Allen is the author of The Story of With, an allegory about “A Better Way to Live, Love & Create.” I heard him speak at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in September in San Antonio, Texas, about the importance of creating with God, instead of for God. This co-creating approach both deepens our relationship with God within the creative process and frees us to focus on creating to please our primary audience of One—instead of the ever-changing needs of the world in which we live.
Jeff is the author of several books, including The Art of Work, “A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do.” Dave and I heard him speak at several events in Lakeland, Florida a few weeks ago—and though there were many key takeaways, the message that impacted me most was “Clarity comes with action.”
Another guy who’s had a big impact on me for many years is Henry David Thoreau—whose encouragement to “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve always imagined.” sat on my desk at work for many years and is embossed in a magnet on our fridge. I don’t agree with Thoreau’s approach to spirituality, but I am attracted to his philosophy about living a simpler life that supports the pursuit of our dreams.
As I’ve been pondering and applying the philosophies of all three, I see such a merging of the themes of Clarity and Action and With.
What I heard from Allen at the conference (and continue to read from him on Twitter) has helped me to reduce my agenda-fueled stress regarding my writing goals and step into a more enjoyable journey of seeking to please God with my writing as I do it in partnership with Him.
In fact, this new mindset provided the self-permission I needed to leave Facebook and step into more peacefulness, instead of remaining on a platform that was no longer a fit for me just so I could fulfill the expectations of others—namely the publishing industry.
Jeff’s encouragement to gain clarity through the process of action-taking was an eye-opener for me—since I’ve been pretty goal-oriented most of my life and usually prefer a framework in which clarity precedes action. This is the seemingly “safer” path, but one that can also stall my progress if I remain trapped by the need to be sure of the destination before I begin the journey.
Thoreau’s encouragement to pursue my dreams tapped into my somewhat-rebel spirit long ago. I haven’t had difficulty defining my dreams and marching toward them—but the details regarding the most effective route for reaching them have not always been clear.
That’s why I love the thought of merging the concepts of Clarity, Action, and With.
Jeff’s encouragement to find clarity through action is similar to Thoreau’s in that we must always be moving forward if we hope to achieve our dreams. Allen’s framework of doing that with God instead of relying on our own creative agendas helps to ensure that we’re on the right path and using our gifts to please a primary audience of One.
Another thing Jeff says is that artists are always recreating themselves: “If we’re stagnating we recreate to embrace our vision in a different way.” I like that concept, too, since it allows me to redefine what I may perceive as failures as just another step in the creative journey.
I’m so grateful for the insights of leaders like these, who are willing to share their journeys to help the rest of us who continue to define our own.
Lately, the result for me has been the ability to relax into my creative process a little more. After listening to Jeff’s and Allen’s talks, I decided to let go of what I think I should be writing about and instead embark on a creative journey for clarity through action—focusing on co-creating with God as I do.
This post first appeared in the 2/15/2020 edition of The Empowered Traveler™ newsletter.
Feature photo by Andrea Leopardi on Unsplash.