The Possible’s slow fuse is lit
By the Imagination.
- Emily Dickinson
There are a million and one blog posts about inspiration. It’s a trendy concept. It’s funny though how many posts fail to answer the logical next question (I almost forgot to answer it too!).
What do those things inspire you to do?
Inspiration in and of itself is…a pleasant feeling but a chocolate chip cookie is also nice and I wouldn’t call it inspiration.
(umm, except for these. They’re rightly called the Best Big, Fat Chewy Chocolate Cookies. Last night I make three dozen to take on our vacation. They just might be inspirational ).
For me inspiration is essentially synonymous with courage + creativity. It’s an abbreviated way to say that I’ve had an idea and found the strength to accomplish it. It’s a beautiful thing to be inspired.
When I’m inspired I’m challenged to think beyond the ordinary. Beyond the visible. Life is in sharper focus. I’m a better lover of God and people. It’s an emotional awakening, a re-discovered sense of significance and meaning. It’s life in crayola colors instead of black and white.
So, without further (since there’s already been much) ado, here are some sources I always find inspiration – courage and creativity – in.
If you know me at all you know I love the rain. I get excited about it in the same way children (oh, and my husband) get excited about going out for ice cream. If I had to pick between a thunderstorm and a trip for frozen yogurt I’d pick the thunderstorm. Every time.
I’m endlessly inspired by the rain.
When it’s not actually raining (which, to my great sadness, it hasn’t in dayyyss) I read quotes about the rain, look at pictures of the rain and probably bore my friends talking about the rain.
I think that whatever part of my brain is supposed to need Vitamin D was re-wired to crave Vitamin T or Vitamin R (that’s, umm, thunderstorm or raindrop respectively). It feels that indispensable to me.
I know it’s odd and I’ve tried to care but, alas, I love the rain too much. It’s cleansing, violent, alive and, for a while, knits heaven and earth together. I wrote a poem about it last year (inspired, of course, by the fact that it was raining ). You can read it here, if you like.
2) The Chronicles of Narnia
Lewis was criticized for creating a world where santa, fauns, humans and talking animals co-existed.
I love it.
Creativity challenges us to think beyond the usual. The way Lewis crafted his world inspires me to brainstorm other worlds, other stories, other ideas.
There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds – G.K. Chesterton
Sometimes I feel like Peter Pan chasing his shadow when I’m wrestling my soul into prayer. It’s easy to make brief requests but to engage in authentic, soul-cleansing prayer, that takes time and honesty.
Being still in the presence of Holiness strips us of facades. Staring honestly at ourselves is immensely humbling; yet, looking closely at ourselves in light of grace is cause for rejoicing. Seeing places of forgiveness, new life and healing in my soul inspire me to press in to Christ. They open me to receive more grace from him and pour out more of myself for other people.
4) Emotional connections
If you know me in real life you know I like the phrase “sharing life”. I use it. A lot.
It speaks of intimacy, of knowledge of each other and of companionship.
When I have a good conversation with someone I’m inspired to pray more, to serve longer, to write something true about life and God, to speak more honestly.
Sharing life gives us the right to speak hard things to each other and the courage to hear them.
What inspires you? And, perhaps more importantly, what does it inspire you to do?
When you are describing,
A shape, or sound, or tint;
Don’t state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things,
With a sort of mental squint.
- Lewis Carroll