Today I took the opportunity to sit down and sketch. Its something I admittedly should do more of. It quiets my heart and mind and is edifying to my spirit.
There’s been times in my life such as when my younger brother was killed at 24 years old that my ability to be create felt like a lid was slammed down on it. Grief and loss can shut down parts of us. I had to allow God’s presence into those places that felt the bleakest and darkest. He kept on gently coaching me to come back “out of hiding”, and see that the world was still a beautiful place, and the sun was still shining. Eventually it started shining on the inside of me again. I started to tinker on the piano again, picked up a paintbrush, and wrote words down in my journal. In creativity I discovered healing and Jesus’ gentle affirming presence and words of comfort.
It made me realize that any form of creativity is God’s gift to us. It’s often his way of renewing, restoring and strengthening us.
When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: when we don’t seek to be creative it is counter to our true nature. We are created in the image of God the creator. Within each of us is creativity far more than we imagine.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them”. (Genesis 1:27)
In a world filled with stereotypes, we often find ourselves labeling people. “Sporty,” “intellectual,” “academic,” and “artistic,”, etc. It’s as if only certain types of people are capable of being one thing. But we are multi faceted creatures, and we often are far more capable and have within us gifts we haven’t even discovered yet.
Not all of us are going to be published authors and artists, earning millions. Not all of us will go down in history for what we create. But is that the only reason we create?
Look at any of the great creative minds throughout history. Most did not seek to create to impress others, it was simply an extension of who they were.
When we think about being creative its both helpful to remember that: We don’t create for others. We don’t create to impress or be the best. We create, because we can.
What if you don’t know what your gift is — what you’re supposed to create? The answer is simple: Just try something!
A great way to unleash our creativity is to make an artist date. A time set apart to explore and play. Creativity is coaxed not forced from within us, and we need to give ourselves permission to stop “working” and to take an adventure.
Pick up some paper and a pencil and draw. Sit down at a computer and write. Grab a camera and start shooting. Make a short film. Tinker away at something. Build something. All you have to do to get started is engage. Go and enjoy your surroundings, the outdoors. Anything that will cause you to cease work, unleash joy and the desire to simply play at something.
We so need to give ourselves space to breathe, to flourish and grow. Keep experimenting until you find something you enjoy, something you love — and then keep doing it.
It doesn’t have to be world-class or a work of genius. It doesn’t even have to be “artistic” — because creativity can be found anywhere. It just has to matter to you.
We suffer as individuals, and as a society when we don’t honor creativity within ourselves. If we don’t engage with our creative spark, we’ll deny a part of who we are. There will be a piece of you that’s missing, and that others will never get to experience.
Maybe only two or three people will ever see what you create. Maybe only you will. But through the process you’ll discover something about yourself, about how God has created you. How great it would be if you discovered something you never knew about yourself, another piece of your identity, simply by taking time out for an adventure and allowing yourself to “play”
“One only need observe the natural world to see that God revels in adventure: cliffs, jungles, waterfalls, deserts, mountains, seas. When we take time for discovery we put ourselves in the presence of the Great Adventurer. As we are outward bound, we sense an inward grace.” (Julie Cameron).
Be blessed as you take some time out this week to make contact with your inner adventurer.
“And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze” (Exodus 35:30)
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; (Psalm 139:13-16)