Creating, Failing, Stopping

Lately I’ve been feeling discouraged, like a failure.

Maybe the expectations I set for myself were too high. Maybe it wasn’t my fault. A few projects I worked hard over a long period of time came short of expectations. And in the process of those slowly falling apart, I started to sense something welling up with me, “I failed.”

I’m a doer, a guy who gets things done. I work as hard as hell until the project is done well. It’s a foreign world to me to see a project not finish well, much less several projects, all at once. This empty pit sat in me for days, and then weeks, never leaving. It was the voice in my head whispering over and over, “failure.”

I couldn’t escape it. I haven’t escaped it.

Some people would say I’m burned out. I’m not sure I like how “burned out” is our go-to answer for dry spells in life. It’s like we can point the finger at something else, other than ourselves. Like we’re saying, “this isn’t my fault.” I say that because where I’m at right now is my fault.

When it comes to creation, the birthing of new things, my number one guiding principle is simple: how you’re creating matters more than what or how much you’re creating. Part of where I find myself is a necessity of the situation—a fire at my church and the birth of a new child will create high demands for your energy and time—and part of it is negligence on my part. For too long I’ve created because I felt the interior “I have to” rather than “I must.” The first creates out of obligation. The latter creates out of overflow and abundance. If you create out of obligation for long enough, eventually the well runs dry.

This past Sunday was known as Pentecost Sunday. It’s the day the church remembers the Holy Spirit being poured out at Pentecost, the account written of in Acts 2. It’s this account, while 100% true, that has often warped our perspective on how the Spirit works. It isn’t always the loud demonstration of fire, tongues, and revival. Often the Spirit is the Great Encourager, whose dew is spoken in whispers that softly creates fertile ground for new life to spring up in the desert.

My life has gotten too noisy, too full, too cluttered. It is not the voice of God’s Spirit compelling my work, rather it is my own voice that demands I stay efficient. I need more of the work of the Spirit like Dietrich Bonhoeffer describes: “The Holy Spirit enables me to trust that Jesus Christ has come to tell me that he has accepted me and will do so again today.” I need to hear that, over and over.

After much thought and prayer about what the necessary next step is for me, I’ve decided to take a break from all things public writing and social networks. Not sure on the length. Could be a few weeks, could be a few months.

Talk to you soon friends.