How do you nourish creativity when you're juggling real life?

Posted by Craig Borlase on 8 October 2014

“We’re Back On The Learning Curve Again”

Lou Fellingham on nourishing creativity in the midst of real life.

After two decades on the road with Phatfish, we were offered a six month working sabbatical with a church in Johannesburg, South Africa. After thinking and praying it through, we felt that God was in it. We took the kids out of school, packed up our house, got on a plane with 4 suitcases and hand luggage in tow.

The plan had been that during our time there we would have the opportunity to not only work alongside the worship teams from across the city but also be in an environment where we could write songs, listen, be creative. As it turns out, God had a different order in mind. We had tons of fun, spent wonderful times with great men and women of God, were part of helping people to build team and hopefully inspiring not only the band but also the congregation to become ‘worship-pers’…what with that and having the kids around, space for songwriting was more of a challenge than we’d originally thought!

We returned home having had an incredible 6 months. As we had been giving, so we had received much. We’d made some lifetime friends and had some amazing defining moments in worship but actual song material was thin on the ground.

Songwriting often takes space. Sometimes you get the instant idea and other times you need time to pray, listen, play, worship and see where God is leading. On our return we discovered that a) we needed a couple of songs in a very short amount of time and b) Ella, our middle child couldn’t get back into school, so homeschooling was now on the table. Space was suddenly being squeezed out at a very rapid rate.

In the past we have recorded a few ideas, lyrics, melodies and then when it was time to write an album we’ve sat down for just a few days and hammered through. On this occasion that luxury was not presented to us as an option. Our heart to create songs that will draw people to the heart of the Father and the love of God and the power of the Spirit that is at work in us was still there, but be-cause of being stretched in so many other areas of our lives, our cylinders felt like they had little energy left.

We knew that deadlines were beginning to emerge and to be honest felt like we had not a lot to give, but God, in His mercy, knew exactly what He was doing. This time the diligence and hard work looked different, it flowed out differently, but the same God is at the heart of these songs. We had to fight for some of them, we had to press through when it felt we had nothing to give, we re-sponded in those defining moments when songs came alive and we had a lot of fun along the way. It’s been such a learning curve… Learning to trust God and learning more about the skill of song-writing.

We believe that music and song are gifts from God. He allows us to create, to communicate His beauty and depth and ‘otherness’. To bring both truth from His word and the breath of His Spirit alive in song. This is not the only way we worship, but we do believe it is an integral part of our de-sign as mankind…to be singers and musicians! We worship a living God, who is active and at work in every human being. Sometimes this is as plain as day, other times we don’t see it yet. We feel so privileged to be allowed to put songs in peoples mouths that they can use to worship God, encounter His presence, have their hearts lifted in faith and put their trust in Him over and over again. We have had many stories where people have been desperate and God has allowed our songs to be used in restoring situations, even saving people from suicide…I don’t say this to boast. In fact we are totally humbled that God would allow us to be part of His story in other’s lives. Our longing is to see the church, His bride, alive in Him, in the full knowledge of His great love for them and His mighty power at work in them that will bring them to completion when we one day see Him.

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