I am blessed with:
1. an unexpected “girl’s lunch out” with my mother and sister
2. the blue richness that only comes in an autumn sky
3. friends who share common interests with enthusiasm
4. time for quiet reflection
5. the written words of those who have gone before (Thank you, C.S. Lewis!)
6. the serendipity of discovering others who are spinning the same tops that I am
Creativity to me is one of those God-given guarantees. We are created in His image and He is the ultimate Creator. Ergo, we are all creative.
Now, it is true, that only God can breathe something out of nothing. He spoke into the void and made the miracle of the universe and every miraculous diversity contained within it. No human can do this. At best, we co-create with the Father, using the things He has already made to gild beauty with wonder. This need to create is part of His image, breathed into us at our own creation, a compulsion to participate in making with Him and through Him. If you live, if you breathe, you are creative in some way.
The trouble is, so many people put incredible limitations on the definition of “creative.” For instance, a person who makes “art” is creative, but a person who makes dinner is not.
Recently, a friend of mine posted a photo on Facebook of the cutest wooden Christmas tree that she and her husband had built and stenciled. In the comments, another woman remarked that she herself couldn’t make anything, “Except breast milk.” Of course, I immediately responded that creativity takes many forms, breast milk included.
That little social networking convo has stayed with me… another spinning top, whirling its way toward resolution.
Her words perfectly illustrate the idea that so many people have about their own creativity, and give rise (again!) to the vehement argument I find myself making, every single time another person tells me they are not creative. You are! You ARE! YOU ARE!
Now I can push watercolors around with a brush. I can carry a tune. I can letter, draw and doodle. I can shape wire and stone into artistic designs that hang from earlobes and barn doors. I can even wrangle with words until they go where I tell them (mostly). But, to my sorrow, I have never given birth to a child. My creative response to this has always been in loving other people’s children (which I do well).
Here is a woman involved in the most profound act of co-creation imaginable, that of birthing and nourishing new life, and she does not recognize the God-breathed creativity within herself. Can there be more creative work than motherhood?
And so I argue that creativity is within you…
when you stir the pot that holds your family’s dinner.
when you teach the one and thirty in your classroom.
when you arrange the blankets on your daughter’s bed.
when you stoop to listen to a child.
when you offer to shop for an elderly shut-in.
when you leave all that is familiar and move your family to the mission field.
when you polish the window that frames the sunrise.
when you lean closer to the weeping friend to share his sorrow.
when you thrust the spade into the hard earth to plant a flower.
when you cast your line into sunlight-dappled waters.
when you invite your small group over for Games Night.
when you take the time to look the one who serves you in the eye and say “Thank you.”
when you brew the coffee before the church doors open.
when you speak light into darkness.
when you extend hospitality to your neighbors.
And yes, when you draw your baby near to nurse and nourish.
There is an art to everything, small or large, under heaven, and there is as much creativity in the person who stands before great art admiring as there is in the person who makes great art and hangs it to be admired. In these ways, and a million others, you reflect the creativity of your Maker.
So, please. Do not tell me you are not, and never have been, creative.
You’re breathing, aren’t you?