As an artist, one of my fears is running out of things to say. Whenever I write a song, I ask God, “How many more will You give me?” I worry that one day I will find my well of creativity completely dry. Then what? An artist with no creativity is a scary prospect.
As of late, blogging has been an uninspired area in my life. It’s the thing I put off the most. Why? I could say that I’m not a writer, but deep down, I know that’s not true. I could shame myself and say that I’m just lazy and need to power through, which is my usual route. So I type a bunch of words, content with having produced something. Sadly, I read it over, and I see no life in what I’ve written.
To be completely honest, my creative bucket is, indeed, empty. Not because God has forsaken me, or because I’m a hack with no talent.
I am dry because I haven’t let my well be filled.
My tendency is to take every drop of creative insight I receive and immediately produce something. Rather than drink deep and let the water nourish the soil of my heart, I immediately pour the water out onto the ground, hoping to produce a garden in others, while neglecting my own.
This leads me to consider that God is more interested in gardening than manufacturing. Having worked in a factory two and a half years, I know that in manufacturing, quantity is king. You pump out as much product as quickly as possible in order to be sold for immediate consumption.
We’ve seen this production value take shape all across our culture. We see it in record labels and book publishing, fast food and television programming. But what happens when quantity is king? The art suffers.
Gardening, on the other hand, takes time, intentional cultivation, and consistent watering. The result is a healthy plant that bears life-giving fruit. While the results aren’t instant, they are genuine.
The same is true of our art. The seeds of creativity must grow in the secret place of the soul and be tended to by the Good Gardener who provides Living Water.
In a culture driven by fast results and instant success, I am choosing a different path. Spiritual growth and good art come from experiencing life deeply. This takes time and intentionality. In this dry season, I am approaching my life with this new perspective. Some weeks may have more blog entries than others, but whatever I create will come from what is growing in my soul. I encourage you to do the same. — Ben