Inspire

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Inspiration is a funny thing. When it comes it is often brief, sporadic and all too fleeting. I have come to realize I have experienced two very different forms of inspiration: The easy form is the one that comes usually in regards to something I do — an inspired moment in designing something, the strike of a good idea that spurs you into action, the fire under your feet to create, seeing something visually which bursts forth a plethora of ideas you want to take off running with. But I feel there is a deeper level of inspiration, those moments where the inspiration comes in something I feel — where your soul is stirred, the eyes of your heart are open with sudden clarity, vitality of thought occurs with utter breakthrough of new understanding. Usually there is far more emotional pain and turmoil that supersedes the latter type of inspiration. I am beginning to seek more and more, to dig deeper beneath the do level of inspiration, to pay more attention to these moments where the bigger, life changing waves crash. Skimming through a book or blog for some visual stimulus is easy, satisfying. But taking the simple premise and applying it takes much more emotional turmoil, much more truth to approach the questions with harder answers.

What is it that inspires me? Why?
Who inspires me?
What stirs my affection… in my relationships?
For my kids? For life overall?
Are those things lasting.. or are they fleeting?

I even have a whole category on this blog entitled ‘Inspiration’, stating that it is obviously something after which I seek. To me that last clarifying question in the above list is the one major idea that demands an answer. Undoubtedly, that means more thought energy and emotional uprooting. Simultaneously, it requires more self-awareness resulting in a richer understanding of life more deeply in tune with the relationships you are surrounded with. It exposes within those relationships both the good and the ugly. For me, it has garnished a new understanding of those things which are steadfast and what it really means to love. It causes me to stop, think and act more deeply.

If I were to apply this second take on inspiration to looking deeper into the typical surface things I find inspiring and stimulating- asking myself what about those things stirs my affections and results in positive movement towards that which is lasting? asking what, when I am doing it, around it or dwelling on it creates a greater passionate hunger for my most important relationship? asking what surface things, while seemingly insignificant, can create avenues of opportunities to fully take in and enjoy that in which edify and mold me? My list today would be something along the lines of this:

1.) A hot mocha alongside a blank page in my moleskin sketchbook and a black fine-tipped pen
2.) A happenstance meeting with a friend where the typical ‘how are you’ question is answered in an honest and raw way
3.) Being given the time to step out of the normative and often distractingly busy regularity to clear my head
4.) Baking with, reading to, dancing with, playing with or otherwise spending time interacting with my girls
5.) Editing photos as a chance to sit down and reflect upon the abundance and sheer amount of grace that has been outpoured on me in this life
6.) Understanding and feeling utter freedom from my continual wrestling in past experiences and unhealed relationships which has been placed on me I have unknowingly carried for far too long, unwilling to recognize the burden and allow it to be taken from me

I also need to pay more attention to those things that rob my affections away- asking what things do I continually wrestle with, elevating to a position where it is competing with where my true affections belong? asking what things create in me an unhealthy love for things in this world? asking what robs my zeal and outpouring of deeper passions? These things, oddly tend to be rather morally neutral, things that are good things, enjoyable things, yet should not be as consuming as I allow them to be and which rob the deep qualities I truly seek away from the relationships and affections I truly value

1.) Spending too much time online seeking out mundane and unnecessary entertainment
2.) Empty conversations which reflect empty surface relationships where fear and brokenness prevent deeper understanding
3.) Being physically and mentally lazy and creating false excuses in order to remain uninspired and idle
4.) Doing busywork which accomplishes very little either pragmatically or emotionally
5.) Impatience for the outward behaviors of my children yet resisting spending the time and energy to dive deeper into the motives of their hearts because I want things to be easier and convenient for me

I would like to continually revisit this list, as no doubt it (and me) will continue to change quite a bit. I want to pay attention to life- it is far to easy to ride along on the conveyor belt of time spending the precious amount I have doing things but not being aware of the deeper aspects of what feeds my desires. I fear allowing my zeal to wane away or be killed by the tendencies I lean towards rather than fight for what really matters. I need constant reminding to seek to fill life with the things that richly stir affections and avoid, even flee, from things that steal away (yet pose as) true inspiration, clinging to the hope of dwelling deeply in the grace of now.

What inspires you?

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These flowers were a part of a beautiful and exotic bouquet sent to me for my Birthday, almost a month ago. They serve to remind me that even things that seem to be fleeting can often times end up being more lasting than expected.

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~ by gdesign on September 25, 2008.

3 Responses to “Inspire”

  1. Mark and I have often had conversations about why we are deeply inspired by simple things. Like why is it that I love sitting down with a latte and my laptop. Or why he enjoys photography or rock climbing. Or even why he is so satisfied by doing the dishes.

    Lately one of the things I feel inspired by are the quiet moments with my kids. Asher, even though he is getting so big, still has moments that he cuddles up and gets really quiet. Sometimes I realize that I stop breathing for a few a while just so I can feel him melt into me. To feel the full weight of his body still except for his breath and heartbeat. In this moment, I know my boys are at peace. Everything is right in their little world as they are snuggled up in my arms. This is deeply inspiring because I don’t live my life like that. Even though I believe God wants us to be still with him – just like a child in the arms of his mother – I am seldom so quiet and peaceful.

  2. I am not sure. I am not sure I recognize what it feels like to be inspired these days. I do love a notebook and a cappuccino. I am inspired to photograph by the sun, simply because it is a rarity here. I am inspired by colors, and often, inspired to craft when I know the result will make someone smile. But do I feel I know inspiration, or direction? Not right now. I suppose I could start wiht my list of simple small pleasures, and go from there…

  3. Great Post! You end by asking “what inspires you?” I’m almost 40 and I’m still working it out. For now, my son, my wife, my Lord fills me with inspiration–but, often I feel that isn’t enough; that those relationships are surface level…

    …the journey continues.

    Peace,

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