Looking for Inspiration
By Peter Amsterdam
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Inspiration is a wonderful, God-created thing. It is intangible but powerful. Some synonyms for inspiration are encouragement, enthusiasm, genius, insight, vision, awakening, creativity, spark, spur, and stimulation.
Inspiration infuses you with renewed zest for life. It influences, moves, or guides you to action. It provides a fire in your soul, so to speak. We all have times when we hit the inspiration skids; when we not only lack inspiration, but might even doubt that we’ll ever feel inspired again.
Maybe you’re facing a big challenge at your workplace. Perhaps one of your children is going through a rough patch and you’re overcome with worry. If you just had some unexpected expenses and your finances are tapped out, that can bring a lot of anxiety. Or maybe you have become estranged from a close friend or loved one and you feel awash in guilt and sadness. Or maybe nothing “bad” has happened but you just feel flat. Without inspiration.
When you feel like you’ve lost inspiration, or lost hope, or are just feeling so very blah, like the wind has gone out of your sails and you don’t know how you’re going to get it back, there are some things that can help. God, in His foresight and great love for us, created many things that can serve as sparks to boost our sense of personal happiness and well-being and reignite our inspiration flame.
Whether you’re trying to make it through a tough spot or seeking creative inspiration for a project, these sources of inspiration can serve as recharging stations to your spirit.
> Reading God’s Word is paramount. The Bible is a direct source of divine inspiration. Jeremiah said of God’s Word: “Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart.”1 Communing with God should be your first priority when your inspiration has run dry and you need spiritual renewal. The truest and deepest inspiration comes when we are in relationship with our Creator. This results in the wonderful “joy of the Lord” referred to in the Bible, the inspiration that does not fade.2
Meditating and reflecting on God’s Word, and the writings of other inspired Christians, brings faith and focus to your spirit. Spending time in worship and adoration can also be a powerful way to lift your spirit.
> Friendship is not to be overlooked. Good company and fellowship are central to a happy life. We all need the support of others, and most of life’s best experiences are shared with those we love. And when we’re feeling low or facing hard times, friends are even more important. If you find yourself living far away from your friends and it’s not easy to have face-to-face fellowship, it works to pick up the phone or have a Skype call to keep in touch. True friends not only provide support, they also inspire us to be our best selves. Friends encourage us to keep going. They remind us that the best is yet to come, and that if we hang in there, we’ll pull through, as we have so many times before.
> Nature is a magnificent source of inspiration. God’s creation is a constant and amazing proof of His power and design. Not only is nature, in its many forms, breathtakingly beautiful; it also showcases God’s power and His love for humankind. The majesty of creation is an ever-present reminder that the God who made everything is sovereign and more than capable of caring for every burden, fear, worry, and prayer that we entrust to Him. When we are reminded of that great truth, we can more easily cast our cares on God,3 which can result in a lightening of our spirits and a sense of inspiration and hope for the future.
> Seek out good news. This is an effective way to lift your spirit. As the verse says, “Whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”4
You can pay more attention to the good news in your life by pausing in the morning or evening to think about the things you’re grateful for and noting them in your gratitude journal. Science shows that people who keep a gratitude journal or make a practice of counting their blessings are happier and more content.
> Appreciate the arts: music, painting, sculpture, literature, dance, photography. There are countless beautiful expressions of human creative skill, and when we take time to appreciate these things, we can be inspired and uplifted.
> Enjoy life’s simple gifts. It doesn’t always take something significant or amazing to boost your mood. One small thing enjoyed fully at just the right time can have a big effect. Like a hot shower. A perfect cappuccino. A kiss from a child or grandchild. Vine-ripened tomatoes in a fresh salad. An ice-cold glass of water.
There are countless small gifts that we receive daily from God and others that can bring us a lot of joy and a sense of well-being if we are mindful of them.
> Stay alive with exercise. Science has proven that exercise is good for your body and your emotional and mental health. It’s a mood-booster. So when your inspiration is lagging, get your body moving. I’ll admit, this isn’t always something that I feel eager to do, especially if my mood is a little blah or I’m feeling tired. But once I’ve done it, I feel energized and generally more inspired.
>Try something new! New scenery and new activity bring new inspiration, so when you can, do new things, explore new places. Break out of your routines. New environments can bring new insights. God made each of us to be creative in some way, and activating your creative processes through learning something new can both be enjoyable and can open a pathway to new inspiration. Do something you haven’t done before. Consider a new hobby.
> Make time for silence. God made us to need quiet. We need white space in our lives. We have to schedule time for God. We have to carve out “me time.” Sometimes we just need to shut down our devices and unplug, and get away from all the hustle and bustle and seek out silence.
You can gain a sense of purpose and joy from times of quiet, thought, reflection, prayer, and communion with God. Sometimes we need to think about our lives, where life is headed, and what our goals are. Many people shy away from being alone or being in a place of quiet or silence. If you feel that way, I encourage you that a place of silence can be the birthplace of fresh hope, renewed priorities, new perspectives, and godly inspiration.
Each of us is different. And at different times in your life, different things can help to boost your inspiration, to rekindle the flame, so to speak. So while you may have your “go-to” inspiration primers, don’t get stuck in a rut. Try new things! Let’s keep ourselves open to the many beautiful ways in which we can be renewed.
Don’t fret or despair if you’re going through a dry spell, or if you don’t seem to be bouncing back as quickly as you had hoped. If you’re in that place right now, God wants you to reach out to Him, trust in His promises, and have patience, regardless of your feelings or low inspiration level. Sometimes we feel inspired and sometimes we don’t, but we can always trust in the promise of Isaiah 40:31 that heavenly inspiration will come: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”5
I find those words “soar on wings like eagles” to be a beautiful picture of inspiration and freedom from the cares of the world that threaten to pull us down.
We can bank on God’s promises, on His unconditional and never-ending love for us.
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV).
Isn’t it wonderful to know that you are in God’s hands? That He wants you to prosper and to have hope? We can draw great peace and inspiration from the assurance that we are in His strong, capable, and loving hands.
Originally published September 2014. Adapted and republished June 2017.
Read by Jerry Paladino.