Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen

Creativity / Life & Faith / Thoughts

The Stories We Do

I’ve been away from the blog for a few days. My mind is active with new ideas and new vision for the coming months as it relates to my creative work, most specifically photography, but also sewing, writing, and kid projects. I go through cycles of creativity…spending weeks or months doing a little here and there and then a burst of energy and inspiration hits and I’m lost in a sea of thoughts and daydreams and lists and a totally insatiable desire to roll out a new creative piece in whatever form I’m working on at the moment. Unfortunately that means my whole home routine falls to the wayside and I find myself at three in the afternoon wondering where the day went, up to my ears in dishes and the messes that spring up around the house when the kids more-or-less entertain themselves while I’m deep in thought for hours on end. I’m not totally proud of the fact that they don’t have my full attention on these daydreaming days, but the truth is, I think it’s actually as good for them as it is for me. There is less bickering (because they know I’m just going to tell them to work it out) and they really are content to imagine and play together without needing me to pull out one activity after another to entertain them.

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I’ve been thinking about the stories we tell with our lives and creative work. I don’t just mean in the art we create (although that is a big part of what I’m thinking about for myself), not just the words that we use to tell stories, but all the things that are created through our action or inaction. How we create meals to nourish and fill, curate home spaces for growing and learning, how we build relationships by taking risks to step out of our comfort zones and into someone else’s world…to see from new perspectives. How we make a life with a spouse and how the decisions we make together mold and shape our river’s path to the ocean. How we speak loud without words what we really value by what we do and don’t do with our time, talents, and resources.

The story I’ve been telling for so many years is changing. I feel like the words of amazing grace are hitting in a deeper place than ever before. I once was blind but now I see. So many things. I was rejected. Low. Lost. Hurt. Broken. I cried out for anyone to notice me and tell me I was important. Loved. Spent all my energy trying to meet expectations (my own or others’) that never led to satisfying fulfillment or gold stars, but mostly led to disappointment after disappointment and the need to dig deeper and do more to fill the hole. Doing more isn’t the answer. Doing better isn’t the answer either. I see, possibly for the first time in the clearest way, that God’s story expressed inside my story is one of freedom, peace, and complete surrender to what He has for me…which is admittedly easy to say and much harder to do.

Instead my story is becoming one of low, found, restored, healed, and eyes fixed of Jesus. Notice the low part stays the same. I think low is something we really need to pay attention to. Emptying ourselves out, laying ourselves low at His feet so we can hear what He speaks and receive what He gives…both of which are often missed if we are not in the right position before Him, both of which can be easily misunderstood if we don’t understand His upside-down ways. I’m learning God’s expectations and desires for me are more simple (not easy) and clear than I make them.

I’ve learned that it’s not enough to speak a story out loud for it the story to change you. You have to live the story, to do the story, for the whole point of the story to be made real. What this means for me is that I have to live the faith I talk about having. As I daily surrender and listen for His voice and do what He says, I am made more like Him. Pouring out myself like He poured out Himself, all because of love.

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