I recently willed myself into finally deep cleaning the inside of my car. This is a vulnerable thing to share. You may know I have two small children and I chauffeur them around town daily.
I don’t know if you have ever ridden in a car with little people before, but there is a chemical reaction between little people and vehicles that creates sudden spontaneous starvation within them. The very moment they hear the *click* of their seatbelt, they begin issuing the sound of their people…
“Mommy, can I have a snack”
What? You just ate (read: rejected) a four course meal, how are you hungry? You know what, it’s fine, yes, Mary Poppins has plenty of snacks in her magical vending machine purse, here you go.
Snacks are so messy. And sticky. And crumbly. And these snacks had been dwelling in my car for an embarrassingly long time. But my parents were coming to visit and I literally could not bear allowing my dad to see how far I had fallen. So I sweaticated my soul away one horribly hot afternoon and cleaned that sucker out.
Guys it was worse that I realized. I knew it was bad. But I felt undeserving of friends after cleaning it out. So that’s not really healthy.
It got me thinking about my soul, as smashed raisins and questionable fruit spreads often do.
Any time I deep clean something I’m looking extra close at the object at hand. Deeper inspection always reveals that there’s more dirt hiding there than you realized. And if you have some OCD tendencies like me, you begin violently cleaning and you get in the zone and you do not come out of the zone until you are finished 19 hours later. Because it will always take longer than you anticipated.
Lately, I’ve had some extra time on my hands, which has felt super weird, and I’ve been doing some deep cleaning in my inner world. I knew there was some stuff there I needed to unpack and examine but what I’m finding there is more than I bargained for.
But I’m not here to tell you how horrible and dirty my soul is and how depressing it was to find, upon further inspection, that it’s actually quite worse than I thought. Thank God right? What a depressing blog.
What I realized was in my 2 year quest for more space and less chaos, when I got aforementioned space, I was terrified. And then I was confused? Why is space so scary, I thought? So I procrastinated looking into my heart. God only knows what’s in there. I hesitated to attempt connecting to the stuff under the surface, the stuff that actually defines who I am. Who God made me to be.
How many of us have wished for the time to process stuff? To follow that creative unction? To sit quietly before the Lord and listen? Then, BAM. You get what you asked for. And you piddle it away scrolling through Instagram or folding laundry. Anyone? Bueller? Ok, so even if it’s just me… I’ve started asking, WHY am I putting off the things I thought I wanted? Why do I have anxiety around just starting to go there?
Here was a big part of my answer… I was scared of finally getting to open up my creativity and finding jack crap inside. I am currently working through this fear of seeing my truest self, because what if I go where I’m hoping is that well of profound deep creativity there’s just stale recycled garbage I have to deal with? What then?
That’s a buzzkill.
But knowledge is power. And self awareness is progress.
Full disclosure…This whole blogging thing is an experiment in hope. I’ve wanted to write for a long time. But then I would find myself on that precipice of my heart, totally afraid to peel back the surface and find there’s really not anything great in there after all. And anyway, life would get busy and I’d have a much more socially acceptable excuse to put it off.
There’s some good news here. And it has to do with my dirty car.
I started getting a little brave. Mostly because where I was became actually unbearable. And I peeked in. God, in his extreme kindness, made me feel safe enough to go there. And I wasn’t full on blown away with my brilliance guys. But I saw value. I saw identity. And I really just wanted to get to know myself. So I made friends with my insides and realized there was some really good stuff there. And then, upon further inspection, I saw some more good stuff in there. And I kept going, sorting through what I saw. Picking up one thing uncovered something else.
It’s why they say “creativity begets creativity.” In part because the discipline creates growth and you just get better at it. But also because the things you find, the creative stones you stop to pick up and examine, expose the earth beneath it…new earth to examine and sort through. New songs to write. New books to pen. New paintings to paint… One thing just leads to another.
But I didn’t always believe this would be the case. I didn’t really think that under one stone there would be anything WORTH examining. Much less examining and showing the rest of the world.
“Hey everyone, come check out this brown lump of dirt.”
Just go ahead, hand me all the accolades for my brilliance.
But I was looking at a very carnal, finite space contained by my own human limitations.
Creativity is endless because God is eternal. I am not bound by my humanity unless I agree with that limitation. It’s less about my storehouse for creative living, even though I have my own personal gems in there, and so do you. It’s so much more about God’s endless storehouse. When I pick up that stone and discover more underneath, it’s good. Because God is good. If I agree with my beloved position in Christ, I get to see all the treasures of God. It stands to reason that God desires to show his beauty to the world, and since he decided to do that through us, why would he limit that expression? Why would he hide it from us?
Is it possible that if I cannot access that “muse” it’s because I have not agreed with my worthiness to receive it? Have I instead agreed with the lie that I am limited, not good enough at my craft, too circumstantially hamstrung to create?
Have I become a victim of my own life?
If God is good, and good to me, and I’ll never reach the ends of my revelation of him, then there really is no justifiable reason to NOT live a life that thrives off of displaying that glory. It is my inheritance. It is my calling. It is my identity.
But if I resist this identification through questions, fear, insecurity, I disqualifiy myself to receive the free gifts of not only His creativity expressed in me, but also his very presence, all because I’m agreeing with an inferior identity.
So I don’t want to do that anymore. That’s why I’m here. Externally processing with you all, for better or worse. Making soul excavation a permanent fixture in my life. Like coffee.