“We’ll do it tomorrow.”

Not what I’m used to hearing, or rather doing. This Psalm 23 thing has been a huge learning curve for me. Especially the “he makes me lie down” part. To put this in perspective, I’m a really creative person. I’ll probably blog about that soon. It’s a God-given gift, and using it well actually energizes me. The biggest problem with my creativity, though, is that I have more ideas than I can flesh out.

If I were to quit my job and just write, for example (which I won’t, it’s not my calling), I could easily fill 5 years with all the ideas I have jumping around in my brain: children’s picture books, a handful of novels, a couple of board games, a series of Jesus sketches, maybe a non-fiction title or two. And that’s just the “if I could stop the world” stuff. For church, I’ve got a video series I want to create, I just re-wrote our baptism/membership class, I created a follow through booklet for the Psalm 23 series I’m preaching, I want to re-write some prayer ministry material, and that’s just for starters. Oh, and I blog regularly.

This fall, my creativity (or my indulgence of it) nearly killed me. Burnt me out. That’s something us creative types don’t often think about—what indulgence looks like creatively speaking. For me, it meant letting my passion for creating overshadow my passion for obeying God. Jesus said “my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). My food had become indulging my creativity for all the things that could help build God’s kingdom. What I forgot to do was ask Jesus what he wanted done and when. I assumed that if it was on my heart, it was on his, and for this season. I was wrong. Who knew that creativity could be a kind of drug if it wasn’t put in its proper place?

Even creativity must be in service to our Lord, set as his feet fresh each morning. So yesterday, I finished a big project and prepared to launch another one… until God whispered something along the lines of “We’ll do it tomorrow.” It felt strange to stop the creative flow when I still had energy for it. I think that’s because creativity is so elusive. Like a tempermental tap you can’t control. So when it flows, you goes. That was my philosophy, until just recently.

Yesterday God said no. He made me lie down. And while it wasn’t normal for me, I obeyed. And he was right. He’s always right.

I’ve often asked God why he gives me more ideas than I can handle. I think I know why, finally: Because it forces me to depend on Him, to watch for his cues. It’s like a forbidden tree in the middle of my garden. 95% of the time, it’s all good. But that 5% can kill me, and I have to be vigilant. Hmmmm….. kinda like the fruit among the thorns…