Hey it’s me Mark!
Effort or allowance? To get to where we want, do we need to push or sit back and allow ourselves to be pulled? This question, this mindset, can be a powerful way to open up new vistas for us creatively and spiritually.
Follow Your Curiosity
It can be tempting for artists to claim that their work comes from within them. We’re humans. We’re proud. If something wonderful and beautiful comes out of you, who wouldn’t consider nonchalantly passing it off as their own?
But, what I’m asking you to do is resist this urge.
Instead, approach your creativity with an attitude of discovery. Imagine this: the world is full of ideas. Parallel universes exist and they are all around us. One might be inhabited by anthropomorphic kitchen sponges, separated by a strict caste system, who complain about the various chores they’re employed for. (Naturally, the surface sponges reign in aloof splendor.) Another universe might exist where the Germans won World War II. Another might exist where humans have superpowers. Some of these other universes have already been discovered: Middle Earth, Narnia, whatever it is the Hunger Games place is called.
Our job is to be explorers, not creators.
It’s the difference between pushing your ideas out into the world and allowing yourself to be pulled into the world by the intrigue of your ideas.
A Generous Powerful God
There is a trap that I fall into a lot. It is the idea that I can save myself, that I can change myself, that I don’t need help. Most of the people reading this are Americans. As such, we have that special sort of pride in being independent. We can stand on our own two feet. People who need and ask for help are somehow less.
I have this idea floating around the nooks of my brain that I need to show God that I’m putting in the effort. If I make some progress on my own before I ask him for any help, he won’t be quite as annoyed at me for asking. Do you know why I have this thought? Because my experience has been that if someone helps you or gives you something, you’ve incurred a debt. If you do something for them, they owe you. And because of these experiences, I tend to approach my relationship with God the same way.
What I’m forgetting is just the little insignificant fact that God is omnipotent and benevolent. He doesn’t need me to help him. It’s not as if he only has a certain amount of help he can afford to give and, if he helps me, it means he can’t help someone else. He’s all-powerful. He can help everyone and still remain undiminished. So this makes my whole “let me just help out the infinitely mighty Creator of the universe real quick here” plan seem dumb.
And it also misses the fact that God loves me. A lot. Here I am refusing to ask him for help because I don’t want to bother him when all he wants is my permission. If I just allow him, God is willing and able to drag me into heaven.
So stop trying to get to heaven yourself. Sit back and let God do it for you.