So you’re no Michelangelo with a paintbrush or Banksy with a spray can.
That’s fine. But that doesn’t mean you have no creative ability.
In the book Digging for Diamonds, I dedicated a chapter to uncovering more of our creative selves. If we are, as I believe, made in the image of a Creator God then we too will have the urge to create. It is in our DNA. Whether for you it is writing, hammering stuff in the shed, designing a website, taking photographs, creating a beautiful flowerbed or growing vegetables, playing a musical instrument, undertaking crafty projects, rearranging cushions on the sofa or cooking and baking, all of us get caught up and absorbed into a creative process somewhere. We can all recall a time where were lost in the flow of a creative activity and where time just slipped away.
And yet this creative side of ourselves is so often left un-nurtured as we navigate the busyness of modern life.
Recently, on holiday, my daughter and I took a colouring book with us to fill in together and we had a great time – sometimes we sat in silence, sometimes we talked. These books have become best sellers and seem to be everywhere! But why? Is it simply nostalgia or are we so bored with our screens that we long for something tactile? For me, these books allow me to get engrossed in choosing colours and to enjoy creating a stunning picture without the pressure of being able to draw something from scratch – which I just cannot do.
But that’s okay!
So many of us disqualify ourselves from creative pursuits because we compare ourselves with those who are particularly gifted or who have dedicated huge chunks of their life to developing a passion. I have done this so many times: feeling like a failure compared to other singers or mothers who cook birthday cakes for their children. What a crazy thing to do! Because, as we elevate others, we diminish ourselves in return – and the worth of what we alone can do as creative people.
What if the value of creativity was not so much about artistic merit or professionalism, but more about the act of reconnecting with yourself and with the way God made you to be? What if, by allowing your mind to untangle as you engage with the process, free from critique, you become a more centred and relaxed person? What if we pulled ourselves away from our work, screens and chores long enough to cherish beauty, nature, texture, music and food? We are not robots; we are humans – designed to be in synch with the beauty of creation, and to create. As Erwin McManus says, “We are works of art and artists at work.”
You and I are engaged in the spiritual process of crafting our lives.
So, maybe today is the day that you decide to give yourself a creativity boost. To make some time for regularly getting in touch with your creative self. Try something new. Notice and embrace those creative spaces during the day. Slow down a bit and enjoy creating some more stress-free moments.
I’m going to do the same.
What creative activities do you enjoy most of all?
How self-critical are you and how does this limit your creative potential?
What barriers are there to you spending time on creativity or to trying new things?
What are you going to do to invest in your creative self?