Coming Up For Air

“How do you come up with all the ideas?” This is the most asked question I get asked as a writer. Trying to be cutting-edge, innovative, and inspiring is the underlying current of what drives the vision and productivity of many creatives. For a writer, it’s the daily word count and incomplete manuscripts. For a painter, it’s a collection of unfinished canvases and formless pictures, and for songwriters, it’s undeveloped, unperfected melodies that just don’t seem to evolve. So today, if you’re finding that you’ve become immersed in the murky waters of weariness and fatigue, creatively speaking, then perhaps this is the moment you decide you’re coming up for air.          

If we use the metaphor of drowning just for a moment, by definition drowning is caused by suffocation due to submersion. Regardless of your field of work, not one of us can feel particularly creative when we’re face down and submerged in too much stress and anxiety. When we’re under the pump we dream of a desert island experience where we can be left alone and have the space to think. The idea of swinging from a hammock between two coconut trees on an isolated beach seems like heaven on earth when you’re suffocating in a sea of unproductivity. 

So, how do we come up for air? What is the secret if we’re unable to enjoy the oasis of calm in a small piece of desert island paradise? Mark Sayers suggests that “When we withdraw, we learn new movements. We move from striving to abiding, from competing to communing, from broadcasting to being.” Ah yes, abiding. Something I have been practising these past few weeks and it has certainly helped me come up for air.

Taking a breather from trying to always be creatively cool and clever by allowing myself to open up to the ventilation of deliberate and intentional time spent with Jesus, has brought me into an atmosphere that has slowly suffocated my constant need to strive, to compete, to approve, and to broadcast my achievements. Abiding brings me back to the place of just being, and that is enough for Jesus.

As I’ve been resting in the scriptures, I have found that John 15:4 has helped in my coming up for air. ‘Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me.’ 

 I think we can overcomplicate coming up for air in our illusion of a deserted island that promises our need for escape. However, Jesus isn’t asking us to disappear somewhere where we can be left to our own devices, He’s asking us to withdraw and abide in Him and with Him. Our connection to a lifesaver is key when we’re drowning, and Jesus wants to be present in every area of our lives. 

When we abide in Jesus an authenticity surfaces and we can honestly take each step with courage and boldness because we are connected to Him. Abiding doesn’t happen by chance it’s intentional and purposeful and when we keep immersing ourselves in that space with Jesus something changes on the inside of us.

For me, to have the ability to write is my gift from God and I try my best to steward it well and cultivate the hard work and discipline it takes to create books and blog posts. And yet, I can drown in the pressure to keep coming up with new things, new ideas and to write it all in a way that is cool and clever. This is why abiding with Jesus is vital to my work as I have learned to sense when I feel overwhelmed creatively and the need to use clever words outweighs the motive to inspire and encourage. So, I come up for air, withdraw, and connect, abiding once again to the Vine so my work is bringing good fruit. 

Perhaps reading this post you’ve suddenly realised that you have been drowning in something for a while and never noticed your lungs were filling up with liquid. The thought of swimming toward the fresh air and abiding in Jesus has possibly felt too hard as your energy levels have been depleted because you’re gasping for breath.

Let me help you out here, dear friend. Abide, abide, abide and you’ll find you’re coming up for air happens more frequently. When you’re connected to the Vine you learn a new movement and find the air and space to breathe as you immerse yourself in God’s grace, mercy, and love. This takes the pressure off yourself to produce the fruit.

For it’s not how cool or clever our creativity appears to be, it’s allowing our creative gifts to keep coming up for air and into an atmosphere that is deliberate and intentional in abiding with Jesus. And when we make abiding a priority in our lives, the by-product is more creative fruit!  

Wendy xo 

 ‘Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me.’  John 15:4


Wendy Parker

Comments (2)

  1. Jess
    July 12, 2023

    ABIDE… So simple yet easily forgotten! Well said Wendy.

    • Wendy Parker
      July 14, 2023

      Yes! Thanks, Jess.

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