I help lead a Kid’s Club with my church on Fridays. I’m also in charge of crafts and that means coming up with new ideas every week for the kids to do, besides coloring pages. When we do coloring pages I realize that some kids (mainly the boys) do a few scribbles and then get “done” and want to go play while the girls tend to be more meticulous and add a splash of color, making it “just right”. My observation was this: these kids need to be challenged to be creative. Why is that so important anyways? I think it’s because God made us in His image:Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26
He made us all to be creative, like Him. He created the world, and He created us. It’s kind of in our nature to want to create. It’s like a birthmark you can inherit from your parents– He’s given us a mark of beauty in us, a desire to create. And I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find my birthmarks embarrassing. You have to grow into it and eventually you become proud of it because it doesn’t define you but it sets you apart in a very unique and simple way. So we all have inherited the birthmark of creativity from our heavenly Father.
The Rend Collective, a band from Ireland, totally sees and understands that God made us all with a longing to be creative like Him. They put it best in their song, “Desert Soul”:
//I’m lost without
Your creative spark in me
I’m dead inside
Unless Your resurrection sings//
In addition to this, my best friend found this amazing TED talk on creativity that acknowledges that creativity is indeed God-inspired. So, in meditating on all of this, what does it mean for us to be “creative beings”? I believe creativity flows just like the Holy Spirit. So, when I see kids coloring and creating, I don’t have any real expectations for them to create anything magnificent that you typically see displayed at the MET, or something. But their work still has value. It’s the expression of God, that “creative spark” in all of our souls that makes us want to spread color and light and string and confetti all over a canvas, whatever it may be. We were born to express our souls with more than just words. It’s a release.
We don’t always feel the urge to create. Sometimes creativity doesn’t come out and we call it “artist’s block” or something like that. I don’t know why that happens. But I do know God supplies us with inspiration all around. We should be filters of that beauty– that’s why people create. We want to break it down into manageable chunks and show the world our snapshots of the beauty going on all around us. For me, being an artist is being a filter. Sometimes nothing comes out, but that doesn’t mean something is necessarily wrong. Often times there are things that block the filter but they just may need to be broken down a bit more before the water can really “flow”. Artists also are charged with the challenge to filter beauty and make the important things stand out. It is a high calling and a conviction brought onto us by the grace of God. It is a high calling to speak the truth and speak it boldly– so take heart, artists! Your calling is a high one, and often difficult, but so necessary for healthy life.
That picture of Jesus (Pantocrator) is a doodle I did one night babysitting, when I had some spare time to sit and breathe. It just came out. But it also took some planning. I knew I wanted to doodle but I wanted to see what I could make with nothing but kids markers and construction paper. I knew I wanted to make something of beauty with very little resources. I wanted to create and be spontaneous but also have a plan. This is a different kind of creativity than the kind that flows like a child coloring a sheet of paper. It’s a challenge. It’s a story. It’s a snapshot of my heart in the moment. People can create just to create or they can refine it to reflect a truth that more people can understand. All of it is beautiful.
In saying all of this, creativity can be a choice– but if you choose to use the creativity God gave you, it will come out in the ways God made for you to express it. You can create whether you are a doctor, a teacher, a sunday school preacher; a mechanic, dentist, blacksmith apprentice (Yes I made all that rhyme, thank you very much) because God made us all to help people and bring something to the world that was previously not there before. That, my friends, is creativity in a nutshell.
Now for the fun part. What are some ways that you get inspired? When do you feel most challenged to create? Are you in need of some creative sparks right now? Not to be cliche, but the Bible is literally a great source of inspiration, and the scriptures always paint beautiful word pictures that uplift the soul. Try reading a Proverb or Psalm and see what happens!