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Inspiration: The Breath of Life

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

This past weekend was the monthly meeting of my local group of writers, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers. Whenever we’re together, we always talk about our current works in progress or story ideas we’re thinking of. Sometimes, these turn into brainstorming sessions when someone is having trouble with a particular plot-point or character. Most months, I think we all leave with so many fresh ideas swimming in our heads that we have to go home and write before we lose the spark of inspiration.

But what is the “spark of inspiration”? What is it about us creative-types that leads us into wild flights of fancy from something as simple as an overheard sentence or as complex as the Revolutionary War?

Sure, there’s the whole left-brain/right-brain science where those who are lefties are more analytical and those who are righties are more creative–but where does that leave those of us who are firmly in the middle? It must be more than just which hemisphere of our brains dominates our thought processes.

If you type “define:inspiration” into Google, there are lots of interesting results:

  • arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity
  • a sudden intuition
  • an unusual or rare occurrence or fact, often one that cannot be explained
  • The process by which the lungs take in air
  • To breathe into, to breathe, to animate or enthuse, the action of the Holy Ghost moving through all the soul’s vehicles on every inhalation of the Holy Breath

I love that the same word we use to describe how we come up with ideas for our stories means the same thing as breathing. In Genesis, we read:

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27, NASB)

God created. We have creativity built into us. In His image. Image . . . imagination. We can think of things that are abstract, even make things up because we are images of Him. But there is, oh, so much more than creativity and imagination.

The LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7, NASB)

God spoke everything else into being–every other living, breathing creation came into being because God spoke. But Adam received inspiration–the very breath, the very life force–of God.

When we see a beautiful Tennessee sunset and call it inspiring, it is God breathing His breath of life into us. When we are inspired to pray or to share Christ with someone, it is the breath of God filling our lungs. And when the inspiration for a story strikes, it is God’s breath tickling our ears as He whispers, “Write it. I will give you the words.”

  1. shilohwriter permalink
    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 3:14 pm

    Inspiration and breathing come from the same word? Awesome! A writer can truly relate to that.


  2. Wednesday, March 14, 2007 3:55 pm

    A beautiful post, and thought provoking. I spent a little time last night trotting through your blog archives. Critiquers and pot-bellied pigs? LOL But it works as an analogy. There is a wealth of information on this blog. You are a terrific writing teacher.



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