3 Ways to Re-Think Creativity
“Art Communicates hope, not simply in its final form, but in its creative fight to become.”
When it comes to creativity we often put people into one of two boxes: The creative and the non-creative. Either you’re artsy or you’re not, and if you’re not then you are destined to always be a practical, never creative person for the rest of your life. And if you are, you can create anything and everything and it's always perfect and beautiful. But this is wrong for so many reasons. Mainly for the fact that humans are not boxes that we can simply place each other in to try and understand each other better. We are complex, growing, innovative beings created in the image of God (more on this later)
Kelly Phipps says "If you argue for your limitations you get to keep them. But if you argue for your possibilities you get to create them!' The main reason I hear of someone not being creative is that they limit their view of themselves and of creativity. If we’re not crocheting, scrapbooking, or hand lettering perfect words, then it’s not considered “creative.” That’s why I’ve started this series.
I want to re-define creativity for you. I want you to think about it in a whole new way, a way that will make you see your life differently, more beautifully even. My mission for the beginning of this year is to help you understand creativity in a new, stunning light, and to help you implement this new found beauty in your everyday life.
There are three specific things that I want you to think about when it comes to creativity.
1. We ALL have Creativity in Us
It's important to first destroy the myth that only a few people are creative. Yes, some people will be more talented in painting and music but that doesn't mean that if you're not talented in these areas, you're not creative. Think about the first time we see creativity in the Bible.
In Genesis 1:1 it says: “In the beginning God CREATED…” Have you ever thought of that? That the very first words of the entire Bible are about creation. Maybe you’re asking yourself, “so what?” Why is that important to me?” The Bible says that we are created in the image of God and if this is true, then we have been given the ability to be creative through God. It makes sense then to examine what creativity is through the lens of the one who made creativity.
Think about God's first task to Adam. It was to name all of the animals! Think about how creative he would've had to have been to not just name the animals names that he's heard of, but to literally create every animal name from scratch. That same creativity that was in Adam is also in all of us.
2. Creativity is Curiosity Brought to Life
If you still don't believe that we all have creativity in us, think about children. Even the timidest child is born with a natural curiosity about the world. She wants to climb, explore, and play. We encourage her to draw, color, build, cook, and imagine.
But somewhere along the way, we became afraid. We fear not being perfect. We fear not being good enough. We fear we have no time. We fear failure. This list is endless but you get the point. When we become afraid, our curiosity dies and our passions, dreams, and creativity dies along with it. (I talk more about fear in this post: Fighting Our Fears in Motherhood.)
Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book Big Magic in regards to creative living that "I'm talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear." Being creative isn't just about crafting a perfect origami swan, it's about living a life of courage to explore what makes you curious and brings you joy.
But what do we do with the fear that so often threatens to squelch our curiosity? Well, I'm still trying to figure that out. What I do know is that the Lord desires for us to cast our anxieties on him because he cares. This is not a one-time thing, but a constant every minute of everyday casting off of fear. While simultaneously bravely stepping forward in creativity.
3. Creativity is a Gift
Creativity is more than just the ability to create something beautiful, it's also the ability to adapt to situations that can be challenging. We've all had to adapt to our environments whether it's moving to a new city, having another child, losing a job, we've had to come up with creative ways to handle our new situation.
For example, up to this point in my life, the biggest transition I've had to make is becoming a mother. As much as people and books tried to prepare me for motherhood, there really is no way to be "ready." I remember in the newborn stage wandering around my house during naptime wondering what the heck I should do. I want and needed to do something, but I didn't know what. On particularly hard days I would often read the Psalms but my mind felt like much so in order to help the words sink in, I would write down the psalm over and over again and add a design around the verse.
Looking back on this season of my life I realized that I needed an outlet that would let my mind think about something other than when nap time was, how many times I'd help put together a Melissa and Doug puzzle, and how whether or not Ellie is eating enough vegetables. I needed to find a way to adapt to this new season in my life. After trying a few different things I found that writing about motherhood and other topics was cathartic for me and that's when I decided to start a blog.
This will look different in everybody. But think for a moment what you really enjoy doing. Whether it’s cooking, working out, organizing, teaching, working in the garden, all of these areas are creative and gifts God has given you. These are gifts and abilities that help us in new situations so that we can learn more about ourselves, grow in areas that we are weak in, and become more empathetic to each other.
I hope you've begun to see that creativity is so much more than "crafting" and how important it is to live a life of curiosity. My next post will be on how to incorporate creativity in the mundane of life! Stay Tuned!