INSPIRATION is new ideas. Inspiration is new life. Inspiration is feeling creative and hopeful. It’s feeling playful, innovative, unique, and passionate. It’s making connections between the hundreds of events playing out before our eyes each day, and it’s getting excited about the possibility of what our minds can do.
Inspiration isn’t always easy to harness. However, contrary to what we might think during difficult times, I believe that it is always available to us. At times we just need certain walls to fall down so that we can see it. And when those walls do crumble—those dusty walls that might have formed around our hearts, minds, or souls for a variety of reasons—then inspiration becomes visible in nearly every circumstance. It can then pour into us, overwhelm us, and invigorate us.
A few years ago, life didn’t seem all that inspiring to me. It didn’t feel very magical or stimulating. Instead, it seemed to alternate between bland and painful. I commuted long hours to go sit in a cubicle most days. I wasn't feeling particularly fulfilled, I wasn’t getting rich, and I wasn’t getting any younger. I was smoking too many cigarettes (I’ve been quit for almost two years now). I was eating too much fast food, and I wasn't exercising enough. I was trying to write a little bit, but it was just so hard to get inspired. I tried to maintain a spiritual pulse of increasing faith in my life, but the workdays—those days spent beneath fluorescent lights with spreadsheets and phone trees for bad company—just didn’t feel as if they included the awe-inspiring living water that Jesus spoke about.
What happened to all the inspiration? I wondered.
But then—thankfully—the walls broke. Some of the walls that were throwing shade over my heart and soul began to crumble, and the inspiration came pouring in for me.
The inspiration started thusly: I sat in my cubicle and wondered, What if I'm not the only one who feels numb or defeated because of the stress of the workweek? What if a lot of people felt only half-alive at times? What if there were others who were having trouble connecting with spiritual life because the daily grind had numbed them like a shot of Novocain to the soul?
I looked around and saw evidence of this inspirational void everywhere. I saw evidence of the stress on other people’s faces and in the way they sighed all the time. It didn’t seem to be just me anymore. Other people looked tired and a little jaded—at the office, at the grocery store, on the highways. People were worn down. Everyone seemed to be dealing with some issue most every day (either at work or at home and probably in both locations). Everyone needed the renewal that Jesus talked about in Matthew 11:28: "Are you tired? Worn Out? Burned out on religion (and so much else)? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life."
Jesus spoke those words almost 2,000 years ago, long before cubicles, traffic jams, spreadsheets, and the confusing behemoths of modern religion and social media took over the airwaves of our minds. But how true those words still ring.
Everyone needs inspiration. Everyone needs renewal for some reason or another. I began to feel inspired by these realizations, and I began to write a book called The Lovely Grind: Spiritual Inspiration for Workdays.
I began to see inspiration everywhere. A coworker is being difficult? I think I’ll write about that. Others will relate. A manager is being difficult? I think I’ll write about that. Others will relate. The workday is difficult today because I’m preoccupied with my own emotional issues or financial issues? I’ll write about that. I bet others will relate.
I would look around the office and try to read into the faces of others. What pain or stress were they really dealing with? I would walk down to the cafeteria to get coffee, and I’d notice how the workers there seemed overwhelmed by the sheer volume of customers they had to deal with (this was in a large technical college, and everyone—students and staff alike—loved them some cafeteria).
Hmm, it’s a good thing that God doesn’t get overwhelmed by volume like we do most days, I thought. I’ll write about that.
I kept coming up with new ideas and writing about them. I even wrote in my cubicle while pretending to work on spreadsheets and e-mails (an apology to my former manager, but I still got my work done). The inspiration was everywhere.
I remember one day I was in a parking lot and saw the following bumper sticker: I had a life, but my job ate it. That was perfect. That was inspiration.
I ended up writing 260 messages of spiritual inspiration for workdays, and I’ve compiled 90 of those messages into my upcoming book, which will release online June 6th.
The Lovely Grind: Spiritual Inspiration for Workdays (90 Devotions for Stress Relief & Personal Growth). That’s my upcoming book and I’m really proud of it. I really think that it will help some people who are struggling to find energy, fulfillment, and inspiration. My book deals with so many topics that I think people are struggling with during the hectic days of their hectic grinds. It talks about “at-work” issues like difficult coworkers, heavy workloads, and power struggles, but also talks about “inside-me” things, issues such as self-esteem problems, spiritual questions, and fulfillment concerns.
Inspiration came to me when I needed it most, or rather, I was able to see at just the right time.
I can tell you that the inspiration is there in your life, too, just waiting for you to see it. Even if your days feel grey and lifeless right now—even if they seem more painful or confusing than they do profound and stimulating—the inspiration is there, both spiritually and otherwise. Just keep the faith and keep searching. Just remember the offer that Jesus proposes in Matthew 11: “Come to me and get your life back.” Let me break down those walls for you so that you can see the inspiration.
I truly hope that you will pick up (or download) a copy of The Lovely Grind (available online June 6th at www.lovelygrind.com and www.michaelpriebewriter.com). The messages in that book truly came from an inspired place, and I think that they might be able to inspire you as well. Take care of yourself this week and keep searching for your inspiration daily. It can appear anywhere at any time.
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Michael S. Priebe, Lovely Grind author & web creator
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