As I said in my newsletter a week or two ago, I’ve been listening to Emily P. Freeman’s, The Next Right Thing podcast recently. Woven through the words she shares each Tuesday, one thread stands out strong, courageous, and a little audacious in our modern, “go, go, go—do, do, do” society.
As she puts it in the opening to most of her podcasts,
This is a podcast for the second-guessers, the chronically hesitant, or anyone who suffers from decision fatigue. This is also a place for those of you who may just need a little white space or a few minutes away from the constant stream of information or the sometimes delightful but also distracting hum of entertainment.
You long for thoughtful story, a little prayer, and simple next right step. If this is you, you’re in the right place… you can be sure that everything I write or speak about will always have one goal in mind—to help you create space for your soul to breathe so that you can discern your next right thing.”
One advantage to a fifteen-or-so-minute podcast is that you take in information in bite-sized chunks. Unless you’re like me and binge-listen two or three episodes a night while you catch up on missed episodes, this gives you a whole week to process and apply anything that you like to your life before the next nuggets appear.
This is also a disadvantage.
Because, see, no matter how carefully organized each element of the podcast is, spread out like that makes it difficult to see the whole picture—to get a feeling of where you’re going.
I can’t help but note a continuing thread in the things that just “happen” to be “falling into my lap” lately. Call it what you will, but to me they feel like “Divine nudges.” I can’t say with absolute certainty that the Lord slapped me upside the head with Emily’s podcast and said, “Listen herein.”
I will say that I thanked Him for opening my eyes to her gentle wisdom. And what’s more, I found her a few months after requesting a review copy of a book that sounded intriguing. A Life of Creative Purpose.
“That’s me!” I may not have said it aloud, but I thought it. That’s what I long for. In fact, it’s what fueled Willow Finley’s life! I had to read this book.
It’s an easy read, and I read it in record time. Before sitting down to share my thoughts, I did my nightly “Jericho walk” around the Lighthouse and listened to Episode 27 of The Next Right Thing podcast.
Once again, it felt like the Lord threw up a flashing marquee.
“Look at this!” it read. In that podcast, Stop Rushing Clarity, Emily talks about how we approach things that we need to decide. What we should give up for a time. What we should trust the Lord with and plow ahead. How clarity isn’t always there before we begin, but the Lord is.
It tied in with so many things from A Life of Creative Purpose, that I had to share it. Together they paint a beautiful picture.
Be willing to give up what you want. Also, be willing to take it up again when the Lord says it’s time. In that book, I discovered a few things I have to share. I discovered…
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Additionally, I requested a review copy of this book and chose to share what I thought of it.
4 Purposeful Ways You Can Change Your Life
One of the most beautiful concepts in A Life of Creative Purpose is the idea that our deepest desires might also be where God is calling us to obedience. We may long to write, to sculpt, to design, to create… and God may expect these of us. After all, He gave us the skills, talents, and those desires.
Yes, T. H. Meyer reminds us that sometimes He asks us to give them up for a time. Be prepared, she warns with the voice of experience. He may ask to take them up again.
So many times in my life I’ve read and heard people say that the Lord asks us to give up this or that. And while there is that parable of the talents that some reference in regard to giftings from the Father, often one theme overshadows all others.
God wants you to sacrifice your dreams on the altar of obedience and walk away.
Don’t get me wrong. I have seen Him do that in my life and others. He fulfilled the words of the Psalmist when He said, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) He took away desires that weren’t right for me and gave me new, bolder ones.
But he also resurrected buried ones I’d forgotten about.
That’s the first purposeful way you can change your life: embrace the desires God puts on your heart.
The second one is similar and opposite at the same time: embrace who God created you to be.
The author tells the story of her discovering what her spiritual giftings are. She didn’t like it—didn’t want it. But she did what we all need to be able to do. I don’t know how long it took, but one of those giftings was teaching. Through this book, she shows obedience to the gifting the Lord gave her in writing and in teaching.
The third purposeful change you can make in your life is something I don’t know the author meant to teach in her book. She talks about her journey to understand what it meant to be a woman in God’s kingdom. Look, I don’t even know if I agree with her conclusions because she only gives glimpses of the direction her studies went. What I do know I agree with is that next purposeful change: embrace the answers that God has already provided for you in His Word.
We so often look for some kind of special revelation from God.
Like Gideon, His Word isn’t enough for us. We do that, “Well, if You really want me to mentor those younger women in the faith, then write it on my bedroom wall.” Sometimes we’re a little less fantastical and say things more like, “Make all six of them come up to me and ask on the same day.”
Then, like Gideon, if God grants our ridiculous demands, we say, “And have the women’s ministry leader ask, too.”
Because His admonition through Paul of, “I want the older women to teach the younger women to…” isn’t enough for us.
T. H. Meyer had a question, and instead of asking for extra-Biblical revelation to confirm something, she went to the Word and dug through it. Doing that will change your life if you’ll let it.
The fourth purposeful way to change your life is something else that the author didn’t stress, but I took away from the book nonetheless. Embrace in Whose image you were created.
God is many things, but one thing we often forget is that He is a Creator. We were created in the image of a Divine Creator. It is within us, deeply hidden in some of us, but within all of us to create. Something.
For my husband, it is computer code. That’s creativity. For others, it might be a clean environment. Yet others envision beauty from nothing and reproduce what their minds’ eyes saw that the rest of us couldn’t imagine.
Nope. Not jealous at all.
Okay, that’s a lie. I often say that I’m not creative. By that, I mean that I’m not original in my creativity. I am more of a re-creator. My talents lie in taking what others have done and redesigning it and repurposing it into my own version. Sometimes it looks nothing like the inspiration. And sometimes that’s even intentional!
But in the soft, quiet moments when it’s just me and the Lord—at those times when I can really listen—I remember. All artists are imitators of The Artist of all.
And when we live lives of creative purpose, we’re only doing what we were created to do.
So, what did I think of the book?
A Life of Creative Purpose is told in the manner in which I learn best—story. From the opening tale of the author shredding her life’s creative work, to the last question on the last page designed to get and keep you thinking, the book holds your attention. Through its pages, you make a friend of a woman who is so very much like people we meet every day.
So very much like ourselves.
Each short chapter holds a purpose, and you find that not only in the chapter’s story, but also in the questions that follow. These questions probe your thoughts and sometimes poke festering sores. If you let them, they’ll help clean out the infection and move you toward healing.
T.H. Meyer offers action steps, and at the end of the book, if you still need help, she tells you how you can contact her for coaching your creative life.
Look, I’ve seen similar things before and it made me feel as though the book was designed as bait to lure me into the “real” product. That is not the case with this book.
Written as both an encouraging help and a creative memoir, A Life of Creative Purpose not only gives you direction and a goal, but it offers a gentle reminder.
We were put here for a purpose. Sometimes we don’t know what to do with that purpose, but here it is in all its raw glory. And this book offers help taking those first steps in finding that purpose.
The book isn’t full of shocking new ideas that’ll revolutionize your life.
Instead, it offers a fresh approach to reminding us of those things we should know and often forget.
Recommended for people who are looking for direction, clarity, and the reminder that they are not alone. I had a couple of quibbles that never fully materialized. I don’t know where the author stands on God speaking to us outside the Word or women’s roles in the kingdom of God, but she gave enough hints that I suspect I might not agree with all her conclusions.
But T.H. Meyer did something brilliant.
She left those for a different book. The conclusions weren’t relevant points to the purpose of her book. The point was the journey in seeking and searching. For that, I thank her.
I just wish she’d put more emphasis on an actual Biblical translation rather than a paraphrase. That was difficult to look past.
Those bothered by typos should note that there was at least one rogue apostrophe and a consistent capitalizing of the names of trees ( “Elm” and “Oak”) where they shouldn’t have been. It was just off enough to make me take notice, but nothing misspelled etc. It is also possible that I have an ARC and the available copy on Amazon doesn’t have these in them.
Super minor and only mentioning it because I know it bothers some.
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