My church (Gateway Community Church in Austin) recently completed a message series that emphasized the fact that we are created in the image of a God who is marvelously creative and imaginative, which means that we were made to be creative and imaginative as well. Creative outlets are as varied as creative people, but the pressures and expectations of the daily grind often leave us feeling like all of our creative juices have been mercilessly squeezed out of us.
One of the major themes of Leadership In Doubt is that each of us has a unique story to tell, and therefore each of us should find a way to share that story with others. It’s all too easy to listen to voices – external and internal – that insist we have nothing worthwhile to say. I’m not talking about political rants on Facebook or Snapchat photo essays from breakfast, but a lasting, creative legacy. Today’s excerpt touches on that theme, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on personal creativity.
I am an artist. We all are artists, with a creative side we long to explore, even as most of us fail to do so. God is the most creative, imaginative being in the universe, so it follows that, being created in His image, we share in that part of His nature. As kids we find all kinds of ways to be creative, and the older we get, the harder the world tries to beat us into submission through conformity and coloring within the lines.
Is building a really cool spreadsheet art? My friends at work know how seriously I take building a good spreadsheet would laugh and say that, if it helped them do their job a little better, it certainly was a masterpiece of function, even if it’s not on display in the Louvre.
Laura recently built a coffee table. She found an outlet for her creative side and brought it to life in our home. She used her own two hands and sense of adventure to build something that most people would buy at the store.
My point is this: how many people long to express themselves and choose not to because they don’t really believe that they’re the kind of person who does that? In particular, how many stories are left untold? How many people look at old family photos and lament the fact that no one knows the story behind where that trophy came from, or why their great-grandfather was shaking hands with Ernest Hemingway, or how could she be smiling after everything she went through? What would happen if anyone who had a story to tell took a chance and told it? Hurting, hopeless people would benefit from tales of overcoming challenges, defying the odds and good triumphing over evil. Storytelling is not reserved for the powerful or privileged; it is one of God’s gifts to each of us, and the world doesn’t get to decide who is allowed to tell their story, or how or when or why to do so.