Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Importance of Creative Rest



Hello, friends.

I wanted to discuss something today that has been on my heart for a while now: the importance of creative rest. When I graduated college in May, I took a break from blogging and jumped headfirst into writing my novel. When I wasn't running or working or reading, I was writing. And when I wasn't writing, I was crying thinking about my characters and plot and whether or not first or third person was better, and so many writerly things that I thought my head was going to explode.

All this to say: My constant creative pursuit wasn't healthy.


I think that as creatives, we sometimes believe the lie that we always have to be "on" or "productive" or have great projects in the works. But it's not true. In fact, constantly trying to be creative or churn out projects is draining. I'll be honest, there were many days I would come home from work and just collapse in bed and not know how I was going to write. I had no creative juices, no energy. I wasn't getting enough sleep or spending enough time with friends or the Lord.

But it's not my life's purpose to be creative.
It's to know Christ and make Him known.

I think one reason I put so much pressure on myself to finish my novel was that I thought if I didn't, my life's purpose wouldn't be fulfilled. But my identity and purpose is not in writing. I am a human and friend and daughter of the King first. God has given us the ability to create, and it is wonderful, but when creativity becomes our main focus, it's not sustainable. We have to allow ourselves to rest. 

"Be still, and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10

Love that comma after "Be still." Love the pause that it implies.


Part of the creative process, I think, is stepping back from your work and letting yourself recharge. It might sound counterproductive, but it's not. Over the past few months sans blogging, I have learned that there is something to be said for rest. There is something to be said for putting down your pen or keyboard and going for a walk. For going out to dinner with friends. For watching a movie with your family. For reading your Bible. For taking an early morning run. For eating ice cream.

You don't have to try and save the world, creatives.
We're not super-humans here and we don't have to try to be.
Your own well-being should ALWAYS come before creativity.

I am still learning what it means to rest, but know this: You don't have to live the life of the perfect Supremely Creative Person, because that person doesn't exist. No one human being can sustain a sleep-deprived existence and just keep going and going and going, inspiring others and working and writing and GAH! It is more than okay to take quiet breaks and walk with the Lord and accept a creative slump as a veritable gift. This is what I am learning, and what I want for my life going forward.

x
What about you?

What do you think of creative rest? Do you struggle with trying to be a Supremely Creative Person as well? TELL ME I'M NOT ALONE

Friday, August 11, 2017

Here's to New Beginnings

Wow, where to begin?

I've wanted to write this post for many months now, but as you can see by my lack of presence here, I haven't been able to find the words. In May, I graduated with my Bachelor's in Mass Communications and promptly plunged headfirst into attempting to finish my novel. (Keyword = attempting.) Then I traveled with my family, got a camera(!), and now I am working at a job I love, doing marketing for my alma mater.


Yet all of this, and no blogging.

All of this, and it sounds more glamorous (and less painful) than it was.

All of this, and I'm still learning.

This space has been on my heart and mind for many months now.

While I still don't know exactly what is to come, I do know that I am excited. I don't know about you, but lately, I have been yearning to go on a new adventure. To have a fresh start. To begin again. Life has been nothing but endings and beginnings lately, which is good and hard all at once. And I feel that reflected in my blogging journey, too. I'm ready to breathe new life into this space, with the help of Christ.

Welcome to the new Acoustic Erin.

I welcome your feedback and thoughts and friendship as I set sail on a whole new chapter for my blog. I will be making changes to this space slowly but surely, and as I explore this process, I invite you to join me, as always.

Tell me how you've been!

Do you like the new design? Did you have a good summer? How can I pray for you?

Thanks for everything.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Vous Êtes Mon Coeur


Today grace looked like the smiles of my favorite friends,
the Word of peace, and Cadbury eggs.
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
~ Romans 5:8

Stand in awe today of how God has blessed you. Breathe deep of grace.

+ Happy Easter! How are you all? 
Everyone having a "hoppy" holiday? 🐇

Thursday, March 30, 2017

how to create your own creative space


Creative motivation, yo: It can be hard to come by. 
Something I've noticed that helps me focus on projects and be more productive is having my own creative space. For me, it's my desk.  

HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN CREATIVE SPACE

Get a signature scent. How can you think and feel and create with stale air? YOU CAN'T, THAT'S WHAT. I've probably burnt through 14,000 candles in my lifetime (rough estimate), but it's totally worth it. TJ Maxx has great candles that won't break the bank, and this one from Target is my absolute favorite.

Create a soundtrack. Now that your space is smelling great, put on a record or a Spotify playlist. It's important to relax your mind and create an encouraging atmosphere in your space.


I like to listen to the melancholy music of... 


Milo Greene,

Image result for milo greene album

Max Richter,

Image result for max richter memoryhouse

or Novo Amor.

Image result for novo amor album

If you can't write or work with music playing in the background,

Bring the outdoors in. Open a window, listen to the birds chirping, make friends with a plant. (I have owned but one plant in my lifetime, a Venus flytrap I named Rex. I fed Rex salami. Rex died. I was nine. Moral of the story: Be kind to your plant friends.)


Flowers can refresh and beautify 
your space for little to no cost.

Personalize. Find a way to make your space your own - buy a bulletin board and add old photos of friends and family to keep you smiling while you work. Plushies, paintings, fun mugs and journals can also make your space feel more like you. 

+ What about you? What is your creative space like? Where do you blog?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

how to spark joy in the everyday: part one


Lately, I've been craving more joy in my life. Life can throw quite a lot at us - worries, circumstances, expectations - but we don't have to fear or fight or compete. We can have peace and rest and joy right where we are.

HOW TO SPARK JOY IN THE EVERYDAY

Go for a walk. Or a run. Or just sit outside and soak up the sun! There's nothing like a little nature to make you feel small in the best possible way. Find a park, a beach, or a favorite walking trail. Make these places your own. It's amazing how much they can feel like home. 

Unplug. This goes along with the sentiment of the previous point: take some time to de-digitize. I'd noticed that I'd gotten into a bad habit of scrolling through social media and watching endless amounts of YouTube videos to de-stress after work. While there's nothing wrong with this, it can leech your joy. The more time I spend online, the more often I feel dissatisfied with myself. Know your limits and savor those offline moments.


Seek adventure. Be perpetually in the state of seeking adventure. We can't all go backpacking in Europe at the drop of a hat, but we can have the perspective of adventure in our daily life. Find things that are beautiful and wonderful about doing homework, cleaning out the litter box, buying groceries. Find the joy and adventure in the smallest of things and your joy will be through the roof.

THROUGH THE ROOF, I SAY!

Do the thing. This life is short! Have you always wanted to read Catcher in the Rye but never found the time? Do it! Ever considered violin lessons but didn't think you'd be good enough? So what? Do it! Want to learn how to bake, hike, knit, give epic public speeches? YO, JUST DO IT. Live your life in such a way that at the end of it, you will not regret the way you spent your time. Find joy in pursuing what God has made you passionate about.

+ What about you? What are some ways you spark joy in your everyday life?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

goodbye, spring break

Exhibit A. The civilized and social media-appropriate version of me on Spring Break.

I began this week in the hopes that everything would go to plan.
I would accomplish much, and feel inspired. I would write and write and write, and run and run and run, and never feel tired or need to take a breather. 
But God answered my prayer for rest, and instead I found myself sick for my entire Spring Break. There has been a lot of coughing, many bowls of soup, and a not too pleasant attitude on my part. 

Exhibit B. The actual sickness-ridden and crazy hermit version of me
whilst cleaning my room on Spring Break. AM I HUMAN

Yet, there was also grace. Grace and patience from God to hold me even when I kicked and fought His loving arms. He showed me (and is showing me still) what it means to be flexible, to trust, and to rest. This week may not have been a week of picture-perfect sunsets, workouts, and plans, but a week of "perfect" was not what I needed. 

Instead, not only did I need the Lord to hold me, 
but I needed to learn just how much I need to be held. 

Goodbye, Spring Break. You have taught me just how important it is to have an attitude of joy in the present, not just in retrospect. When I look back on this week, I will remember standing in a best friend's wedding, eating fudge-filled brownies and ice cream, my father writing his short story in the garage, finally finishing Pride and Prejudice, and the warm Florida sunshine. 

+ How has your week been? What has you currently in awe of the Lord? 
And do you ever feel like a hermit?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

is this living free


For the longest time, I thought that even though I had put my trust in Christ, the Lord was looking down on me for all of the things I did (or didn't do) on a daily basis. Over time, this pattern of thinking grew into a belief, and soon I felt perpetually guilty before the Lord, and so condemned.

This, of course, is so far from the truth.

"Then you will know the truth, 
and the truth will set you free." 
~ John 8:32

I don't know if anyone else has struggled with this mindset before, but if so, I want you to know it is a complete lie. Once you are in Christ, you can enjoy peace and security and safe pasture with Jesus. Believing that the Lord looks down on you robs you of the intimacy you could have with Him and actually gives the devil the victory. There is no condemnation here. 

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." 
~ Romans 8:1-2


Fixing a mindset such as mine takes time, but it starts with taking God at His Word. Yes, Lord, I want to BELIEVE that what You say is truer than true, and hide it so deep within my heart that I cannot help but overflow with healthy thoughts. What You say is true. If what I think and feel do not line up with You, then it is You to whom I must listen. 

"But now He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation, if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel." 
~ Colossians 1:22-23a

Above all, know that God is crazy in love with you. He created you, and knows your weaknesses and died so that you may live in a free, delightful relationship with Him.

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." 
~ John 3:17

+ What helps you to run to truth? How do you embrace freedom on a daily basis? And, pray tell, what is your favorite twenty one pilots song? 

Monday, March 13, 2017

be still & rest


I've come to realize that I'm not very good at resting.

Spring Break may be here in all of its peace-giving glory, but I still have a list ready to go of tasks that I'd like to accomplish, projects I'd like to start, and goals I'd like to reach. In the pursuit of much, I find myself unable to keep up with my high standards. And if I'm honest, I find myself too often absorbed in feelings of anxiety, my mind racing with thoughts of guilt.

Lord, teach me to rest. 

"The Lord will fight for you; 
you need only to be still."
~ Exodus 14:14

This week, I pray that I would step away from the mental battle and pick up the Word instead. I forget how easy it is to believe, how simple it can be to trust. And we were meant to live FREE, even if that feels unnatural sometimes. 

Jesus, carry me. Help me to have a child's faith. I thirst for a relationship with You that is real, just Father and child sharing life together.

+ Happy Spring Break, y'all! Is anyone else on vacation this week?
P.S. I am about to embark on a massive blog-reading session. WOOT WOOT
P.S.S. I am actually taking my own blog photos now #whatup. 
Follow me on Instagram here if you feel so inclined.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

enjoy your life, friends

The day my sister and I had the best strawberry milkshake known to man.

Yo, life is too short not to have fun and enjoy every second, y'all. 

I know we get dragged down sometimes by the drudgery of life: we go to class, church, work, and back home again on a seemingly infinite loop. Sometimes it seems like all that we hope for is still a long way off, but don't miss out on the joy of the ordinary, the everyday, the right-now. Each day we can ask the Lord to help us lean into His love and the soul-filling purpose of our lives.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, 
do it all for the glory of God." 
~ 1st Corinthians 10:31

 What does God want to do in and through me today? How can my morning bowl of oatmeal and email-answering at work and reading Pride and Prejudice in the evenings bring glory to God?


ERIN'S LIST OF LITTLE JOYS

Meeting Ellen. Sort of.


She's surprisingly cardboard in person.

Jumping rope. Ok, this one's weird. (Not that meeting Ellen wasn't, LOL). But....I've been getting so bored with running constantly, and wanted to mix up my workout routine a little bit and let me just say that WOW, I love jumping rope?! It makes me feel like a little kid again.

Daydreaming. As my college graduation looms ever nearer (three months, guys!), I can't help but dream of working as a full-time writer. How amazing would it be to write freelance from home, and write novels, and edit books, and publish books, and oh my goodness BOOKS. The Lord has been pulling at my heartstrings about this lately; more on that to come later, possibly...

+ What about you? What are three things that you are just out-of-your-mind grateful for today? And tell me about your life, yo! What's new?