I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
(Psalm 130:5, 6)
Psalm 130 is one of the songs of ascent, the pilgrimage psalms that were sung by the Israelites on their way up to Jerusalem to celebrate the great festivals. The context of this psalm is one of trouble although we don’t know exactly what it is and the verses I have quoted reveal the psalmist’s response to that trouble. His plan is to wait for God to deliver him, confident that God will do what He has promised. That waiting will not be an anxious pacing backwards and forwards, desperately trying to work it out for himself. Rather it will be that of a watchman who stands at his post and watches the horizon, looking for that first faint light that tells him that morning is coming and all is well.
What does this have to do with being creative? Well, sometimes, often perhaps, the best thing we can do is to watch and wait. Sometimes when trouble comes our way in the form of writer’s block, or self-doubt, or simply having too much on our minds, the best thing we can do is to stare into the darkness and wait for the morning.
In our plugged-in world it seems that there is so little time simply to gaze out of a window and allow our thoughts to flow freely in whatever direction the Holy Spirit would like to take them. Our prayers sound more like an anxious monologue and we forget to stop and listen for the answer. We scroll through past ideas for songs, paintings or stories in the hope that something will spark a new creative thought, but the Creator of the universe is waiting for us to stop striving and simply watch and wait for Him. I think that maybe one of the reasons why ideas often come in the middle of the night. Perhaps it’s the only time God can get our attention!
Here is what I have learned over many years of trial and error. God has all the stories, songs, creative ideas that I will ever need. My job is to simply let go of all my anxious striving and wait for Him to drop something into my spirit, but that will not happen if I don’t slow down and wait.
How about this for an idea? When you arrive home, don’t immediately switch on the TV, but sit in a chair and invite God to sit beside you and tell you what He wants you to hear. When you are on a bus or walking to the shops, leave your phone in your bag and look at the world around you and watch and wait for inspiration. When that creative deadline is looming and you feel panic rising, step aside and make room for God’s voice. Make an oasis in the middle of your world and watch and wait for the morning and know that all is well.