Often, in the midst of the uncertainty of life, we find it difficult to comprehend where we seem to be heading. I, for one, definitely feel the weight of pressure: the pressure to conform to what people in society want me to be; how those close to me wish I could be; and how I even dream of becoming something entirely different than my present state of being.
However, we can often find that we are incapable of making any particular or poignant changes in our lives.
In life, the struggle to be something or someone who we are not seems to be a constant battle. We seem to be tossed back and forth, like a wave on the seashore, between what we imagine our ‘perfect world’ is, and what our present reality seems to portray—which are two rapidly different pictures that life has painted with the same brush.
Yet, how do we find the space between the ‘two worlds’, and seek the solace of simply being?
Author: Mini Mathai Palmer
Recently, I had the privilege of conversing with Mini Mathai Palmer, an author and former missionary to India. Coming from a South Indian background, but eventually moving to the United States, she found a different perspective on what ministry and missions could be like ‘on the ground’. Her creativity and different way of thinking was the launching pad to helping her find her voice in the midst of a myriad of distractions.
Mini initially began to pursue medicine as a young person, initially due to her parent’s influence, but which became a lesson in life, in and of itself, as a great vehicle to help learn to listen to people’s stories. She eventually shifted gears and became a health educator where she began to hone her skills in writing. This became a turning point in both her life, and her career.
She delved deeply into learning about spiritual formation, and became a certified Spiritual Director, helping to serve others on their spiritual journey. As she began to help others, she saw that she was able to learn more about herself as a person. As Mini puts it, “when you always think about those around you, you constantly ‘double down’”. In other words, there was a constant pressure to experience life in a different light, according to other people’s standards, instead of your own.
The creative process
As she began to write for herself, the creative process began to take on a life of its own, and she was amazed at how important it was to both her and her writers. In her own words, she sensed that “for me, what’s driving my creative process is God”.
I also seem to have this sense of reliance on God for creativity, as a writer myself. I understand the difference between what I think in my head, and what I write on a page, but I don’t seem to know the difference between how I write and what transpired during the creative process. It remains a mystery to me, and I sometimes catch myself wondering how I got to a particular concept or piece of writing, especially when my readers point out what I wrote in a positive manner.
Take time to be still and listen
Mini eventually went on to be published by Servant Partners Press and was a contributing writer to Voices Rising: Women of Color finding Hope in the City. In her chapter, entitled, The Voices that Shape Us, she is able to share deep joy in listening to God, herself and others. According to Mini, we need to “take time to be still and listen”. This is also her favourite form of prayer. She went on to say that, “God reveals to me what I needed to know, when He's ready for me to know what I need to know, He will reveal it to me when the time is right”.
As we all go through our daily walk with God, we choose to either enjoy the journey, or suffer through it without knowing the joy that it brings to understand the journey itself. We can all take this word from Mini, that “I don’t know the results of this, but I choose to enjoy the process”. As she continues her own journey, she knows that, as she puts it, “I’m going where I need to go, rather than meeting someone else’s expectations”.
We can all be assured that we may not be able to know what the future holds, but we are able to leave it up to the God who knows us better than we know the future, which is sure to give us peace in the toughest of circumstances. As we journey forward, we are able to find joy in the creative messes that make up our lives and can share our mistakes and milestones with those around us, who may find joy in our own journey as well.
That’s one way to find your voice in the midst of a crazy world.
Joseph Kolapudi is a writer born in Australia to Indian parents, and returned from California where he was studying theology at Fuller; currently, he is working with a missions agency, continuing his love of writing by contributing to PSI.
Joseph Kolapudi's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/joseph-kolapudi.html