Our Days Are Numbered

Why did the calendar get depressed?

Because it felt like its days were numbered.

Creatives are plagued with a sense of time constraint. They worry about getting things done, or not, as is often the case. This can be particularly problematic if you have a deadline to meet with money or other important things at stake.

My biggest fear as a creative is unfinished work. I worry about not completing my projects. And it is not just because I do not like to leave things half-done. Although that is also true. (Anybody else a perfectionist?)

I worry they will never get out into the world.

A creative project sits in your head, clear, vivid, playing itself over and over like an old TV re-run. No-one else can see it. It is invisible. Even if you make notes, or do a rough sketch, or write an outline, or record a scratch demo, only you will ever know how the end product is supposed to look or sound.

Only you will ever know how the end product is supposed to look or sound.

No-one else can take your notes or sketches or ideas and turn them into your complete vision. It is one of the blessings, and curses, of being creative.

This leaves us with a dilemma. How can we possibly get all our creative ideas down, and not just noted somewhere but sufficiently completed to convey what we want them to convey, in our short time on earth?

I don’t know about you, but I am on the receiving end of a constant stream of ideas. I frequently imagine myself writing the next book in the series. I sometimes awaken to a new song or get an idea while I am on my way to somewhere, minding my own business.

And whenever I talk to a fellow creative, I come away from the conversation with another three or four ideas budding.

I often struggle to choose just one idea to pursue. There are so many possibilities. It is like asking me to pick a good song. There are thousands from which to choose.

So I worry about not getting them all done.

I worry about not getting them all done.

This brings me back to our calendar friend who feels as though its days are numbered. From what I hear, many creatives struggle with the shortness of time. We worry about unfinished business. We wrestle with incomplete projects. And we fear dying with our work still undone.

Fear not, dear reader. Encouragement is on the way.

While at the Omega Christian Writer’s Conference last year, I heard one writer talk about how God knows our days. He knows how many we have. And he holds them all.

God knows our days. And he holds them all.

Consider Psalm 139: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16 NIV.)

God knows how many days we have left. He has given us work to do in the space of those days. Whether we finish our work or not, we can trust him to take care of our creative projects.

Because our days are numbered by him.

Do you struggle to get creative work finished? How do you choose which projects to focus on? Is it difficult to trust God with your projects? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.

Join the conversation