Inspiration Overload

I think I have inspiration overload. I think a lot of us do. And I think too much inspiration can hinder my ability—our ability— to be truly inspired.

What do I mean?

I mean when we’ve taken in too much inspiration it can actually become an obstacle to doing the thing you’re inspired to do. That’s inspiration overload. We become overwhelmed, lose focus, get stuck, unable to think straight and figure out what to do next.

It’s a blessing and a curse that we have 24/7 access to inspiration, and we take in gobs of it. The list of inspirational mediums and platforms is endless: magazines, books, podcasts, YouTube videos galore; entire television channels and networks, social media influencers, apps, and Ted Talks in every realm imaginable from biblical teaching to psychology, from fashion to interior design, from gardening to cooking…and, yes, even dog grooming! I’m overwhelmed just thinking about all of it. It’s an inspirational overload. It’s overkill. It can be paralyzing and render us ineffective.

We do not need more inspiration. We just need to seek the best inspiration—first.

Let me shift gears here to make a point:

I was talking to a young woman the other day when the idea of inspiration overload hit me. She’s a smart, godly young woman, and she wanted to know where and how to begin to study the Bible and really get to know it. That’s a great, brilliant question—and I wish more young women would ask me that. She asked how I got to know the Bible so well and memorize so much Scripture. My response was not impressive. I have no letters behind my name to associate me with Biblical studies or seminary degrees. I don’t even have a college degree.

But what I did have was desperation and determination, and I told her as much—that I was desperate to know God, and desperate to fall in love with Jesus, and I prayed for that. A Bible teacher gave me some good direction. I opened my Bible and started reading from the perspective that 1) God is alive and personal 2) God wants to have an intimate relationship with me 3) the Bible—in its entirety—is God’s inspired, authoritative written Word, and 4) Jesus, God’s living Word, is the way to know and believe God.

I made time to read my Bible, to spend time listening to God, every day. I talked to God (prayer) every day. I tried to do what He told me to do every day—imperfectly, but persevering. And every day, by His grace, I got to know Him a little better, love Him a little more, follow Him a little closer…and live out the things He had planned and purposed for me to do in fulfilling His mission (not mine) on Earth.

My life was certainly less complicated back then. I did not have a Biblical library or lots of biblical resources available to me. A few Bible studies were published at the time, and I learned a ton about how to study my Bible that way. There were no podcasts, Instagram reels, or posts and memes filling my mind with information and inspiration. Just the Word of God, living and active, having its way in and through me—equipping me, instructing me, inspiring me by the One who is Himself Inspiration. I had a hunger that was being satisfied in Him, and He inspired me to begin to start writing about that, to speak about it, and to eventually teach about it.

Why do we give the Author of Inspiration and His book so little credit to stand alone?

Why do we deem it too hard and time-consuming a chore to study our Bible and let the Spirit inspire us to the things of God in whatever we do? Paul reminds us that in whatever we do, to do it all for God’s glory—so that He gets the credit (1 Corinthians 10:31), and to work at with all our heart, for the Lord God (Colossians 3:23-34).

Whatever means whatever. In whatever you do, do it for the Lord, with all your heart in it for the Lord—and that requires the inspiration of the Lord’s Spirit.

Something to Think About: 

Are you seeking inspiration for something you feel inspired to do? Something God has put on your heart? And have you been the victim of Inspiration Overload that has become more of an obstacle causing you (like me) to be overwhelmed and stuck? True inspiration begins with the Author of Inspiration who breathed the world into existence. You will not come up with more creative ideas and endeavors than He can give you. And doing what He inspires you to do will always bring Him glory. Let Him be your #1 Source for inspiration—in whatever you do in your life and with your life.

Back to my opening statement: I think I have inspiration overload that has become an obstacle to the thing—many things—the Lord has inspired my heart to do. A big one is a Bible study I wrote several years ago taken from John 4 and Jesus’s encounter with a Samaritan woman at a well. I keep writing and rewriting it, editing, and reediting it. I’ve talked about it repeatedly, but I never get it finished because I keep reading more, and studying, and listening and taking in more inspiration from elsewhere. I keep adding to what I’ve already done—what the Lord already gave me back in 2013, and 2016, and 2018 when I taught it the first three times. All this to the point that I’ve been paralyzed to pick it back up and finish it.

There. I said it. And now it’s out there.

So… I’ve gone back to where I started with it. Back to the beautiful, ordinary, uncomplicated way of being and doing. Back to my Source of Inspiration—the One who tapped me with this to begin with. I have a feeling that there are some of you out there who can relate to this—perhaps inspiration overload has become an obstacle for you, too. If that’s you, I want to share some steps I’m taking that are keeping me inspired and guided purely by the inspirational breath of God.

  1. Get alone with God—get some quiet into your heart, your head, and your soul. Your soul craves quiet—and your soul is where God breathes His inspiration. The very word inspire means “breath.” All scripture is God-breathed and useful… (2 Timothy 3:16). Your flesh will give you push back on this because we don’t know what to do with stillness and quiet. And that’s the point—do nothing. Just for a little while, do nothing. 5-10 minutes. Try it. You’ll learn to love it.
  2. Get away—away from all the inspiring voices in your head. Take time away from all that’s speaking to you and cultivate a listening ear for God’s voice. Close the books, turn off the podcasts and the TV, get off social media…go offline. Detox from those voices, so that you can hear the inspiring voice of God.
  3. Get up and get out—and go for a walk by yourself. Walk outdoors, walk through an art gallery, walk a mountain trail, walk around your neighborhood early in the morning. This means that you’ll have to leave your phone at home while you go for a walk. It will not kill you. In fact, you may find that a thousand things become clearer to you in the process of walking alone, without your phone. There’s a Latin phrase, solvitur ambulando, that means “It is solved by walking.” Walking tends to amplify the inspirational voice of God in our soul. Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. Thus, if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.” 
  4. Get it down on paper — keep a little journal with you to write down inspiration and ideas that come to you. I’m not talking about taking screen shots and snapping pics of things. Write down what you saw, what you heard, what you felt, what inspiration thought you had from it. Get all that inspiration out of your head and onto paper where you can look at it, see it, think it through and do something with it. Too much inspiration stays stuck in between our ears. Writing it out helps us to remember and helps our minds to become more creative. We need to get it out, think it out, wrestle it out—on paper, on canvas, in the kitchen, in the workroom. Just get it on paper.
  5. Go for it! When Jesus’ mother, Mary, asked him to fix the wine problem at the wedding in Cana, she looked at the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you to do” (John 2:1-11). Same here. As you spend time listening to the inspiring voice of God, do the next right thing. And the next right thing is whatever he tells you to do. Don’t hesitate. Don’t flinch. Don’t throw up a million and nine excuses. Just do the thing he tells you to do. It may seem small and insignificant, or big and heavy. Just do it. And here’s a little something I love—at the wedding, Jesus told the servants to bring him 6 very heavy stone jars and fill them with water. And they did what he told them to do. And when the master of ceremonies for the wedding came and dipped some out—the water had been turned into the very, very best wine. But only the servants got to see the miracle happen. When God inspires us to do what He wants us to do—and we actually obey and do it—we get in on a miracle, too. The miracle of God breathing through us a work that only He can inspire us to do.

One More Thing:

I have always loved this hymn. I thought of it as I wrote this week. Remembering that the word inspire means breath or breathe, and that it’s also the same word for Spirit, I sang this with fresh inspiration in my heart:

Breathe on [inspire] me, Breath [Spirit] of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love the way you love,
and do what you would do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until my will is one with yours,
to do and to endure.

Edwin Hatch, Psalmist Hymnal, 1886

And if you happen to think of it, please offer up a prayer as I finish this Bible study. I’d be so very grateful.

Until next week, don’t forget that you are greatly and dearly loved by The King. And let’s live our beautiful, ordinary lives like it…and smile!

I love you,

xo P