Creative longing and its impediments

 Each day I feel the pull of desires unfilled. A sense of not reaching potential. I have the clamor of a thousand blogs posts coaching me on how to better myself in 31 days or 20 or however long until the writer ran out of inspiration.

'A good mom wakes earlier than her children so she can run, pray, read the Bible, and look pretty for her husband.'

The messages add to dizzying noise inside that keeps me from seeing life and myself as it authentically is. It is a form of procrastination, to check in to the electronic world, just to see; just enough to internalize the sense that who I am and what I do is not good enough.

I know this, and have known it, and yet I can't seem to stop checking in.

 The moms who go, go, go and demonstrate their godliness through their productivity, and how closely their lives mirror the iconic Proverbs 31 woman - I don't understand them, nor does it seem they understand me.

The perky P31 lady with an iphone in one hand, Starbucks in the other, thumbing through the twitter feed and marketing the latest ebook or life coaching program, she is everywhere, and what does that mean if I don't look like that?

I have to drink life in during the lulls, the idleness that is imperative to my spirit. God made me a ponderer, I am slow to speak. I need to sit with something for a long time to determine its value or place in my life. Though I almost always feel joy deeply inside, it doesn't always show in my words or on my face. I am, at times, crippled by lethargy or blues, but working through whatever darkness comes helps me see how immeasurably beautiful the light is. And I have desires to express that, somehow.

We are continually reminded to overcome our flesh. We internalize that nothing good can come from there. A creative impulse must be disregarded for more practical things. And moms, this means that your dishes are a holier work than finding release for or developing that impulse. Mothers are to serve, and your servant-hood is done with an apron and broom, not a brush or pencil.

So, we settle and let it out in measured doses - only if it explicitly edifies. Only if it blatantly points to Jesus. Only if it blesses someone in a domestic way. And so Christian moms are left with trite and predictable sermonizing.

Or we rope our creativity into something marketable: if we are to use our precious time on it, it must bring income. Never mind that many of the greatest artistic contributions to our culture have come from those who saw little to no glory for their achievements and only poverty and struggle during their lifetimes.

Re-tweet, regurgitate, share - everyone else's opinions. Is this why there is very little great Christian art anymore? 'Art is truth' you say. 'And what could be more true than the Word of God?' So we emblazon everything with scripture. The Word marketed as a mere slogan.

But all that I'm saying plays perfectly into the ping-pong game mothers have with desire and guilt.

We have dreams, no denying that, but what kind are we allowed to have? How much or how little are we to indulge them? It's a good question. Personally, I struggle not with lofty or ambitious goals but with giving myself the permission to be myself - the one who stares at the trees and turns things over and over, and scrawls into notebooks. The one who scrolls past the sermonettes in blog feeds and rebelliously needs to read the Word on her own. Who reads all the books trying to hone skills and find outlets for it, all while defeated by procrastination and the irresistable urge to take a nap.

How can we be okay with self, when we are supposed to deny self?

I don't know. You may already have a simple and theologically appropriate answer for that one, but I'm still turning it over. It may take me a while to figure it out.

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