listener up to a point. Some days I am better at it than others.
Chapter Two of The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer is not about being a good listener for our friends. It is about listening for God’s message to us. How can we possibly hear any message God is trying to give us in this incredibly noisy, hectic world? We need to give ourselves quiet time.
Janice Elsheimer suggests using an artist’s daybook as a way to open up a channel between you, the artist, and God. She also suggests memorizing scripture and looking back at your past.
Writing in your artist daybook or journal has many purposes. I try to write everyday. I look forward to that time for myself. When I do not write in my journal first thing in the morning I don’t feel quite right. It really has become a habit. I am able to use the 20 or 30 minutes of writing to get things off my chest, to gripe, to list creative ideas that are on my mind, to worry, to wish, to pray, to pray, to pray. Seems like I pray more than anything else.
I love to get my first cup of coffee and curl up on the sofa with my journal. That is unless there is a scorpion ready to whack me when I sit down like this past Monday. Ouch!
I love the quiet time to think. I like the feel of the mechanical pencil or pen in my hand. I try not to read my writing until a considerable amount of time has passed, especially if there is something I am really troubled about. When I finally do read my journals I am amazed at how God has taken care of many of my concerns.
In Chapter Two, Janice gives some guidelines for writing in your journal. The main things to remember are:
- The journal is for you.
- It is a way to connect to God.
- It is private.
- You can write about anything.
Janice states, “As you write in your daybook, pray that God will reveal himself to you through the words you write.”
Another way to hear God speak to you is through scripture. Janice gives a scripture to memorize at the beginning of each chapter. She also give pointers on how to remember the verses. I have to write the verses over and over to get them down or I have to repeat them out loud. Practicing your memorization skills is a great way to keep your mind young and in shape.
At the end of Chapter Two, Janice gives some writing exercises to help us connect with our past. By looking at our past we can better understand ourselves. We can see where we were creatively five or ten years ago versus now. In one exercise she gives partial sentences to complete such as, “If I could go back in time, I would….”
I would end that sentence like this, “I would study art in college.” I never took a high school or college art class in my life. I became interested in art after I had my degree in Biomedical Science. I have always wished that I had gotten a degree in art. I do not know how having a degree in art would help me though. In fact some people have told me it would ruin me. At my age, I do not think it would be a practical thing to pursue. The art skills I have learned have been through workshops, art classes taken from individual artists, and self study. I don’t think that a college degree in art will make me any more creative.
Let me be completely honest about looking at my past. I know that I am not painting like I used to. I have other creative outlets. I write for two blogs and I create art lessons on video. I started an online art show for homeschool students. I have a picture book for children I have been tinkering with. But I yearn to paint. I don’t paint as often because I have writing deadlines, a video to work on, etc.
So, I am having a really hard time trying to determine what the Lord has in mind for me. Does he want me to keep writing? Was that something I did without consulting him? I seem to be stuck in limbo right now. Am I trying to do too much? I keep telling myself, “I am being creative.” But I wonder if I am on the path God desires for me. I have one artist friend that tells me I need to stop all the computer work and focus on my painting. So I wait for God to give me the answer.
So, this week I will be writing and listening. I hope you will too. God has his own ways and his own time table. You might be driving down the road some morning and have an “ah-ha” moment. Funny how God does that when we least expect it. That is why it is a good idea to always be listening.
I will end this post with a short prayer:
Lord, Creator of All,
Bless all that are reading this article. Reveal your answers to our prayers as we write in our journals and memorize your word. Give us insight into our past, our hopes and longings. Guide us as we try to discover our creative call. Thank you for all the wonderful people in our lives that influence and encourage us along the way. In Christ’s Name. Amen.
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