I am not awesome.
It was already decided in my mind at 5:00 a.m., even before I rolled out of my super cozy bed cocoon.
I don’t feel awesome. I don’t look awesome. I don’t even want to be awesome.
I’m just tired. Indifferent. And can someone please just press the “pause button” already?
Have you ever felt this way? It’s not every day for me, but there are days sprinkled here and there in a year where I feel physically, emotionally, socially, and relationally spent. (Ahem, Christmas-time in church ministry.)
The last thing in the whole world I want to do during these moments is to be creative. The Pinterest-perfect, crafty youth leader can take a hike. The “let’s-build-something-out-of-wood-pallets pastor can give it a rest. Brainstorming buddies can get new friends. My tank is empty yo!
But I can’t just stay in bed. Not unless it’s a legitimate vacation. Because my work is more than simply getting stuff done. My work is creative so that others can receive the gift that I’ve received. It’s a life of generosity, and it doesn’t sit well with sulking and indifference. So I have to get to it. I have to start even when I don’t want to, don’t feel like it, or would rather not.
Albert Einstein, in a letter to his son, said-
“People are like bicycles. They can keep their balance only as long as they keep moving.”
I think this is the key to creativity. The key is to keep moving.
So, instead of sulking in the pain of momentary sorrows, I go to the gym. I may have only have 50 percent effort to give, but I go. I take my daughter to school. I notice how she blows a kiss to me when I drop her off. I quit lying to myself about how much I like coffee. I make a cup of hot cocoa instead. I mail a letter that needs mailing. I recycled the annoying papers on my desk. I read some Bible verses on wisdom. I pray for more of that.
Then, its 8:15 a.m. and each small act of moving forward begins to unlock the creativity that really was there when I woke up that morning. It was just piled up a little and in need of rescue.
Here are some things I do to rescue my creativity. What do you do to rescue yours?
1. Change my routine.
2. Read Scripture with an accent.
3. Be insanely curious (follow rabbit trails).
4. Turn off phone notifications.
5. Make ridiculously long lists.
6. Imagine and write down impossible things.
7. Take a creative day. Schedule it as just as important as my other meetings.
8. Read something out of my area of knowledge and expertise.
9. Watch funny stuff on YouTube.
10. Listen to music that can’t be found on the radio.
11. Read biographies.
12. Play kids games.
13. “Veg out” for an hour getting a pedicure and watching reruns on the Game Show Network.
14. Call a friend that’s far away.
15. Pay attention and keep moving.
These are some ways, among many, that work to rescue my creativity when it’s avalanched down in crazy town. As I keep moving, creativity can be rescued. It was put in me from the very beginning by a creative God who made me (all of us) out of the same essence. Jesus said that his burden is easy and his yoke is light.
So go ahead and put that yoke upon yo-self and keep moving, knowing that a creative life is possible for you.
Thanks for being creative youth workers,
*You can get Brooklyn’s perspective as well as other women in youth ministry every Thursday when you sign up for the SYM Today Newsletter!*