Unformed Possibilities

Let me ask you a question; what are the barriers you’re facing right now to all those unformed possibilities you want to lean into? You know, barriers that make you hide all that talent and gifting inside of you because you’re just too darn scared to take the next step. And yet, ironically, it’s because of all those unformed possibilities barriers are erected in the first place, muddying the creative waters, and stopping the flow. So, we find ourselves frozen, paralysed, unable to move forward because we’ve fed into the lie that the resistance we’re feeling wasn’t part of God’s plan. 

Visiting the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra the other week, I stood in front of a portrait of the Australian writer, Peter Goldsworthy. The scene was him sitting at his writing desk, staring out the window, laptop open with a blank page staring back at him. His posture was of a man deep in thought, pondering what to write. I stood there for quite some time looking at the painting, because as a writer myself, I could identify how Peter was feeling in that moment. Moving in closer, I read the blurb describing the portrait and the sentences that jumped out were, “Unformed possibilities before him” and “Alone with his imagination.” 

Creative projects, whether paintings, books, sculptures, or something else, never reveal the struggles, doubts, and barriers each artist has pushed through to achieve the finished result. The painter faces the starkness of a bare canvas, the sculpture, an untouched lump of clay in front of them, or a piece of marble or sandstone. And for the writer, it’s the blank page, or a cursor relentlessly blinking at them on a computer screen. 

Each tool desires the artist’s input as it subtlety, but oh so expectantly, echoes unformed possibilities. However, this is where the brick to each barrier is laid. Lies encircle all those unformed possibilities, triggering, crippling, and immobilizing creatives to the point of inaction. Lies that are rooted in the shame of ‘I’m not good enough’ and ‘Will people like what I’ve created’ create falsehoods that swoop into our minds like unwanted seagulls while you’re eating hot chips. Oh yes, leave a creative alone with their imagination and they’ll point out the failures way before they’ve even seen the unformed possibilities.  

 So, what do we do? Compromise, talk ourselves out of the endeavour. That scene we wanted to paint, the book we felt we should write, or the sculpture we need to form, fear causes us to lay our creative tools down, leaving behind all those unfinished projects because we dread the critic shaking their heads in disapproval of our art because we feel they are disapproving us. 

Sad to say, I have chatted with many creatives who have allowed unformed possibilities to get the better of them. Each possibility is a barrier that limits and restricts instead of inspiring and encouraging their creativity. A fear so debilitating that they never start anything let alone complete something because the fear of failure chains their minds. 

Does any of what I’m saying ring true? If you’re feeling the weight of unformed possibilities, I get where you’re coming from. As a writer, I don’t know if anyone wants to read my books when the manuscript is finished and it goes to the printers to get published. However, I’ve learned to push past those self-limiting beliefs and lies because I don’t put my faith in my ability, I put my faith in God’s ability to see the promises of my life come true. 

Perhaps the hall of fame found in Hebrews 11 can help you out of the creative funk you’ve ended up in, so you’re able to take every unformed possibility by the horns, commit yourself to a project and move forward to see it to completion.  

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. It was by faith that our forebears were approved. Through faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God; everything we now see was fashioned from that which is invisible.’  [Hebrews 11:1-3] 

 Did you let that verse sink in? Faith helps us to see invisible things, assures us of the things we have hoped for, and a conviction of a reality we’ve never seen. Paintings, books, and sculptures are all in the artist’s mind before others see them. A creative makes visible what is invisible because they have the faith that every unformed possibility is a step closer to what they envisioned.

The writer of Hebrews 11 gives example after example of people in the Old Testament who saw unformed possibilities as proof their faith in God could be trusted. Each character’s profile starts with two words, ‘By faith’ and regardless of their trials and struggles they viewed each unformed possibility as a mark that they were destined for someplace else. 

I want to say that I have faced resistance on each one of my writing projects because the enemy doesn’t want the message of my books to help others unravel his schemes. He has tried his best to cap, limit, and unnerve me, in the hope I’ll quit and stop writing altogether.

And yet, two published books into this writing journey, and hundreds of blog posts later, I still have those unformed possibilities staring at me from the blank page on my computer screen, as the cursor relentlessly blinks at me to create something worthy of reading. However, I don’t buy into the lie anymore that they are barriers. For me, they are lights along the path.

Also, I don’t rely on myself anymore. I don’t believe it’s my abilities that produce the books so many of my readers enjoy. It’s the Giver of my gifts I owe all the credit to, and when I lean into that thought, I’m off the hook in creating word after word that will eventually produce a book. Don’t get me wrong, I still face challenges, but I now see unformed possibilities as stepping stones toward something great rather than a wall built to keep me contained. 

To think this was a blank page and is now filled with an encouraging blog post titled ‘Unformed Possibilities’ was because I decided that you’re worth the effort. You’re worth the time it’s taken me to tap into my creativity and lean into the unformed possibilities to write something to help you win the day.

I want you to know that you’re not alone in the struggle.  

After reading that last part, I do hope that all those unformed possibilities now feel like pathways carved out for you to follow God’s promises in your life rather than barriers and roadblocks that stunt your creative thinking. Let’s start getting excited about every unformed possibility ahead of us and tell intimidation, fear of failure, and each one of those limiting, glass-ceiling thoughts to go take the high road. 

Remember, the One who is a barrier-breaking, possibility-making, shame-taking, Creator of the whole Universe is cheering you on in each faith step you take. Whether it’s a creative project or something else you need to face, take comfort in knowing that every perceived failure, each unformed possibility, is a chance for God to draw you ever closer to Him. 

Wendy xo 

What are the barriers you’re facing right now that have left you frozen, paralysed, and unable to move forward because you’ve fed into the lie that the resistance you’re feeling wasn’t part of God’s plan? 

Author

Wendy Parker

Comments (2)

  1. Susan H
    February 9, 2024

    Thank you, Wendy; keep writing!

    • Wendy Parker
      March 3, 2024

      Thanks, Susan. Your encouragement is appreciated.

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