Stepping Out of the Clutter
I sometimes find myself struggling to outwardly express my creative soul because there is so much clutter within my heart, mind, and spirit. Internal clutter exists when we do not place proper personal boundaries. When our boundaries aren’t there, anything and everything starts to take up residence in our mind. Here are a few ways I’ve learned to tidy-up the clutter that takes up unnecessary room inside my creative soul.
Before I get into these 10 steps to clarity, let me go back to a book I read many, many years ago! It was actually a book about writing, recommending placing boundaries within writing a plot. The imagery the author used in describing this boundary has never left me. I don’t think I’ve ever used it in writing, but it’s been my personal picture of boundaries ever since.
This author used a land analogy to describe boundaries throughout a plot. We all have an allotment of land with a house and a fence. These reflect us and the stories that make us who we are. For example: a barbed wire fence might let the neighborhood know that you don’t want any visitors but you really put it up because you’ve had intruders and want to keep them out, not because you don’t want/need friends. Does this make sense?
Okay, I don’t want to give too much away, I simply want to set the scene. So everyone, picture your perfect plot of ground, with your picture-perfect house (let your imagination go wild) and let’s go on an adventure to clear out the clutter!
1. Put your fence up
It doesn’t matter what it looks like, or what color it is, that’s all up to you. I’m sure there is a psychology behind the style of fence you choose, but I don’t have a license in psychology, so we can leave that analysis to a trained professional. What matters is that you have a boundary around your property, [around yourself]. Make sure that you don’t just let anyone into your plot of ground, protect it and choose who comes and goes.
2. Water your lawn
The grass is always greener where you water it. Make sure you are taking care of the land [body, mind, spirit, self] you have been given. Water it, nourish it, and it will grow.
3. Lock your gate
Just because you put up a fence, doesn’t mean that you should keep your gate unlocked. This might seem mean or un-neighborly, but sometimes you need to lock the gate. This will allow you to enter into uninterrupted rest and refuge in your own space. This is not something you should feel guilty about! There are times where you need to be alone, you need to say “no”, and you need to remember to protect your health. These ‘locked gate’ times are necessary for a healthy creative process.
4. Plant a tree
Whether it’s a big weeping willow, or an apple tree, make sure you plant [invest] into your plot of land [self]. What refreshes your soul? Trees provide oxygen, think of investing into yourself like giving yourself fresh air. Make sure that you plant the right trees to nourish yourself.
5. Talk to the neighbor through the fence
This is a great exercise in not letting just anyone onto your property [into your life]. Just because someone is in your neighborhood, doesn’t mean they need to be on your land. You can be friendly with your neighbors and keep them as ‘over the fence’ relationships, to protect your creative soul. This is hard for some of us people pleasers and perfectionists, but I promise you, your soul with thank you for this one!
6. Work in your garden
Make sure you are always planting, weeding and watering! And unkept garden nourishes no-one. In real life terms - read, watch, write, practice, collaborate and perform within your area of creative expression! Sitting idle, not using your gifting [garden] allows weeds to grow and the investment you’ve made into yourself shrivel up and die.
7. Have a friend over
Now that your plot of ground has a fence, green grass, a gate, a tree and a healthy garden you're ready to entertain in a refreshing, soul-soaring way! When we are not burned out by clutter, trampled on, weeded over, or open for anyone to invade our safe space, our community time is refreshing and filling. We should walk away from friendly encounters feeling uplifted and full, no matter if we are introverts or extroverts! That is the way God intended community to be.
8. Sip tea on the front porch
Observe your neighborhood and take a real rest with Christ. Sip tea, reflect, and focus on the beauty that is all around you and your gifting. There is a uniqueness in your specific calling, and the safety of your plot of land. Cultivating an attitude of thankfulness goes a long way in restoring your creative soul to a place of rest. Enjoy the feeling of health, safety, and flourishment and take a moment to just breathe.
9. Give a spare set of keys to someone you trust
This is SO important. When you find someone, or some people that you trust completely, who are healthy for you and your creative soul, give them a set of keys [authority to speak] to your plot of land [into your life]. When you find the kind of people who will not only water your garden, but pull weeds as well, give them permission to build you up and call you out.
Whenever your heart desires, rearrange, redecorate, and revisit your dreams! Don’t ever let yesterday’s vision, limit today's declaration. Your creative pursuit should always be growing, just like you! If your dream isn’t big enough to scare you half to death, it is NOT big enough. So go create something spectacular, and dream bigger than you ever have before!
I hope this analogy helps you, in some way, to clear out the clutter! I know it changed my life! Grasping on to a creative visual that helps you remember to take care of yourself and your creative gifting, will give wings to your dreams. When you put this into practice it will encourage you to operate from health! These boundaries give you tools to step out the clutter so you can fully operate from your rest posture! I know it has released me to live in mine!