Dry Land

Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed with writing projects and concert preparations. To-do lists cascade beyond the lines of my planner and onto post-it notes, phone reminders, and my journal, which no longer feels like a record of my life but an invoice proving my productivity.

Yesterday, I came home from work emotionally and physically drained. I was determined to change gears from “accompanist Ryanne” to “author Ryanne” but my brain revolted. Switching back and forth between my many roles can be exhausting and I finally surrendered.

Instead of writing or practicing, I made an enormous pot of chili. I whisked together some corn bread. I scrubbed the dishes overflowing in my sink. I warmed some hot chocolate and cocooned in a new blanket to read Eric Metaxas’ biography of Martin Luther.

A friend stopped by to return a Tupperware and we chatted for a bit, before I forced her to borrow a copy of Marissa Meyer’s Cinder as comfort reading.

All throughout the night, I felt a nagging sense of guilt. “You should be writing or practicing,” a voice in my head chided. “Why aren’t you doing something creative?”

But then words from my own manuscript silenced this voice: “Dry land is also a part of creation.”

When God made the heavens and the earth, He started by ordering things. He separated light from dark, dry land from the sea. Before moving to the type of activity we think of creative—casting characters and narrating their stories—God set the scene. By establishing dry land, He made a habitable space for human beings. He set boundaries to the inhospitable seas, and cultivated a place suitable for human flourishing.

So, too, with my pot of chili. Washing dishes, wiping counters, returning Tupperware, lighting candles, baking bread—these are our ways of separating dry land from the waters, speaking order into chaos as our Creator did.

I may never be the type of artist who thrives in spontaneity and clutter, and that’s okay. I am not likely to be “inspired” at odd hours of the night, and am more prone to come home, make a meal, and tidy up. But these things are creative in and of themselves, as well as foundational to other types of creativity. When God called dry land from the seas, He established the type of orderly, life-giving creativity to which we are called as image bearers.

Prioritizing and fostering “dry land” in our lives is just as important as chasing the muse, perhaps even more so. After all, it is on dry land that we as human beings—ourselves made from the dirt—can flourish.

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