in the process.


They’re cemented in my brain: long afternoons spent helping to glue pictures to timelines, proofread creative writing, sprinkle glitter on poster-sized bar charts.

Some of my children love the creative process. Their eyes light up at the anticipation of drawing, clipping, glueing and painting. They love to dream big. They don’t fear being wrong. I’ve found that the hardest part about having a child with a strong creative vision is helping them fit that-when needed-into the context of an assignment.

Some of my children loathe the creative process. Give them finite equations. Give them objective truths. They squirm at the idea of an open ended assignment. The most important thing is the formula. They just want to get the right answer. The hardest part with this type of child? Getting started. They feel overwhelmed at all of the choices and they struggle to enjoy all the stops and starts of creating your way toward an answer.

And I struggle with this, this worshipping the product over the process. Even in my creativity, I reach a point where I just want to be done already. But I also want it to look good.

I want it to be beautiful, successful, rewarding, happy, just how I always wanted it and I want it to overwhelm all the hard things it took to get there. The process? I’m done. Just hurry up already God. I get it. Move on. Even thirty minutes ago, I wondered aloud to my husband: “Why does he have to do it THIS way?” I want things to be right but I also want them to align with my self-driven vision.

I hope in the product (on my terms) more than the process.

Here’s something true: God is in control of the product.

All of our days were written in His book of life before we were ever born.

He appointed good works for us before we were ever born.

He is at work in us to do as He pleases.

Jesus called it finished.

It is God who completes the good work He begins in us.

God is in control of the product. Not me.

So I want to take my eyes off the product for a little while. I can trust Him with that. Instead, I’m going to choose to hope in the process. It is not wasted. God is doing something in the process. He’s creating life in me. He’s transforming me. He knows where He’s going and it is a good place. But so is this. I will hope in that.

What about you? Are you process or product?

This post is part of a 31 day series.  You can find a link to each day right here. Find other 31 Dayers at The Nester’s.


13 thoughts on “in the process.

  1. Pingback: take hope. | sweetwater

  2. Ellen, that loathing the process? That was me while sitting in your class at Influence. I probably only wrote for the last 40 seconds because in that room of writers, I wanted mine to be good, and nothing- good or bad- was coming to me. It seems with writing, I struggle so much to say everything best instead of just saying anything. I want to be as good as, or better as, instead of just myself.

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this! I wish I could go back into that room and grab you by the face and repeat that there is power in YOUR story. Just yours. I’ve met you and you’re lovely and I just want to see you in your writing. Thank you for being brave!

  3. you really spoke to me, & now i’m a faithful follower because of the nester. thank you…my husband & I have been married 3 1/2 yrs., & for the past 2 1/2 yrs., we’ve been attempting to start a family unsuccessfully. this has been really hard, of course, & so often, I find myself feeling like we’re in a process rather than enjoying & living our 2-person life. we must live the process, hoping that whatever God’s product is, it is a good product despite the disappointment, hard ache, & dashed dreams along the way. thank you for sharing this hope w/ me today!

    • Joanna? I’m glad to have you here. I’ve tasted a small sip from that cup and I hear you. Thank you for these beautiful words. It’s hard and lovely the way pain and beauty and hope are woven together.

  4. Yikes. I’m definitely in the product camp, but you’ve opened my eyes to the freedom of the process if I only trust God with the outcome. This explains the stand still in so many areas of my life right now. Thanks, Ellen.

  5. I’m so thankful to find you. You are a breath of fresh air , but mostly a place of calmness that my heart is in need of right now. I have only read a few posts, but those I’ve read have been reminders as my 1st middle daughter is about to graduate, to treasure and feel hopeful . Blessings to you!

  6. Just found you through the nester and whizzed through your hope series. Such an encouragement. Looking forward to the remainder of it and reading more from you. I also get the impression from some of your posts/pictures that we are in the same area. My husband is the pastor of riverside community church in columbia sc. We live downtown. Am I close?

  7. I have loved reading your 31 series. Each day I have been encouraged and challenged by your words and the Truth that you are sharing, so thank you. Today’s post? It’s messing with me, in the best sense – and I think I’m going to be thinking about this idea – of being hopeful in the process, instead of getting so wrapped up in the product – for awhile.

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