Fiona continues our “Creating Space for Life in the Midst of Lockdown” series, sharing the helpful practice that has emerged for her during this time.
In common with a lot of artistic people, I oscillate between order and chaos. I work best with the discipline of a deadline, and when I’m stressed I find myself with an overwhelming urge to clear the decks and begin again. But I spend much of life lurching from one event to the next, squeezing one more thing into my diary because it sounds like a really interesting opportunity and often miss what God is doing.
Order and chaos.
It’s a myth that all creative people are disorganised. In fact their whole lives are taken up with creating order, making sense, deriving meaning from the chaos they observe and experience. The oscillation is just part of the deal.
But since lockdown all the appointments, engagements and events have been taken away, and creative adaptability has become a highly prized commodity. I’ve had to rethink my pace of life, and I’ve found it hugely liberating to impose some rhythm and structure on this more settled existence.
Over the past year, God has taken me on a journey of bringing order out of my chaos, gently helping me to find focus about my work. He’s shown me how to celebrate achievements rather than critically pick over all the details of what I could have done better. He’s brought clarity to my ambitions and plans, as I’ve sought to discern the right from the good.
It’s been great, and I was celebrating how far I’ve come (see, I’m learning…) and then lockdown hit. Enforced clearing of the diary. Inability to jump in the car and whizz off to the next gig. Hour after hour of sitting at a table in my bedroom.
Could there be more to learn? More intimacy to be found?
From before the beginning of lockdown I decided that I could help the artistic community by posting an encouraging thought each day, something that would be helpful for people adapting to a new season of work and creativity. I decided to publish it on all the Foolproof social platforms, and include a word, a verse, a photo and a couple of sentences. What has emerged has been an online chronicle of my lockdown journey with God. Each day I invite Jesus to show me something and give me a word. As I process this through by writing the thought, I find Scripture comes to mind, sometimes obscure, sometimes on the nose, always pertinent to where my heart is, a timely reminder of God’s love, presence and sovereignty.
I’ve tried to be honest, to allow people to eavesdrop on my conversation with the Lord, not to shy away from the challenge of the days when I grieve or feel angry, when I need help. But also to proclaim the joy and the gratitude that I experience in other moments. And so, from the chaos of my thoughts, feelings, and responses, God is creating order for me, and graciously allowing that to be overheard by others.
Feel free to listen in if you like, or start your own online chronicle.
Fiona Stewart is a writer and performer based in Glasgow. She is the Creative Director of Foolproof Creative Arts, an arts charity that aims to resource the church and develop Christian performers. She is also a regular contributor on BBC Radio and hosts two podcasts, Hollow + Substantial, and The Outspoken Bible.