Healthy Body, Mind, and Soul Habits #6
The Importance of Creativity
One of the most common titles we use for God is Creator. So it’s no surprise we, made in His image, are wired to create. We build with metal, stone, wood, glass. We splash color. We capture images of the world around us. We paint pictures with words. We mix flavors to make new mouthwatering ones. We blend sounds into music. We plant. We figure out ways to make things work, and make them work better. We fix things. We have ideas.
The expression of creativity is as varied as our personalities.
There’s something in us that needs to spend time making something new, different, beautiful in its own way. And, yes, it’s true: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
My kids like to color the sidewalk in front of our house with sidewalk chalk. They love creating chalk art. My younger son will also design elaborate games, with something different to do in each section of sidewalk.
You should check out one of Joel’s funky murals here; I captured it as best I could. He’s one of the most creative people I know, so many ideas! And a mercurial temperament that frequently comes with a mind that spins so much. It’s hard to watch him struggle, and we’re trying to help him learn to deal with his out-of-control emotions to keep them from getting the better of him. I see so much of myself in him, that sometimes my heart aches for him. I lived in a fantasy world at his age, too. Growing up was hard. Drawing is a great outlet for him, and he’s less inhibited in just letting go in his art than I was in anything outside my head.
Yes, creating things is a great way to process and tame things that seem too fast and loud for our brains to handle.
It’s interesting that some of the most creative people also struggle with mental illness. But it makes sense. It’s not easy to have so much of your brain talking to other parts of your brain.
Wired to Create
Regardless of how our brains are wired to process stimuli and form a response, or problem solve, or imagine, we are all created to create.
When we don’t take the time to create, we’re more easily overwhelmed… but, I know, it can be overwhelming to make the time…
We’ve been attending a drawing class. It’s informal, not intimidating. You start by working from other people’s work, people who knew their way around pencils or pens and paper. And the teacher is there to give guidance and advice as needed.
Over there? That’s a sketch I was working on, looking at Nora across the table. Not quite finished, but putting it out there.
Because it’s worth taking the time even if we’re not creating masterpieces.
Thomas Merton put it this way,
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
But it’s always difficult for me to take the time to make something just for the pleasure of making it. In the moment, I can’t believe that it’s worth the time when there are so many other important things that need doing.
That’s a recipe for burnout. And I don’t want my kids to pick up my issue with guilt over relaxing and doing things that simply allow us to enjoy being. I don’t want them to think their value is based on what they accomplish. And how will they know their talents if they don’t try things?
Bezalel and Oholiab
The the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel… and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts – to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab… to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you.”
It’s important to not waste time; it’s also important to keep from making life just a matter of getting things done, of checking off a to-do list. But if creating is just about me, and how it makes me feel, I’m not getting all that I could out of it. When we create to honor God, we can’t lose. When He use our creations bless others? That can make a heart sing.
Part of the issue is perspective. Sometimes we need to reclaim creativity in the mundane. If all we do is for God, it’s all worthwhile and special, right? I need to find and reclaim the creative joy there, but also make time for… the less mundane, even if my efforts are amateurish. God not only created us in His image, with a desire to create, He gave us ways we’re most suited to create. I have friends who can do amazing things with flour and butter and… other ingredients. Others can make their homes so welcoming. And those with lovely gardens? Wow. Wow again for those who can write and play music… (Which will get more attention in another post!)
At the bottom of this post are links to three shops full of beauty. The first woman transforms broken, dirty pieces of glass. The second woman sews vintage and thrift-store fabrics into unique bags. The third uses water color paints, and other media, to create pictures.
Here’s some less-than-flattering honesty, I’ve been known to suffer pangs of jealousy, and inadequacy, over the talent God blessed these women with… and so many others.
But I wasn’t created to do what they do.
And each of them had to take the innate talent God gave them, learn the necessary skills, and practice.
As I’ve said so many times, it’s when I compare that I get into trouble. Comparison steals joy. And when I look at what others have and feel less-than, I’m questioning God’s goodness and wisdom in my life. I’m basically saying that what He has given me isn’t good enough… Oh… big no-no…
I’m not a Bezalel. I’d love to be able to make lovely, interesting things out of whatever material strikes my fancy. But I can’t. But I’m also not in charge of building the Tabernacle. I’m not always sure what I’m supposed to be doing, but I know that whatever God calls me to do, He’ll equip me to do, and show me the best way. It’s my job to do the best with what He gives me, and to do everything for His glory.
Do you realize your perspective is unique? No one sees the world quite like you. Go make something – as only you can – that the world has never seen before, or helps us see something from a new angle.
Care to share?
What do you do to honor our Creator’s image? If you’d like to attach a photo, as Lori did last Wednesday (Thanks, Lori!), email it to me, OR tweet it to @MelindaVanRy so I can enjoy it and share it here.
In the mean time, check out these creative women blessed with talent I lack. I’m grateful to be able to enjoy the beautiful fruit of their creativity!
Check out the rest of the Healthy Body, Mind, and Soul Habits Series by clicking the image below!
Coming soon: What does science say about the importance of creativity to mental health? and Bible Study tips so we’re equipped to fight the lies that try to bind us in the darkness!