Do you ever feel like you’re running around on a hamster wheel that is going nowhere and there is no rest in sight? That’s a classic sign it’s time to feed your soul.
What does it mean to feed your soul? Inside each of us there is a longing for meaning. When we do those things that bring us meaning, it feeds our souls.
So how do we find what will bring us meaning?
The best way I have found to feed my soul is to create something.
When I think about how the Creator of the universe created us in His image, I am convinced we were made to create. If you look around, from buildings to songs, there is no shortage of human creations.
But sometimes we can forget about this creative part of ourselves. We can get stuck running on that hamster wheel, not taking the time to create or not realizing we have the power to do so.
When we fail to create, we starve our souls. On the contrary, when we exercise our creativity in the ways we are gifted to, we feed our souls.
Interestingly, creativity, is at the top of Maslo’s Heirarchy of Needs Pyramid but many artists of old have been compelled to create despite not having their fundamental needs met first, as Maslo's Pyramid suggests.
They created because they needed to create in order to feed their souls.
I think of Jewel, who lived in her car in San Diego where she would write songs. In her case, the foundational needs for shelter and family on Maslo's Pyramid were unmet but the creativity that lit her up inside could not be contained. She created despite her need for shelter.
You Can Create Something Intangible
Creativity does not always equate to a tangible product. Sometimes, creation is more abstract, like creating a solution to a people problem by listening to a friend and offering wise counsel.
Other times our creations are more performance based, like an actor's ability to create emotion or a runner's ability to create a spectacle for a race. I love the quote from Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire as it relates to how running feeds his soul:
“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure”Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire
But I'm Not Creative
I know what you're thinking because I thought the same thing once. "I'm not the creative type. I have no artistic talent. I don't create anything". My journey to realizing that I had creative ability did not come until late in my life.
My brother and sister can look at anything and draw an exact freehand replica. They can sculpt images out of stone and clay. They can paint murals with beautiful works of art. I can do none of those things.
In fact, one of my most vivid failures as an artist was in 9th grade when I attempted to draw a picture of our family sitting at the dinner table for an art assignment. I had to have my 6 year old sister help me fix it because I drew everyone's heads facedown in their plates.
Because I couldn’t draw or sculpt like them, I spent most of my life resolved to the fact that my brother and sister got all of the art talent in the family and that I was just not creative. But this wasn’t true.
The truth was that my definition of creativity was all wrong. I had limited it to “art” and limited “art” to things like drawing and painting. When I came to realize that we are all creators, I began to see what it is that I am gifted to create.
Through this process I understood that I create with words. I write and I speak. Using words and inflection to create mental pictures and draw in audiences is an art form that I did not recognize as creativity in the past.
You are creative, even if you don’t think you are. There is something that you are good at, that when you do it, it feeds your soul.
Do What Makes You Feel Alive
The quickest way to discover what brings meaning to your soul is to do something that makes you feel alive.
What makes me feel most alive is teaching the Bible to kids. Watching their eyes light up when they hear the stories for the first time and helping them to see God through their child-sized lenses is a great joy to me.
Every time I teach, I am encouraged, empowered, strengthened and reminded what child-like faith looks like.
Another thing that makes me feel alive is dancing. Learning to express movement to music is something I love to do. Taking a JAM class with Coach Neda in Malibu leaves me feeling like I can conquer the world.
If you’re stuck on what makes you feel alive, try completing the following statement for yourself:
I feel most alive when…
Creative Outlet Suggestions
Maybe a better way to phrase it is "what is your creative outlet?" It can help to discover where your creativity lies by seeing a list of suggestions. If you’re having a hard time identifying what your creative gifting is, have a look at the below list of thought-starters and see if that helps you identify something creative that would feed your soul.
- Playing an Instrument
- Playing a sport
- Horseback Riding
- Dog Training
Once you find that thing you love to do and begin creating, you will know it because it will set your soul on fire.
What If No One Likes What I Create?
When it comes to feeding your soul, you must create for the joy it brings you, not for the purpose of gaining the approval of others, otherwise you negate the process. You must enjoy the process of the activity and appreciate it for the way it fills up your own spiritual tank. If once you’ve created it you want to share it with others, that’s great, but don’t let that be your soul care purpose.
For example, I read about a writer who wrote for fitness and health publications for money but writing was his creative outlet too. On the side, he’d write sports articles just because he enjoyed writing them but he wasn’t being paid.
I’ve experienced this myself with writing poetry. I find it therapeutic sometimes to just be alone with my thoughts and write songs or poems to express how I am feeling. Most of those poems I have never shared but writing them served me well in feeding my soul over the years. Here is one of my songs that I have shared before if you’re interested, you can hover over the left corner of the bar below and click to have a listen.
Here’s a tip:
It doesn’t matter if others do not find value in your creative work. Consider that others did not find value in Van Gogh paintings until long after he was dead, but that didn’t stop him from creating them, despite his own suffering. In fact, it was in the midst of his suffering in an asylum in France that he painted the now famous Starry Night which incredibly depicts a visual representation of turbulence, one of the most difficult concepts in physics.
Create because you were created to do so and as you do what you were created to do, you will find your soul is nourished.
We were all created to create. The best thing you can do to feed your soul is to create something. You can follow these 3 steps to feed your soul:
- Ask yourself "what makes you feel alive?"
- Don't limit creative expression to art alone.
- Create for your own enjoyment, not the approval of others.
As you do begin to create, you will find that your life doesn't feel so hamster-ish anymore.
Welcome to Honey & Figs! I'm Lisa. I love helping people with practical ways to live more abundant lives based on my own experience. You can click here to find out more about me.
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