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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When Ideas Flow

What do you think about when given a free moment? Are there problems you find yourself solving whether or not you are asked? When do ideas flow, and what are they about? The way you answer these questions can tell you a lot about the direction your life wants to take you.

Recently in a Make a Living, Have a Life Group a 30-something woman named Katie was talking about an invitation she received to be on a web committee for a local nonprofit. Even as she was deciding whether or not to say “yes,” she had all kinds of thoughts about the work of the committee. Almost as an aside, she said to our group, “Yea, the ideas always flow around that stuff for me.”

As group facilitator, I subtly blew my air horn and sent up a signal flare. These Have a Life calls are designed to help people find work that is more connected with their meaning and passion. Katie had just identified an important trail marker on that path.

Ideas usually flow most naturally and abundantly around things to which we feel called. It is as if there is a spring of creativity that is constantly renewing itself. We don’t even have to try—as Katie says, the ideas just come. The opposite is true as well.

Yesterday I was in my back yard doing a simple carpentry project. It didn’t take me long to get in trouble. I just don’t have a lot of imagination when it comes to building projects. I can usually stumble my way through without stapling myself to a fence, but clearly the idea fountain is neither abundant nor renewing when I am doing carpentry. But today when it came time to think about a retreat and writing project, the ideas came rolling out. I didn’t really have to even try—they are just there gurgling up.

Implementing ideas is a whole other topic, and one that usually does involve blood, sweat and sometimes a few tears. But paying attention to the places in our lives where we have ideas flowing without even trying—that is a trail marker worth noticing.


  1. My son, the unpublished songwriter, recently told me that it took him a long time to recognize that everyone didn't have tunes and lyrics welling up like he does. He moved to Nashville because he didn't want to grow old and regret he didn't.

  2. I just got back from 11 days in Guatemala on the Lumunos Faith At Work Pilgrimage... the days were long with lots of hard work and numerous "strange" beds and long bus rides and my co-worker said I looked younger and really refreshed... go figure... I love every second of the experience!