Inspiration Aggregation

I’m a collector. Of quotes, keychains, images, inspiration, ideas and other random things

A couple of months ago I started scheduling what I’ve termed “inspiration aggregation” I schedule an hour (sometimes more) at least twice a week to spend time browsing different websites collecting ideas and inspiration. This is only one piece of idea and inspiration aggregation in my life…if ideas and inspiration only come from a computer screen I think I’m in trouble. But, I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite sites.

dribble.com
motionserved.com
photographyserved.com
lettercult.com
visualizing.org
brainpickings.org

Your turn. What idea and inspiration goodness am I missing?

Guilty

I’ll be honest, I’m 100% guilty of too often not dying to my artistic pride. I too often sit in judgement of people I deem as not “getting it.” I can be overly critical. I can analyze and pick apart for hours on end. My friends know not to ask me to filter something unless they want an honest critique.

Now, I recognize that questioning and analyzing to some degree is a healthy practice. But, too many times I take it to an unhealthy extreme. And in doing so I think I end up doing just as much damage, if not more, to the Church as those I am criticizing for hurting the Church…or maybe just the perception of the Church in the world (that could be a whole separate post…can we really hurt the Church anyway?)

If I’ve learned anything in the last couple of years it’s that there isn’t one “right way” to do most things in the Church and corporate worship. I’ve learned that a whole lot of it is personal preference. And in the end a whole lot of it doesn’t really matter anyway. I’m learning which hills to die on…and to die in service and humility, not because of artistic pride.

So, tell me, do you often lose the battle with your artistic pride too or am I the only one?

Does the Church Need to be Creative?

I got an email from a friend the other day asking these questions:

“What does the church really need? What do people need to know in order to be creative? Do they even need to be taught to be creative?”

Hmmm. That got me thinking. That’s a tough question…”what does the church need?” I’m not sure that’s up to us to decide or figure out or know. But, let’s pretend for a minute that it is. Do they need to be taught to be creative? Do they even need to be creative? Those are questions that, honestly, I go back and forth on a lot.

Sometimes I think we put too much emphasis & pressure on “being creative” and forget that we’re called to love God and love people first and foremost. I wonder if we shifted our focus we’d find that “creativity” flows naturally.

If being “creative is what we need…and something we need to do “better”…I think we’d do ourselves a favor if we stopped trying to learn from each other so much and instead walked out of our church bubble, sat still, and observed the world. Personally, I get burned out on the topic of “creativity” – how to do it, how to do it better, what not to do, how to increase it, etc. I’m not sure that we can add to the ability to create that God has already put in each of us. Perhaps we can learn to unlock it? And maybe that’s what the church needs…to learn how to surrender fear, get over ourselves, and unlock the creativity that is in us. And I think a large part of the answer to “unlocking” is simpler than we think: stop imitating. Instead of looking to the church next door or the latest pop culture craze for creative inspiration why don’t we try reading Scripture and taking a minute to stop and look at the life and experiences God has placed us in the middle of.

And then I return to the idea that “being creative” isn’t really what the church needs in the first place.

Those are my random, in process, disjointed thoughts on those questions. I’d love to hear yours! Do you agree? Disagree? What would you add?

Your Happy Place

I discovered Pictory a few months ago and have fallen in love. I have always been fascinated by the ability an image has to ignite emotion, move people to action, and awaken a memory. I find something powerful about being able to capture a moment of life, a single memory, in a single photograph. And that one photograph can tell an entire story. So, it’s no wonder that I am inspired by a site that collects stories in photographs. The latest project the folks at Pictory have curated (yes, they use that word and I LOVE it!:)) is titled “Just Like Heaven: Our happiest places through the camera’s lens and the mind’s eye.” You can check it out here.

It got me thinking: what’s your “happy place?” Or places?

I’ll go first…these are a few of the places that make my heart smile…
Crema…hands down my favorite coffee shop in Nashville.

Any good sunset makes me stop, breathe deeply, and smile at God the artist.

There is something about a large body of water that I can’t see the other side of…the sound of crashing waves & the wind against my face…that is good for my heart.

One more, which I cannot sum up in a photograph (I’ll have to work on that) is any place where I can sit in the company of friends, engage in great conversation, and soak in life. In Nashville that seems to happen often and I hope I never take it for granted!

Your turn!

Identity Crisis

A brief glance through 140 character twitter bios quickly results in a long list of titles we use to identify ourselves. I won’t call anyone out by making a list, but it makes me wonder where we root our identity as individuals. I don’t think artists are the only ones who have a tendency to draw their identity from what they create…from their work…from what they do. In fact I would argue that most of those titles in social media bios describe what we do more than who we are. I can’t help but wonder if it’s because we root our identities in what we do.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of this. I’ve spent my entire life unknowingly (or at least refusing to admit it) rooting my identity in what I do…in the results I produce. When I decided that God was calling me to quit my job at my church and move to Nashville a big piece of that puzzle was the conviction to go somewhere for who I was going to be there rather than what I was going to do there. I think it was God’s way of retraining me on where I root my identity. And He’s still teaching me. There are days when I’m 100% content and my identity is firmly rooted in the fact that I am a loved and redeemed child of God but there are also days when the fact that I don’t have a title or a really defined “what” in my life right now drives me absolutely crazy. And it drives me crazy because in those moments I feel like if I don’t have a “what” I don’t have an identity.

Now, maybe I’m over-analyzing a 140 character bio. But, maybe not. Either way I would encourage us all to remember that God loves us first and foremost for who we are, not what we do. In His eyes, what we do should flow out of who we are.

Lord, help us to root our identity in the fact that we are created, not in what we create.