• Dana L. Butler

When a Creative Block Is Divine {in which I quit resisting resistance}

The house is dark this morning as I make my way downstairs to the kitchen for my morning cuppa “a little coffee with my cream.”

Warm mug in hand, I traipse sleepily back up to the second floor of our old house, down the hall, and into our “guest nest” — this closetless tiny bit of a room into which we’ve miraculously squeezed our queen sized spare bed, a trunk, and a bedside table. It’s the coziest room of the house, and how I need the silence it holds.

I’ve been quiet lately, here in my online space. Opened my laptop time and again, prepared to write, only to have the words not come. Or to have them start, stop, start again, and then fade — to just ugh.

I told a friend several days ago I feel “creatively constipated,” and we laughed, but truly? For an artist of any medium, I’d venture a guess that there aren’t many worse things to feel.

So silence has been my abode in recent days, and I think I’ve discovered why “creative constipation” can feel so terrible: it provokes fear. How quickly I slip into fear that my creative heart may be bound up forever.

But gradually, in these days of silence, a shift has occurred in my heart. I’ve moved from internally kicking and screaming, trying to fight my current artistic block — to giving in to it.

I’m learning to trust God’s continual moving, the brooding of His Spirit inside me [even when I can’t clearly articulate what He’s doing], and leaning into His commitment to eventually birth the beauty He’s knitting together piece by tender piece in my depths.

Something inside me has quit resisting and hunkered down for this season. I’m beginning to let go of the need to make something “creative” happen, whether it’s to produce content for my blog, or write a song. I’ve quit trying to push [because perhaps my pushing has been premature?], and I’ve nestled right up next to the Hand that’s seemed to “block” my art.

I’m learning to lean into the feeling of “stuckness,” instead of beating myself black and blue by slamming repeatedly up against it, desperately seeking a path under or over or around it.

When inspiration is halted by the fierceness of God’s commitment to your heart, there isn’t any way to move around the block. You have to walk through it. Slowly.

Embrace the silence, Dana. Open yourself to Mystery. Desire. Hunger. Rest. Trust the movement of my Hand in your heart in this season. Quit *trying* so hard, and lean into Me.

And as I lean into this season instead of resisting the resistance, I can feel it coming — a deeper unlocking of my soul.

Eternity in Our Hearts

So in these days while I’ve been quiet, I’ve listened to music that makes my soul quiver with longing. I’ve read books that breathe to life my heart’s burning to co-create with Him.

I’ve dug into my depths, answered hard questions, and at the Holy Spirit’s insistence, I’ve invited Stan to see more fully into the “deep unto deep” waters of my heart. Into my “artist womb.”

There’s a merging of creative rivers that’s coming for Stan and me — we both sense it. And the power of it — along with the inability to fully see how it’ll play out — almost frightens me.

I’m exhilarated by this holy whisper of something’s coming — a life-together-in-God that’s bigger and deeper and more anointed than I’ve dreamed — yet I’m simultaneously terrified of the vulnerability it’ll require. [I’ll say more about this in a future post.]

But I’m workin’ on my brave, saying yes both to Jesus and to Stan as they partner to draw out my truest heart. We’re walking deeper together, the three of us. Stan and me, and the God whose heart is the Origin of all creativity.

I drive down the road these days, music playing and heart stirring, and I find Him moving me deeper into mystery. I’m drawn to more acutely notice my quieter longings, the ones that often ebb and swell undetected beneath the surface of my busy life.

I’m slowing down to pay closer attention to the way art can in an instant connect me profoundly with eternity.


It’s been so set inside me — rock solid yet so mysterious. I sense its presence in my depths now more clearly than before — the way it’s marked my soul. The way it beats its holy rhythm in my chest, the way it burns in my bones.

And these days, instead of freaking out when I find myself unable to create art that will even remotely begin to do it justice, I’m learning to lie down in green pastures, to find rest in Him. To wait.

To be still and let the beating and the burning gradually work their way deeper into my soul.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  -Ecclesiastes 3:11

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