I love and long for being in a creative flow.
On a good day of writing, I can get in a zone for hours immersed in my work, completely enjoying what is before me. It's a lovely state where distractions are distant and time disappears.
When I am in a creative flow, it is like scuba diving where I pop on my mask, zip up my wetsuit, fasten my tank and go to the depths for hours exploring the reefs and fascinating fish before me.
Caught in the current of flow, I see amazing colors. I appreciate beauty. I feel awe, wonder and curiosity without self-consciousness or worry or preoccupation with outcomes.
Creative flow is the peaceful state of heart, mind and body an artist enters into when they are solely focused on the work before them. For athletes, it's called the zone. Being in a creative flow or the zone, there is a perfect integration of one's whole being characterized by a profound lack of anxiety.
Creative flow is a time when that insipid Inner Critic has been bound and silenced.
It is an undeniable rhythm of pacing, progress, and momentum forward in one's craft.
Creative flow doesn't mean the work will always come easy or that it won't come without struggle.
On many days, my writing feels like hand-to-hand combat. A fist fight to find flow. To speak of scuba again, on those difficult writing days, there are no rainbow fishies. Right now, I am 275 pages into the first draft of my novel and I swear there is blood on many of those pages.
My target goal is 400 pages and I can't fool myself into thinking there will be effortless flow every day. This is why, what leads me is my commitment to my craft, and not my feelings.
Too many artists give up the fight too early. Because of immaturity, myths or lies they believe, they don't understand that often the best breakthroughs come through the struggle.
It's human nature to want things to come easy without struggle or pain, but life simply does not work like that.
However, I will take all the creative flow I can get. The secret too many artists miss out on is understanding the source of true creative flow. So let me ask you...
What is the source of your creative flow?
This is a key question we explore with artists at The Grove.
We believe that true, divine creative flow begins with the heart, which is why I love this verse...
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)
One of the most incredible compliments God ever gave men and women was to create them in His own image. As the Imago Dei of a loving Father, we create to reflect His beauty, His glory and His creativity to make this world a more beautiful place.
And in the process, we get to have fun and enjoy the creative gifts we've received trusting that we will create high-quality artistic fruit to share with others.
As artists, we are simply cultivating the creative garden God has put before us.
When we look at creative flow as the supernatural outcome of the Spirit of God creating with and through us, then creative flow and creativity takes on a new perspective.
We are not the source of the creative flow we find ourselves in, but rather all the creative resources of God overflows from His heart to ours. This is the natural state of staying in intimate relationship with Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
Our art is a work of love from the heart of God to us to others. That is flow...
It's the abiding life of the vine Jesus spoke of in John 15.
There's so much more I could say about this, but for now, I'd like to share a beautiful prayer written by my good friend Alan Fadling in his new book, An Unhurried Leader: The Lasting Fruit of Daily Influence. It's a great book and if you want to create lasting fruit in your art and life, I highly recommend you pick up a copy.
Alan and I share a mutual passion for seeing artists and leaders of all kinds live in a constant creative flow that comes from abiding and resting in the love of God.
I hope this prayer inspires you to find God as the true source of creative flow for your heart, your art and your life today.
Jesus, I desire that the holy passion in my heart and at my core, where you’ve made yourself at home, would find a point of outward flow. I long for those rivers of your Spirit’s living water—sourced in those places of trustful abiding—to pour out of me. Open a way for such a flow. I do acknowledge ways in which I have willfully blocked that flow. Reveal to me ways I have unwillingly blocked that flow. And change me so I no longer block the flow intentionally and unintentionally. I ask, Lord, that from this day forward my life and leadership will be fruitful. Apart from you, that cannot happen, but I am blessed to not be apart from you. The temple of your presence within me is real; the river of your life flowing from me is real. Thank you—and use me for the good of your people and your great glory. Amen.
I'd love to hear your comments below...a few questions to consider...
In your art, what helps you get in a creative flow?
How does looking to God as the source of all life and creativity influence your art?
How does abiding and resting in Christ lead to greater creative flow in your life?
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