Katie is the most creative person in our family. Not only is she creative herself, but she sees it in others and she instills it in others. No formal training, no particular area of expertise, she does it all well, and it’s effortless. Lately I’ve been looking for ways to encourage and enable this because her energy and passion for life overflows when she gets creative time. This morning, though, I cannot take credit for our creative time. It’s Saturday morning, we just got done with a wonderful round of chocolate chip pancakes. Last night were were at the first Family Fusion of the year. The virtue of the month is creativity. Katie:
“From nine o’clock to ten o’clock, everyone is going to be creative!”
There it is. Mom has spoken. And somehow it resonates with each person in the family. We all have a desire to execute this plan she’s just announced. It’s 8:45. We have fifteen minutes to clean things up, set things up, and see what this family creative time will produce.
God is the original Creator. He created us. He formed the heavens and the earth the animals. But His crown of creation was humans. He made us in His image. So if He is a creator, then we also are creators. We are artists. Well that poses a problem for me. Have you seen me draw? Have you seen me paint? Heck have you seen my handwriting? Any time artists talk about expressing creativity, I always wish I could relate. But I’m just not an artist. Artists work with paints. Artists have galleries. Artists make records and work out of studios.
But this morning God reminds me of a new narrative. Katie has water colors. Norah and Sorin have markers, scissors, glue, and a ton of excitement. Not “let’s go play outside, run around, and yell” excitement. But “there is nothing I can’t do and whatever I’m about to make will be awesome” excitement. When I look at my family creating things, when I listen to Sorin and Norah talking through their projects and Katie’s guiding instructions, I am reminded that I need a new definition of artist. God was an artist and He created us in His image. Last time I checked, He created all of us in His image, so that desire that strs up when artists talk about creating, it’s not a void that I’m searching for; it’s a muscle I need to exercise. There’s a creative spirit in my soul.
I follow a lot of artists on Twitter. As I’ve studied the lives of these men and women, particularly those in the Christian faith, I’ve fully embraced this mantra: “Consume less, create more.” I am not expected (nor do I have the ability) to create an album of 11 songs. I am not expected to create a watercolor that would sell for a few hundred dollars at Art Fair on the Square. I’ll never have a gallery grand opening and I’ll probably never end up on the New York Bestseller list. But I can write. I actually really love to write, I always have. I write for me, I write for God, I keep some stuff in a notebook and others I publish online. Numbers don’t matter. But I process life through words and stories. Could that be art?
Lately I’ve been reading through the first book of Timothy and I’ve always found myself connecting to the third chapter where Paul talks about taking care of your personal and family life, so that God can trust you with the work of the Church. How do I take care of my personal and family stuff? I’ve found that I need to consume less and create more. I need to simplify what I read and spend more time writing in my journal, writing prayers, planning and reflecting on the narrative of our family. When I write I seem most alive. When Katie paints, she seems most alive. And when the kids are at their creative station, they too are full of life. We pursue art. We embrace our creativity, for we were created in the image of God. He was creative. We are creative.
I called out to my son, ” Sorin, come tell me the definition of ‘creativity’ from Family Fusion last night.”
“Creativity: using your imagination to do something unique.”
We don’t need to go public to consider ourselves artists. But we are ignoring the fabric of our being if we do not embrace our creative souls. If all I have to do is use my imagination and create something no one else can create, something unique, then I’ve demonstrated a reflection of my Creator. I value being creative because I am a product of my Creator. He is creative. I am creative. And I’m certainly unique.
This morning we had space to be creative. We all thrived as we pursued our art. God created you to be an artist. How can you use your imagination to do something unique?