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The Creative and their Muse

Ever spent the days wondering what the heck you’re supposed to do with your life? Ever felt the tension between conflicting passions which all beckon for your attention… but time is limited? Ever wish life was simpler? That you’d be able to say “no” to the things that distract you from your true passions???

Or better yet, I wonder how many of us could answer this question quickly and honestly with one word?…. What is your life’s one true Muse?

The term “Muse” can be traced back to ancient Greek mythological writings (fun reading here), personified as the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne and the inspiration for the arts. However, today the term “Muse” can be simply defined as “Inspiration” or “the thing(s) that motivate” your creativity.

If you answered “yes” to any one of these questions in my opening paragraph, then you’re not alone! These are questions every one of us 7,098,364,800 (accurate as of 3:19pm EST on 7/15/13. Thank you – http://www.census.gov/popclock/) have to wrestle with throughout our lives. For the lucky ones, they’re able to find their Muse early on in life and spend their days chasing, honing and refining their creative talents and enamor the world with their creation(s). For the rest of us, we’re left wanting.

So how do we recognize and find the thing that drives us? How do we find our Muse? What has God created me to do??

Jody (my wife) and I were discussing this on a recent drive to Nashville, TN. I’d just finished reading the book The War of Art – by Stephen Pressfield and it had rocked my world. For many years I have wrestled with my calling and trying to figure out what to do with my life. I’ve always loved doing many things… some I’m really good at – some I work hard at. But nonetheless, I’ve always felt that my time and energy are constantly at war from my various passions (music, art, ministry, performing, speaking, traveling and business). The book challenged me to look inside myself and find the common thread that all these passions have woven together.

It was a fun drive to TN as Jody and I laughed and had “ah-ha” moments searching for this thread in each of our lives. It was a trip of discovery and a sense of real freedom came as we were able to name, in one word, our life’s Muse.

For Jody, we looked at everything she loves to do, things that give her energy, the activities that she can engage in and totally lose track of time. This list included  things like; fixing up the house, restoring old furniture, making clothes, crafts, spending time with people, helping others, talking, keeping memorabilia… We noticed a common theme was the word “RESTORE”. Jody more than anything loved seeing old, broken and worn-out things, restored and given new life. She loves the process of restoration, whether it be helping people through their problems, or giving new life to a dingy room in our old fixer-upper house. Jody’s muse is the word “RESTORE” – God had woven this into her life and it was everywhere, evident to others, but until now remained nameless.

For me, we did the same exercise, my list included; Songwriting, music, travel, people, art in all forms, business, entrepreneurship, finding solutions to problems, dreaming, missions… the common theme we noticed on that car trip can be defined as the word CREATE. I love the create, the dreaming of ideas and seeing them come alive. Whether it be a song, an artwork, a business, a solution to a problem. When I travel I’m in awe of cultures, their beauty, creativity and uniqueness inspires me. What feeds me is the creative process itself … ideation, the struggle of building and the joy of completion. I love seeing people come alive as they find their ministry calling, then released into all that God has made them to me. When I start things, I finish them, and I take pride when its done and I can look back and say I gave it my all. My word was CREATE.

Understanding our Muse(s) has helped Jody and I rearrange our priorities in life. Jody is looking at going back to school and study to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. And me…. we’ll, I’m glad God has put me smack dab in the middle of my passion and calling. As a worship pastor, I get to create everyday, write music, play with awesome musicians, dream great ideas, mentor and train others while engaging in missions all around the world. God his indeed good :)

What is your Muse?

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