“Most people live in the ruins of their habits.” – Jean Cocteau
Humanity is a unique animal. As the pinnacle of creation God gave us his image – a piece of himself – to carry into his creation as stewards of it. We’re made to ‘fill the earth and subdue it.’ When I read ‘subdue’ I hear authority, and a creative design in God’s desire for us. As Christians, we believe that “life at its best” is devoted to God – and so discovering his purpose in us becomes a quest that will likely take all our lives. This is one way we make Jesus our “Lead Story.”
As image bearers we don’t just inhabit creation, we are creators. We innovate, we design, we rule – it’s what we were made to do; a piece of what God does that he entrusted to us. But in our culture and in my life I find this tension at play: So much of life can and should be automated, but much if not more of it should be intentionally lived with purpose, and design. This takes a continual sense of inspiration.
If I’m not careful, the routines I’ve established to help me live a productive life bleed over into the areas of life that deserve greater attention – or greater levels of inspiration. Holding on to a sense of inspiration is a difficult task, like chasing your tail. Rather, attempting to host moments of inspiration seems a better pursuit.
Here are three ways to find inspiration in your life.
#1 – Remember what inspires you
It takes time to discover or remember what brings you to a lightbulb – “ah-ha!” inspired moment. Writing down those ideas is one thing; narrowing the circumstances for those ideas is another. Where were you, what were you doing, were you under pressure or were all your boxes checked? When do you feel most confident, or ‘ready to go!’ in life? Road trips, exercise, nature walks – it can be unique to each person.
#2 – Repeat it
Set yourself up to experience that moment again. Once you begin to nail this down, you can even schedule this time and make it a priority in your routine. While you can’t automate inspiration, and can routinize your pursuit of it. Take an extra three minutes in the shower each morning or set aside 30 minutes a day, 2 days a week to experience it first thing when you wake up. The more you do this, the more likely you may be to have new insight or understanding.
#3 – Relate it
Describing the story to someone else, sharing the breakthrough or setting a new idea in motion is an important part of this cycle. In fact – sharing your inspiration with someone else is not only inspiring for them, it’s something that can spark growth and change in you! If we’re designed with community in mind, we’re meant to share the best of what is happening too.
I think it’s worth saying that although you may have a specific problem, or a certain goal for these inspiring moments in your day, my experience tells me it’s best to leave them open ended. Go in with an open mind. It may take a week or two to wrap your mind around a certain issue, but that’s ok. Don’t force it – and remember that the journey IS the destination.
Really, in so many ways, this is a practice in hearing the Lord. Our connection to a loving and endlessly brilliant God is the spark we need. To live well on the earth, we need to walk in our calling and design. Hearing his voice is the absolute best inspiration we can find.
Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. – C.S Lewis