June 17, 2022
If anyone, including a Christian, is going to creatively produce, he or she must deal with the issue of anxiety. I am learning to deal with anxiety that keeps me from expressing my creativity and I see it all the time in many people. Church people have a whole repertoire of excuses that others don't use, excuses like, "I'm praying about it; God hasn't released me to do that; it's not God's timing; or I don't want to get ahead of the Lord." Sometimes these expressions may be based in fact, but often they simply mask anxiety and fear. In my own creative journey, I've drawn wisdom from Eric Maisel's book, The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Person's Path through Depression:
Anxiety can debilitate any creator, even the most strong-willed and self-directing. A fiercely independent-minded sculptor may mention with a laugh that some friends visited his studio and hated his new work. On the surface, it looks like he's shrugged their comments off. Three weeks later, he complains of serious blockage. Doubts about his talent now make him anxious, his anxiety causes him not to sculpt, but the "why" of this is completely unknown to him. Anxiety has chalked up another victim.
Has anxiety claimed you as a victim? I don't restrict the effects of anxiety to just the creative arts like writing or painting. It can hinder your ability to start a business, take a missions trip, teach a class, or go back to school. You can be so uptight about doing something wrong or doing it poorly that you don't do anything at all, and so you "wait" upon the Lord.
Anxiety and fear are closely related, if not synonymous, in the creative process. So dealing with anxiety is like dealing with fear: you must face it to overcome it. You start by admitting that you are anxious and identify the reasons why: fear of failure, fear of criticism, ignorance of how to start, not knowing how to finish. You must not hide behind the Lord and disguise your anxiety as something other than what it is.
How does the issue of anxiety apply to your creativity right now? What has you stuck in a non-productive or non-creative rut? I urge you to discover what it is and then get going on what you have talked about doing for a short or long time. Don't let anxiety rob you and the world any longer of the best you that you can be. If I can help, let me know.