Politely Extending Your Middle Finger

by MitchellRichards

As you may have noticed, or maybe not, I have not been writing as much lately for one specific reason.  No, I am not burned out; no I am not too busy.  The reason I have not been writing is because I just wanted to see what it would do to me.  I wanted to see what the effects of not writing and writing are.  I wrote almost everyday for about a month straight after the book came out, I got a new website, I devoted almost every spare moment to pondering and thinking of new ideas of things to write.  I was probably the most pleasant version of me I’ve been in years.

Then, I stopped.  For about the last week and a half or so I have not written one word.  And it’s been a huge week and a half too, I ran a half marathon, went to the OKC Thunder vs. LA Lakers playoff game, had a much needed heart to heart talk with my dad, and I didn’t write a single word about it.  Even though I was doing all these fun things, I was not a very pleasant person to be around.  I noticed as a couple days went by of not writing, that I was very bitter and worn out.  I noticed I wasn’t sleeping as well at night.  I discovered that everything around me was moving a lot faster than normal.  Ideas came to a halt; creativity slowed to a standstill, and writing, although it was on purpose, got stuck in traffic.

Here’s the deal – you know what you need to do.  Find your creative medium and simply do it.  You are robbing yourself and the world if you hold your creations and store them in a closet somewhere.  Even if you don’t have an idea, write anyway.  Even if you don’t have a picture in mind, paint anyway.  Even if you don’t have time for anything other than school/work/whatever else is consuming you, create anyway.

Most of are stressed out beyond the means of what we should be.  But here is a thought:  are we stressed because we have so much going on? Or are we stressed because we are not doing what we are supposed to be doing?

Your paintings may never hang in a museum, and your words may never be printed in a magazine or book, but the act of creating will bring grace and peace into your life.  Maybe you need to bake cookies and cupcakes, maybe you need to plant a garden for the summer, maybe you need to rearrange your furniture every week, whatever it is go and do it.  The pace of life will slow down and you’ll find time to create.  You’ll sleep better and you’ll breathe easier.

Creating is something you have to do.  It is not some thing you get to do.  Yes, God has given us each a specific ability, but the beauty of it is that it can be a burden.  If you treat it like a job, much like Steven Pressfield talks about in his book The War of Art, like a plumber treats his job, you will find yourself doing it everyday, regardless if you are sick or want to sleep.  You’ll find yourself mentally treating your talents like it is something you have to do, even if you aren’t getting paid, creating is something you have to do.

I think the most beautiful path to God is a path of creativity.  It is our job to redeem the fall of man through creation.  You don’t have to write stuff about Jesus, or paint copies of the Last Supper, your creation doesn’t have to have anything to do with God, yet you will see that even thought it’s not about God, it will be.

What I have also noticed in this time of non-creating is that certain old-lovers (sins) have crept back into my life.  When I am not creating, my guards are down and I am very vulnerable.  I can’t promise you anything, but I will suggest that once you begin creating on a regular basis, these things that have been holding you back will slowly fade away because you simply don’t have time for them to hold you back.  Conquering the feeling of not wanting to create is a lot like conquering death in a way; it is natural to do nothing and it is easy to give in, but it is very difficult to politely extend your middle finger to that feeling of not wanting to, and do it regardless.

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