For this post, a friend asked me to answer the question, “What inspires me?” Sometimes I feel like asking what DOESN’T inspire me. There are days when my creativity just sparks like crazy, days when ideas just flow. I guess I’m a bit of a frenetically creative person (read: CreativeADHD?). So to narrow it down… To really pin-point the source… To zero in on what really inspires me… Well, that is a tough one. And as I thought about it, I realized the answer might surprise you (it did me).
Umm, ‘cause it’s garbage, actually. Yep, garbage inspires me. I mean, not diaper champ garbage or the curbside trash, but more precisely cast-offs. Forgotten and neglected pieces fill my little heart with joy. Because most often when I see these dilapidated treasures, I see them as they could be, not as they are.
For example, when I looked at this thrift headboard recently, I didn’t see its unfortunate Pepto-Bismol color…
…I saw what I dreamed it could be. I saw this (below).
In a flash, I imagined giving it a coat of paint, cutting the foam to fit in the depressed area, wrapping that with the batting & fabric, attaching all that, covering fabric buttons, drilling holes in the back of frame to pull the button threads through, tying off those threads with washers… I saw it all. The whole process from start to finish.
I was inspired.
But what about this potential transformation releases a flood gate of creative energy for me? I wonder if it’s because I can relate. [Don’t they say the best art is that in which the artist puts himself, that in which the viewer sees herself?] And I can relate to junk being transformed into something valuable. In fact, it is one of the essential themes of my life’s story. You see, I was once a hot mess (I mean, I’m still a hot mess, but at least I’m a forgiven one now), and God brought me through a metamorphosis when I entered into a redeeming relationship with Him by relying on Jesus’ death and resurrection as payment for all my shortcomings and rotten choices. I’m down with taking trash and transforming it into treasure.
So how does one find her own source of inspiration?
First, take note. When some activity or endeavor, though it may take great effort, fuels–rather than drains–you, you may be scratching the surface of an inspiration wellspring. Is there a pattern you see developing?
Second, listen. Although I would say it is ill-advised to place your value in the hands of others’ opinions of you, other people can offer a valuable insight into the unique gifts and abilities that God has woven into you. When you do something that comes naturally to you, it is easy to assume that anyone can easily do the same; a third party can point out and call out your gifting.
Third, exercise. When you exercise your gifts, they breathe and grow. When you fuel inspiration, it multiplies. Get around what inspires you and act on that inspiration.
So what inspires you? Wheeee!