Yesterday I was sixteen.

Not really, but it certainly feels like I blinked my eyes and went from wide-eyed dreamer to coffee slogging Mama, and the years in between sometimes blend together in a humorous reel of days-gone-by.

I remember sixteen well. It was all angst and Alanis Morisette. It was simultaneously knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life while having no clue what I would do with my life. Sixteen was ripped jeans and boys – toe rings and too much make up. Sixteen was the world at my fingertips without a care in the world, and stress at all the unknowns that seemed to loom before me.

Sixteen was the first time I dreamed of becoming a writer. 

The pages of my journal fluttered as I poured out stories, heartache, disappointment and hope. I wrote poems and songs (bad ones, all of them). I wrote short stories and devotionals. I wanted my life to mean something. I wanted to leave a legacy, but at sixteen I didn’t really know what a legacy was.

I thought it meant fame, and maybe a little fortune thrown in for good measure. Legacy sounded like my name in glittering lights. It sparkled with possibility, flashed with grandeur.

This is what I thought it meant: To be inspired, I would have to be an inspiration. I would become someone that others (the world, perhaps?) would look to and think, “Wow. She’s got it going on.

Then I grew up, and somehow growing up seemed to take a longer time than it should have. I quit looking for confirmation of my gifts in whether or not people knew my name, and I started simply living the life that stood before me in the day to day. I quit looking for the approval of the world, and accepted the approval of One.

I quit seeking to be an inspiration. Instead, I simply looked to be inspired.

Inspired: outstanding or brilliant in a way or to a degree suggestive of divine inspiration.

Life Inspired

The word “inspired” can be a bit ambiguous. I mean, what does it actually mean to live an inspired life? The sixteen-year-old me thought for sure she knew – that girl with the Sun-In blonde hair, torn hippie jeans, and clunky Doc Martens. She knew – knew – that her life would be inspired, and thus an inspiration.

Bless her.

The thirty-six-year-old version of me is less sure of the meaning behind living inspired, but I have some thoughts. I’ve traded my hippie jeans for a pair of yoga pants, and my Doc Martens for a more practical pair of flip flops, and I’ve traded my over-confidence in the area of living inspired for a more humble approach to seeking inspiration.

I do still enjoy a little Alanis Morisette, though. For old time’s sake…

– God, the Master Creator, has painted this world with inspiration beyond anything that we, in our human capabilities could ever hope to create, and yet in His goodness, He’s given each of us the ability to tap into His creative powers. It is because of His inspiration that we are able to live inspired. Inspiration is divine.

– We are each created with an innate ability to draw inspiration from our daily surroundings. Yesterday I got my hair done (no more Sun-In for me, thankyouverymuch), and as my friend, and hair stylist, colored my hair I marveled at her ability to create.

“Hair stylists are artists,” I said as she literally painted strokes in my hair. “You’re just using a different canvas.”

Inspiration comes in all forms, not just in the arts. The greatest inventors in history were inspired to create. Advances in medicine are inspired by the great minds of science. All people are inspired – the canvas on which we create is just different.

– Inspiration is innate. You can’t force someone to live a life inspired because “it is suggestive of divine inspiration.” As a mother, I find that my job is not to inspire my children, but to point them toward inspiration. Through the act of creating, of reading, of playing, of laughing, of living, of exploring, of loving, my children will see and feel the inspiration of the Creator.

It will be divine, this inspiration, not manufactured by me, but presented in the world around them.

My job is simply to get out of the way, and let them live inspired.

How do you seek, and find, inspiration on a day to day basis? Is it through nature, through reading, through study…through Alanis Morisette? You can be honest – I won’t judge.

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