As creatives, there are times when the situations we find ourselves in aren’t exactly ideal. Maybe you hoped to have a project finished months ago, yet you’re still stuck in the starting phase. Perhaps an unforeseen challenge arises that sets you back several steps. In these kinds of situations, it’s nearly effortless for doubt to creep in and to begin asking ourselves, “Why is this happening?” Typically, our first instinct is not to appreciate these setbacks or look for the good in them, but rather to figure out how to get back on track as quickly as possible. It’s almost as if we have blinders on that keep us from seeing any possible benefit of being in such a situation.
In various creative endeavors of my own, I have often found myself looking so far ahead to the end goal, that I forget to enjoy the journey of getting there – bumpy roads and all. Did I take my time and simply enjoy Jesus throughout every part of the creative process? What about the instances where I ended up on a long, winding path that I hadn’t initially planned for? Did I seek out the beauty in the times of waiting, or did I rush to find a solution and disregard a wonderful moment of growth and learning that could have been?
Though it is important to keep the final product in mind, doing so has the potential to become a hindrance if we focus too much on the results instead of what the Lord might be wanting to do in our hearts in the midst of creating. The way I see it, the process is just as important as the finished product itself. There is something significant about being faithful in the place God has us, even if that isn’t necessarily where we want to be at a particular time. It goes back to trusting His plan and His timing over our own, both in our creative projects and simply in our walk of life as a whole.
Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” It’s easy to jump into a project, take control, and create a detailed plan for it in our minds. We are often caught off guard when the unexpected hits and things don’t go according to our well-intentioned plan. The thing is, none of those “interruptions” are a surprise to God. In fact, there very well may be a specific reason for them. Slowing down allows us a chance to remove the blinders and see obstacles as the blessing in disguise they just might be.
Rather than longing for the next destination in the journey, ask the Lord what He may be wanting you to do or learn in the stage you’re currently in and how you can be faithful in that. It could be that God has been illuminating to you a particular aspect of His heart and He wants you to share that with a friend who is struggling and in need of encouragement. When we rush through the small steps and barriers that pop up, we might miss out on those special opportunities to serve and be a blessing to those around us.
Much joy is to be found in learning how to appreciate the process and being faithful where you are with what you’ve been given. The next time you find yourself in a time of waiting or setback, whatever it may look like, I encourage you to continue being faithful, seeking the heart of the Father, and trusting His timing each and every step of the way. The journey isn’t always a smooth and predictable one, but our loving Savior knows exactly where He’s leading us, and He is completely worthy of our trust.
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