What have I gotten myself into? About a month back I received an invitation to an event for Cincinnati creatives. My first reaction…well I don’t know how these people got my name but I’m certainly NOT one of those people. Me…a creative? No way. I didn’t delete the email, but I didn’t immediately clear my social calendar either. A few days later I found myself re-reading the invitation, slightly intrigued, but still certain that I had mistakenly received this invite. I researched the host group, an amazing group of people out of Chicago called STORY, and became even more intrigued – and more convinced that I would not be going. The whole thing worked in my brain for a few days and I mentioned the event to Brian. His automatic response was “Well, you’re going, right?” For a week he asked me – often – if I had registered yet. I finally caved and registered. Waves of doubts and fears instantly rushed over me. What does one do at a creative meet-up? Have I ever been to a social mixer? I’m not a creative, I’m just a middle-aged school teacher who writes songs and sings. And then I made the mistake of looking at the list of the “others” who had registered for this event. Oh wow…more waves. More anxiety about walking into a luncheon by myself and feeling insecure about why I’m even there.
I truly believe timing is everything. My teaching pastor, Joe Boyd, recently tweeted about a book by one of his close friend, Todd Henry, called The Accidental Creative. (I have mentioned this book in another posting). Intrigued even more after seeing Joe interview Todd about creativity, I began reading the book. Here’s why I’m going to walk into my meet-up, mixer, luncheon tomorrow like I belong…I do belong! I AM one of those creative types. I am a songwriter, a singer, a writer, a blogger. My thoughts and ideas and creations were put in me by the ultimate creator. I have just as much right to be there as anyone else on the guest list. I may not have a big title, or run my own business, or any of that, but I do create and I do have a lot to share with the world. I am still nervous about going tomorrow – what will I wear, where will I sit, will anyone talk to me – kind of first day of school stuff – but I am more excited about the opportunity to learn more about myself and others at this event. I am ready to meet up with more people like me – the creative type!
When Brian and I first formed Faith Passage and began playing music and singing, I told him very clearly that I was NOT a creative person, and that there was no way I could write songs. We then proceeded to write 15 or so songs over the next 6 months – and all the while I insisted that I still wasn’t a songwriter, nor was I one of “those people” – the creative type. Recently we took a little break and attempted to re-group and write again. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to writing. I often ask questions of myself like “what if this isn’t good enough” or “what if this is sounds stupid.” This self-doubt is enough to make a songwriter just hang it up. At times I am intimidated by Brian’s amazing skill and creativity. He is a truly gifted guitarist and is constantly honing his craft and pushing himself to be better. He always reassures me and helps me to believe in my writing and singing…but there is always a hint of self-doubt that I allow to creep in. Recently, Joe Boyd, teaching pastor at Vineyard Cincinnati, tweeted about a new book by his good friend Todd Henry called “The Accidental Creative.” I began following Todd Henry on Twitter and have kept up with all of the buzz that has been surrounding this book. This morning, Todd Henry was at church talking with Joe (and to all of us) about the subject of creativity and how each of us has this creative side to us. He explained creativity in a way that I had never thought of it myself. We are all creative in so many different ways…and we are all made in the image of God – and we should act on the things – those creative things – that God has put on our hearts. (Obviously Todd put it much more eloquently than I am able to do here). The thing that stuck with me the most was the concept of “dying empty.” If we fail to act on those creative things that God has put on our hearts, they are no good after we are gone. We should do what we can while we are alive to explore those things and to express them – to empty ourselves of them. We left church and went directly to Barnes and Noble to buy “The Accidental Creative” and I can’t wait to read it. This evening, Brian and I wrote our latest song together…one that has been in the works for months but has never really gelled until tonight. I believe that this was the first time in our creative process that I was able to let go of my fears and anxiety as we created and just let it happen. I am so grateful from all of the influences in my life – to those who believe in me more than I do, who inspire with ideas, who listen and give feedback, and especially to those who take the time to be creative themselves.