“The bag.”

bag-maggie-whitley

Last night I knew I would have a few hours all to myself, to do anything I wanted: read a book, answer work email, take a long bath, watch a movie, sew something for myself — or even go to bed early. And while my body probably wanted me to go to bed early, I decided to try one more time to sew something. For months, and I’m not exaggerating in the least, I struggled with my inner self to be able to create something. The idea has been in my head, but every time I sat down to sketch some ideas or pair fabrics (or even cut into fabric & begin to sew) I hadn’t been able to translate what I was thinking. I kept thinking if I did something different: spend more time outside, surround myself with inspiration, pray or read my Bible more, stop thinking about being creative, talk about how I was feeling — surely my creative intentions would come to me. Right?

But they didn’t.

And I was feeling so, so, so, so discouraged. For months. Discouraged!

I mean, I had flat out stopped trying to skirt around the fact that I wasn’t feeling creative when I talked to our moms on the phone. I couldn’t hide it any more, and I didn’t want to.

Zack and I had some good talks yesterday, and one of the things I remember saying was, I’m not sure how long God wants to lead us down this road of difficulty but what I do know is this: we need Jesus.

Without going into all the details, life has been difficult, and it was surely overshadowing my creative process.

So last night, with a few hours all to myself, I decided to try once more. I grabbed some fabric I had been saving and went over the pattern (that has been inside my head for months) one more time. It couldn’t hurt to cut into another fresh fold of fabric, I thought.

I was just about desperate, but not desperate enough to totally give up. I took my time sewing — and time it did take — but as I crawled into bed last night I knew there were a few pieces of “fabric guts” from the bag I finished sewing. What has once been considered trash is now sitting on my desk as a lovely reminder of what happens when you mix patience and time with Jesus.

The bag that I’ve labored over for months? The bag that made me doubt if I had even a fat quarter of creativity left in me? The bag that humbled me over thinking God could ever be done using me (or you) for His creativity?

It is sewn, and I feel so free.

Comments

  1. 3

    says

    I know EXACTLY how you feel Maggie!!! When I have an idea, it is all I can think about and if I can’t get it the way my head is picturing it consumes me. But once you have a chance to get it out and in actual form, it feels so so good!! So glad you were able to do that last night! You’ve jumped the hurdle! :) Beautiful fabric combo!

    xo, Michelle

  2. 5

    says

    I never leave comments….but I’ve been following for awhile. I just wanted to say hi, send a big hug, and prayers that while everything may not be OK right now, that soon they will be. Creativity can be such a fickle thing. We all fall into the ruts of self-doubt, become overwhelmed with the worry of failure, and let whatever is troubling our hearts stand in the way of creating something beautiful. Your creativity is a gift. You were meant to create beautiful things for people, and have brought joy to so many (one little ruffle at a time) :)
    Big hugs lady. You have many friends who are pulling for you!

  3. 7

    says

    I’ve been going through a creativity rut myself – it happens – that’s when I usually turn to something else for a bit. Paint, paper or thrift shopping so I can rehab some furniture. Something to clear my head. For me, I try to remember that when life is difficult and uncomfortable, those are the times when God is really working in us, molding us, preparing us for something new, strengthening us, stretching us, teaching us quiet patience and humility and grace. And I try to simplify. Just get back to basics. Family. Faith. Food. Sleep. This too shall pass.

  4. 12

    says

    First of all, that bag looks amazing! So cute :) Secondly, I can totally relate to feeling the creativity squeezed out of you when life gets hard. Right now, we are in the middle of lots of waiting, praying, and unknowns–but, this post is so encouraging :) Even in the middle of all that, God uses us and our gifts :)

    • 13

      says

      @Nicole Jennings, Hey girl! :) I hope God speaks to you a lot sooner than He did to me, but however long it takes I am so so excited for you to hear from Him. Remember that God already has the plans made, we just wait for Him to show us what’s going on. xoxo

  5. 14

    says

    OH MY GOSH. You just summed up so much of what I have been feeling lately. SO many other dark things have gotten in my way lately, hindering my creativity. I think I will just sit down and try tonight:)

  6. 16

    says

    I honestly don’t know if there is a creative bone in my body. The way you live your life is so inspiring! I’m so glad you were able to finally create something.

    I do know what it’s like to go through dry times though. This past year has been the hardest of my life. Somehow, all these moments add up to draw us closer to God, growing and maturing to be more of what He wants us to be.

    • 17

      says

      @Stacey, Creativity doesn’t have to make itself known through craft supplies. It can come to us through the gift of conversation, prayer, wisdom. I know you have a gift… praying you can see it, too :) xoxoxo to you, Stacey!

  7. 18

    says

    Yea! so excited for you – it can be so frustrating when you feel you’re at an impasse – so glad that you had a breakthrough last night! Don’t forget – you’ve had SIGNIFICANT life change in the past year…don’t beat yourself up over settling into life with those changes! Praying God’s best for you guys!!

    • 19

      says

      @jodi @ back40life, WHY YES WE HAVE! Oh my goodness :) I could make a reallllllllly long list of all the changes we’ve had. And they keep coming! My goodness. Have I said “my goodness” yet?? :) We’ve been here over a year… how long can I blame my lack of creativity on life? :) Loved reading your comment and am so grateful for you and your encouraging words. xoxo to you, Jodi!

  8. 20

    says

    Every time I go to create a new design for a client and I am starring at a blank page on my computer I pray. I pray because I know without God there is no possible way I could ever create anything. It’s a cry for help and a asking for his Spirit to lead me. The times I think I can do it on my own is the times when my clients hate what I created. I truly believe that my graphic design and my photography is a gift from God. Even I can tell when it’s me trying to do it and when it’s God leading me to do it. It’s different! LOVE your heart and your amazing bag!!!

  9. 26

    says

    I know this feeling very well. I go through very difficult creative burnouts (for months!) where I question everything I am doing. Eventually, inspiration comes back and usually rushes in and my work comes out easily. But creativity coming easy is definitely not the norm. Every time I come out these periods I learn more about patience and my true motives, and I always draw closer to becoming the kind of artist God wants me to be.

    Keep it up, and enjoy the inspiration when it comes :)

    Megan

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