The project deadline is fast approaching and it seems you cannot get it finished. Everything needs your attention, there’s phone calls, texts and those emails seem to keep piling up. As we add technology and convenience to our lives they are actually becoming more hectic. In a study done by Nielsen in the first quarter of 2016 they said,
“An average American adult spends close to 11 hours a day consuming media.”
Think about it, if you are awake for 18 hours how many of those hours are then consisted of media consumption? What if we switched that around and actually produce more relevant content, while spending time with family and friends.
How much media are you consuming? And what impact do you think your own contribution would have? I have noticed with my role at work and working with other creatives, that this can directly impact the heart of creativity.
Do you remember the last time you just sat and doodled or wrote in a journal not for a set project but for fun? I know we do not have time for fun, we have multiple projects going, deadlines to meet and then in the end have somewhat of a normal life.
I want to tell you of an almost year long journey I have been on and how it has greatly impacted my overall creativity and my outlook on life. In the last year I have walked through a time of slowing down and finding what it truly means to be more present in each moment. I am finding that when I do this I am able to focus on whatever project or task I have before me. I recently finished Shawna Niequist’s book, Present over Perfect and it was such a confirmation in all that God has been showing me recently. One quote from Shawna that stuck out for me was:
“Present over Perfect. Quality over Quantity. Relationship over rushing. People over pressure. Meaning over mania.”
This quote has become a daily mantra for my life. Challenging me to not rush and have purpose in each interaction. My life has done a complete 180º in the last year and it all started in May when I woke up with vertigo.
It was the worst feeling I had ever experienced and something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I had to slow down and take a week off of work, and I wasn’t able to drive so I was forced to get some much-needed rest. In that week God spoke to me about finding rest and what it means to be present in the moment. It made me realize how much my daily normal was dictated by media and the social media I was consuming, and the mania of the daily norm I had established. I had to fast social media and my phone on the weekends, just to honor all God was teaching me.
Don’t get me wrong, it was hard at first, but I soon realized how much time I now had to do things I felt I couldn’t do. I used apps that monitored my screen time, hid my phone in my room during the weekend and completely unplugged. I took walks on the beach and instead of trying to get the perfect social media post I just took it all in with my eyes. I listened to the laughs of children splashing in the waves, the gentle hum of radios playing and the sun shining on my face as I walked. Taking all of my surroundings in made me realize I would have missed all of this if I did my usual run on the beach with my headphones on, consuming more media.
As a society, we accept the norm of checking our phones constantly and being consumed in our screens. I recently found myself talking to a friend about how much we consume instead of producing creative content.
We consume instead of producing creative content
When was the last time you produced something new and creative? Have you produced something new and creative this week?
We serve such a creative God, and yet most of the time we’re reproducing something we have seen or heard. I truly believe there is a creative community forming that is going back to the basics and tapping into the greatest source of creativity – God!
Some of the ways I have learned to subside the mania of media is to keep a journal with me at all times, to carve out times for just sitting and listening.
I remember an exercise of one of the worship leaders I worked with in college, we would be worshipping and then he would have us stop and simply be. No instruments, no lyrics, just pure silence of us sitting and being in God’s presence. There was such freedom in those moments of just being with God and hearing from him.
What do you need to do to carve out time to hear from your Creator?
I know it’s not easy, especially if social media or technology is your direct responsibly. But I challenge you to take a moment and think about all you are missing, what conversations could be had? If we look up from our screens, we will see there is a world full of people, beauty and chances for us to participate and create.