Many of us are not comfortable with our creative side. In fact some of you are probably even denying you've got a creative side right now. The truth is we're made by the ultimate Creator and we reflect his nature so, well, the jigs up – you are in fact creative.
So why do we find it so hard to embrace? I wonder if the fact that creativity rarely pays the bills means it get less of a look in than other elements of our life. At school the curriculum often features music, drama and art but unless you're the one in a million who is destined for stardom in one of those areas, you'll likely be encouraged to a more sensible career path. That means by the age of 16 you've let most of those creative pursuits drop, thinking you weren't really any good at them anyway and tucking them into 'the school years' file in your head.
That was pretty much my story anyway. And so I spent my 20s trying to silence the creative person in me, allowing instead the much louder voice of the logical side of me to take control. I wanted right answers, a straight career path, roles and responsibilities I knew I could do well in. But more recently the creative voice has been getting louder in me. I realized to be creative I had to deal with my fear of failure. GULP! I don't like getting things wrong (who does?) but if I only ever do things I know I can get right first time round, I'll never get anywhere. Or at least not anywhere exciting. As I've taken small steps to embrace and even cultivate creativity I've realized it impacts almost every area of life. It's taught me to be kinder to myself, to enjoy and appreciate things that are beautiful not just things that are purposeful; it's given me freedom to express myself, to rethink what I value and how I spend my time and my money. It's opened my eyes to so much of the world that I was blocking out in my pursuit of the logical.
How much time do you spend pursuing and exploring creativity? I don't just mean drawing a picture or writing a song – I mean anything creative from baking a cake, to visiting the theatre, from taking a photograph to making someone a birthday present. There are many ways to embrace creativity but we so often shut them out of our lives and in doing so we shut down a part of who we were made to be. So this year I want to give it a shot. I want to live in the freedom of creating 10 rubbish pictures because the 11th one might be great. I want to try new recipes and not worry if they don't turn out like Nigella promised. I want to sew my friends pretty pictures and hope they'll forgive me for my raggedy stitching. And I want to learn from others whether that's through going to art galleries, seeing a ballet performance, trying a new author or enjoying a musical. And most of all I want to learn from the ultimate Creator. I want to sit and watch the sea, calmed by its rhythm and in awe of its power. I want to stand in the middle of a forest and be amazed again at the level of detail God cares about in our world. I want to visit the zoo and smile at the fact that God created giraffes and hippos. The one who created the whole world out of nothing, he is the one who will teach me – and you if you're up for it – what it really means to live creatively.
Liza Hoeksma is a freelance writer who has penned books on worship, youth work and more. Her latest book, No Ceiling To Hope, (co-written with Patrick Regan), is based around stories of grace from the world's most dangerous places.
This article first appeared on God Cuture, an online magazine that showcases Christianity in modern culture.
March 5th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Ian Matthews