words: how faith, listening and receptivity help birth a fresh creative flow

words, faith , listening and creativity

Words are intransigent at times. They reveal a resistance to being marshalled onto the page with military precision. Instead they resemble watchful dancers, waiting in the wings, ready to leap upon the stage when they sense the timing is right for them,  and hopefully alighting with style, beauty and grace. Maybe you can relate?

That’s how it can seem when the creative well runs dry and the easy flow we’ve been accustomed to becomes a mere trickle. Try as we might, words refuse to cooperate, leaving us hungry for their return. Resting ourselves and our words seems wise. Then we grow into their future potential, as well as ours.

As a poet I am used to the way words speak to me, hum with a greater resonance, sing out their potential, ask to be paid attention to, seek to be picked, sifted and joined together while they dictate the metre, method, rhyme, rhythm and flow.

Listening and receptivity are key. I am hugely dependent on receiving inspiration from Holy Spirit. My inner ears need to be attuned to His leading and guiding, those soft soul whispers He brings.

I want my words to be few where an excess might be harmful. I want my words to be seasoned with salt, leavened with grace and full of God’s mercy and love. I want them to matter but not be so measured as to lose their vitality.

As a work in progress I fall far short of these lofty goals, of course. The good news is that God doesn’t give up on us. He is able to help us tame our tongues and frame our speech, written or verbal, in the light of His word.

“Jesus, today I give you my words. Would you remind me to be slow to speak, quick to listen? I want my speech to make you smile, build others up, and open doors to your love.” ~ ‘Jesus Every Day: A Journey Through the Bible in One Year’ by Mary DeMuth

Rusty as I am, I’m stepping back into these pages with courage and faith only God can supply. And with hope burning strong that the journey I am on will scatter a few seeds of hope in your soul as well.

Beginning again

my fingers are poised
I’m getting ready to write
as an act of faith
because the well has run dry
it requires priming again

my heart is racing
with hot adrenaline shots
it’s so hard to start
there is too much at stake
after such a long delay

my brain is stalling
tricky to get it going
levers are rusty
they don’t grind so easily
cogs are clogging up – they freeze

how to begin
how to brave the virgin page
how to continue
those are the problems I face
they’re stopping me in my tracks

I must simply start
there is no turning back
listen to my heart
wait for inspiration from God
it requires courage and trust
© joylenton

 

words, beginning again, tanka poem excerpt @poetryjoy.com

solo: pausing to listen and become refreshed

 

I cherish and need time alone. Solo suits me fine, especially when life overwhelms and all available energy to engage has dissipated. It recharges my failing batteries to be plugged in to God, my books and silence. Aaahh…

Except that silence is rarely, if ever, achievable, is it? Because we live in a world addicted to 24/7 activity and noise. Though if we can pause for a while, then we might hear other sounds that speak to us instead of rush and hurry.

Our own drumming heartbeat reminds us we are alive. Our own breath signals a need to slow and relax. Our ears, when attuned to silence, will pick up the slightest sound: leaves dancing, wind in the trees, rumbles from appliances, dogs barking or a solo song from a blackbird outside our home.

And when we listen to these things they speak volumes to us, revealing how we might love and crave our solo moments but we are all created for connection, for community and relationship with others, especially with God.

Solo

A solo blackbird sings into morning mistiness, his tune
dedicated to heaven’s breath and the unadulterated
joy of being alive, the sheer exultation of existence
while I sit inside a house, quietly listening, wanting
to tune my own heart to the eternal melody I can
hear heralding through an open window that is near

Yet somehow, something heavy seems to chain
me here to earth, something sitting on my soul
that presses me low, pushing me into isolation
despite the fact I am rarely alone, though often
feel as though I am, because this world is vastly
full, crammed with people, like tiny little islands

Our very individuality makes connectivity crackle
with defensiveness, and our need to curl away from
hurt and pain only makes us more vulnerable and
subject to the same, because God has created us
for togetherness, for knowing joy, hope, peace and love,
for relationship and companionship and soul friends

What we need is a holy seed to germinate and take
root within our hearts, a glimmer of grace to open
up our bounded souls, and let the light of God’s
presence permeate every part as it fills and floods
with heat and love, more than enough to set our
cold souls on fire and cause a thaw in our desires

Though alone in solo song, blackbird sings out first spring
to others, whether sister, brother or lovers, or her own
soul companions, who hear the sound as sweet music
to their ears and respond in kind with answering swift
harmony of voice and heart and mind, just as we are
created to do for one another, as God has designed
©joylenton

“Your love, GOD, is my song, and I’ll sing it!” – Psalm 89:1 ~The Message

As you relax and listen to the video clip below may it cause you to be thankful for the sweet sound of birdsong that is music to God’s ears, and usually to ours as well!  🙂

why it pays to listen carefully #thedailyhaiku 6

 

In any given day we are subject to a whole host of voices and the challenge remains: just who or what are we listening to? What is having the biggest influence on our way of thinking? Whose words are we paying attention to?

It pays to listen with discernment, due care and attention. Because what we listen to and take in ends up feeding our soul for good or ill. Maybe it’s our own sharp stabs of negativity that are shaping us, or is it the vital life and health-giving thoughts that we find in God’s Word?

Life is full of voices but the one we need to listen to most is the Voice of God as spoken in His written word and made manifest in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Our listening choices have eternal consequences for us.

I’ve struggled with my own inner critical voice and negative thoughts for years. It’s a constant battle to ignore them, requiring inner vigilance and prayer, and to replace the flawed and faulty thinking with what God’s word says about me. Perseverance and wisdom is needed to help us discern our own jaundiced thinking and the enemy’s taunts from God’s voice speaking to us.

listen carefully

life’s full of voices

choices have consequences

listen carefully

©joylenton

Lost connectivity

an unsplash image - busy bees PJ

Listening can feel like a lost art. What or who should we be listening to?

So many things clamour for our attention. So much passes us by in the endless flow, flotsam and jetsam of life.

People are busy as bees yet so often neglect to notice one another’s needs.

We have to pause, breathe slow and sift for the wheat within the tares and the gold in all we see and hear.

It takes discipline and time to focus on essentials, make room for whispers amidst the chaos. Heed the cries of the broken and despised.

Being attentive is hard in a fractured, distracted world, but people need and deserve to feel heard, to be accepted, to be loved.

One of the best ways we can help someone is to be truly present to them, be available with a listening ear and a caring heart.

To listen well, listen deep, listen with all our senses attuned to the words they say and those left unsaid.

It is part of being compassionate and kind to one another, being considerate, being human.

The poem below was written for #1000Speak – a call to compassion with a monthly theme.

This month’s #1000Speak theme is:‘Connection’, with a blog link up on May 20th. You can find out more here. Come and join us! 🙂

‘Lost connectivity’

can you hear me - WoJ file image

People are speaking

We hear

only what we want to hear

We hear

what is easy on our ears

We fail

to truly listen to deep

meaning behind

the words they speak

Each and every one,

whether they

know it

or not, is reaching out

Aching to be accepted

Longing to be loved

Craving connection

Yet so often

we switch off

Walk away

Tune them out mentally

Fail to appreciate

our shared humanity

Run scared from intimacy

and from saying

what might guide

conversation

in the right direction

Our passivity only leads to

lost connectivity

©JoyLenton2015

Maybe some of you reading these words are always giving out to others, to your own detriment. You’ve become drained, depleted and prone to compassion-fatigue.

Your fuel tank is on empty; there is nothing left in reserve. You’re burnt-out and weary beyond measure.

If so, then this could be the time to reconnect with the Source of all energy and strength Himself, the One who longs above all to make a connection with you.

God will refuel, refresh, renew and restore your soul as you rest in His unconditional love. And we all need that because we cannot give away what we do not have.

Getting plugged in to God will strengthen and equip us to live unselfish, compassionate lives with willing hearts and able minds.

blended clouds PJ

Come to Him

advent WoJ file image

‘Come’

Come to the manger

Come empty

Come dry

You have no need

God cannot supply

Come see the Christ-child

Come wonder

Come kneel

Open your heart

and God will reveal

Come hear the angels

Come listen

Come bring

Your awe, amazement

as heaven’s hosts sing

Come witness Mary

Come ponder

Come pray

Her tender devotions

will show you the way

Come away slowly

Come Hope-filled

Come changed

As you give God your life

it becomes rearranged

©JoyLenton2014

**Unless God indicates otherwise, I am taking a brief blogging break to contemplate more closely the wonder of Christ’s coming to earth, to savour the season and spend quality time with my family. It is my hope and prayer to return early in January to share the words He lays on my heart, including the One Word 365 for 2015.**

I’d like to wish my dear readers and followers a very ‘Merry Christmas’ and a ‘Happy New Year’! Thank you so much for joining me on the journey. I really appreciate you all. Blessings and love, Joy 🙂

heart change PJ pin file image

Walk of faith

file image PJ walk of faith

‘Walking’

Sometimes I want to walk

away from myself

turn my back and flee

But there’s no getting

away from it

I can’t get away from me

Although I feel a place

of cold emptiness

echoing through my heart

When I try listening close

I sense Jesus is

walking through every part

He pushes away the

darkness shelved deep inside

so that it has nowhere else

to trouble, disturb or hide

And He fills and floods

every crevice and space

with His wonderful love

and amazing grace

©JoyLenton2014

For the first time in several weeks, I am delighted to be joining here again today(a little later than planned) with Kate and friends for #fiveminutefriday and with Mel for #essentialfridays

grace file pin image PJ walk of faith

Believe and receive

busy bee PJ file image for believe and receive

As busy bees we go about our days, barely pausing to savour the moment or smell the roses.

Yet even bees pause, stop and seek out the nectar in each individual flower. They taste, enjoy, feed and then move on.

So absorbed in their task they seem heedless of distractions.

We are more likely to be easily distracted and fail to fully engage with one task before finding another to occupy us.

Shutting out the world’s noise and voice is a challenge we all have. It shouts so loud with an impatient impertinence, demanding to be heard.

But if we can find ways to draw back, step away and seek a sanctuary of silence, we are rewarded beyond measure.

Not only do we hear the outpourings of our own soul rising to the surface, we also make a spiritual white-space for God to whisper close.

And as we attune our inner ears to His voice we are in a good position to both believe and receive.

For our inner thirst and deep soul hunger can only be truly satisfied by His unconditional and eternal love.

No-one else can meet all our needs and answer the ones we haven’t even thought about, never mind prayed for as yet.

Shall we try?

Can we switch off in order to plug in to all that is essential to our health and well-being?

It will take great perseverance and persistence but it will provide far more than we ever knew we needed.

I’m willing to make way for holy moments in the mundane.

My soul seeks after God’s own heart. I crave the insights, wisdom and encouragement I receive from His word and in whispered conversations too.

I long for His touch upon my life, His healing for every wound and His mercy and grace for all my brokenness.

My body sinks weary into His embrace and finds comfort there. He holds me strong on my weakest days.

Will you join me? I hope so. Let’s take a pause from busyness and lean hard into quiet reverence instead.

God is waiting…

believe and receive poem file pin image PJ

This poem is part of my #31days of writing brave and free as I attempt to eschew perfectionism and aim for a regular outpouring of poetry or prose based on listening deeper to God’s voice. You can find out more over at my sister blog ‘Words of Joy’ where I am posting regularly too.