This morning part of my scripture reading was Psalm 121 which , in The Voice translation I am currently using reads:
I look up at the vast size of the mountains
from where will my help come in times of trouble?
The Eternal Creator of heaven and earth and these mountains
will send the help I need.
As I sat here looking at the mountain outside my window (not as clear today as in this photo), the question that revolved in my mind as I meditated on this was not so much Where does my help come from? but rather Where does my inspiration come from? It is a question I often get asked, and I thought it was time to share some of what motivates and inspires me.
Of course it is not an easy question to answer. In a nutshell, my inspiration comes from an integration of contemplative practices with my observations of life and creation. Often when I sit quietly in the presence of God aware of each life giving breath and of each loving heartbeat, listening to the quiet whispers of the eternal One’s voice, I sense the energy of God surging through me. Busyness, tiredness, anxiety and just plain distractedness all quench that.
But there is more to inspiration than sitting quietly in the presence of God, though my doing so has encouraged me to look at the world in a different way that often inspires my imagination and creativity. It has taught me to listen to all the voices through which God speaks to me – the voices of those who talk to me each day; the voices of those around me who suffer and struggle; the voice of creation groaning and polluted, longing for the fulfillment of God’s redemptive promises for all creation. I am, as most of you know, constantly inspired by God’s presence in the garden and in the beauty of creation around me. I am particularly inspired by the art of Andy Goldsworthy who only uses what nature offers him in his art. I think that you too will be inspired by watching this video of his work.
My inspiration comes too through the delightful freedom from thinking I need to understand everything. Acknowledging my inadequacies and looking to others and to God for help when I don’t know what to do is a liberating and creative experience. I am learning to appreciate the creative power of criticism, not allowing it to pull me down, but grabbing hold of it as a way to reshape who I am and what I do to be more focused on God’s kingdom purposes.
What I realize more and more is that I need to make space and take time to listen to these voices. I am reminded of Richard Foster’s comment Busyness is not of the devil, busyness is the devil. Busyness strips all of us of the ability to listen carefully to God, to others and to the voices of creation. Busyness strips us of our ability to be inspired with new possibilities for grown and development in our faith.
So what inspires you today and how do you find the space and time to develop that inspiration?