To start off this piece on inspiration, please allow me to take you back to a Sunday School Bible story favourite, and one of the first stories we learned in Religious Instruction class back in the days – the story of creation, from Genesis 1:1-3: In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.
And there it is – the Bible starts off with a practical example of what inspiration is. The Oxford dictionary definition of inspiration is as follows:
the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
a sudden, brilliant or timely idea.
We are God’s timely idea, every single bit of creation – coming out of Him, desiring and willing us into the likeness of Him; it’s all His timely idea. Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection are all God’s divine, timely ideas! I am particularly blown away by this line in Genesis 1: Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep. This is the state that the earth was in before God’s ingenuity rolled out – it was formless, dark and empty.
God, as the ultimate Creative and Creator, brought form, light, and filled the earth using His inspired Word. Now, if you are anyone who is creatively gifted in any way, you will understand what God had to work with here – it was not a blank 5 x 5 canvas, a clean music sheet with lines for new melodies or a fully equipped baker’s kitchen. He worked in what could be defined as the ultimate picture of desolation and hopelessness, but His Spirit hovered over it and when He spoke life, shape and so much more into it, something beautiful was formed. It’s also a beautiful depiction of our salvation in Christ – I personally recall how formless, dark and empty my life was before my first encounter with Jesus.
Godly inspiration changes lives when there is a great end in mind and a process to get from the idea stage to something that is tangible and valuable to its intended end user. We see how, throughout scripture – despite the human race defaulting on His will for their lives – He continues to redeem, love and care for us. While our source of inspiration may change, the mission remains the same – to know Him and to make Him known, to love Him and His people.
As we begin a new year with freshly cleaned and decorated prayer rooms or corners, fun stationery, Bible reading plans and every intention to lose weight, pray more and attend more mid-week meetings – let us remember that inspiration may come from situations that may not feature on our near-perfect social media accounts.
Inspiration, which is also known as innovation, inventiveness and ingenuity may come forth during our valleys and dry seasons. That said, we are not saying that Godly inspiration will not come from fresh, new, and idyllic spaces (they definitely will). We agree and support that rest, decluttering and a clear mind form an amazing foundation for birthing all sorts of amazing things. However, what we are also saying and encouraging you to do is to lean into God, to delight yourself in Him and His leading through His Word so that you can still find inspiration in places that may be formless and dark, to be fruitful in and out of season. Psalm 1:2-3 says: but those whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.
There is a well-known saying that goes: The world at its worst, needs church at its best. In addition to fussing about the colour schemes of our ladies’ events, let’s ask God how to respond to the drug and prostitution problems in our immediate and neighbouring communities. At the same time that we are planning our children’s church fun foam parties, let’s ask God for creative solutions to ensuring that we are driving God-inspired change in bringing Christ back into our schools. Just like in the animated kiddies’ film, Trolls, the chief troll risks his life and dignity (poor him, losing his underpants during his mission) and goes on to say, “No troll left behind” – it is only through God-breathed inspiration that we can bring order, light and hope into a broken world. He will give us Jesus-inspired, innovative, creative and timely ideas to get the Gospel to where it is needed the most, excitedly declaring, “No soul left behind!”
In Isaiah 61 verses 1-3, we read: The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me . . . to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
God’s being is the very essence of inspiration, the kind that cuts through all the noise, pummels insecurities and flattens mountains of doubt.
I am speaking to myself here, more than to anyone else…. As we walk away from a colourful 2021, here are a few self-reflective questions to help us dream in the direction of God’s will for His creation. Disclaimer: these questions are meant to help and not condemn in any way.
We have come out of an unprecedented 2 years, but we serve an amazing, forgiving and loving Father. I invite you to use them as a loose guide and resource, and fully encourage you to trust the leading of the Holy Spirit:
How much of what I did in 2021 came from a reactive place and not from a place of knowing and serving a living God?
What does a God-inspired life look like for me as a woman, mom, employee / business-owner, wife, church member and leader?
Hint: less reactive, impactful, debt-free.
What must I give up (declutter) to create space for inspiration to flow?
Hint: less Netflix, choosing to attend online church for convenience reasons.
When can I schedule times of rest to ensure inspiration can find me – in and out of season?
Hint: spend your first 30 minutes of the day with God #QuietTime.
How can I use my personal Salvation Story to inspire others in their walks with Christ?
I conclude with the words of Francis Chan: We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.
May you never tire in your pursuit of an inspirational God.
Women of Reverence welcomes our guest contributor Karabo Ramookho
I am a mom. My husband and I will be married 11 years this November. We fellowship at the Foresight Church in Muldersdrift. I am employed full time in the financial services sector, while my husband is in retail full time and also working as an estate agent. I am excited to be part of the WOR (Women of Reverence) and look forward to learning from many of the awesome women that God has pulled together.