I sat on my back patio, journal and pen in hand, with no words to write. As the wind whispered through my hair, I grasped for inspiration, wishing an image, a thought, a phrase would arise. But nothing came. I stared out into nature, extending out my backyard, and felt stuck. I wanted so badly to write beauty on pages, and yet all I felt was empty and dry.
Everything I had been writing of late was for a project. Each idea was turned into an article with a timestamp. Over time, I realized this sort of production approach to one of my natural talents had sucked the creativity right out of me. Somewhere in the shuffle of deadlines and the pursuit of a side income, I had lost the experience of writing for the pure joy of it. There had been a time when I could get lost in another world of thoughts, when I could write something down and not share it with the world. I would write things in my journal just for myself, and like Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire, I’d feel God’s pleasure through my craft. Oftentimes, my days would feel brighter and more invigorated as a result. I want to get back to that.
In bearing God’s image, humans share God’s creative impulse. When God made the world, He put His creativity on display, breathing to life a colorful diversity in all things. Every rare and unique plant, creature, and human is a testament to God, our Creator and King, who delights in us simply for who we are and the ways we reflect His image in the world. Moreover, after each day of creation in Genesis 1, we read that God surveyed all that He created and declared, “It is good.” God created for the purpose of beauty, goodness, and truth, and we can too. In our skills and abilities and talents, God has planted the seeds for us to co-create good and beautiful things as a form of worship to God and for His glory.
In fact, part of how we love our neighbor is through our creative calling. I love how the theologian Frederick Buechner writes, “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” In other words, breathing life into our creations shouldn’t be a selfish pursuit. Rather, cultivating them is how God uses us as His hands and feet in a dark and hurting world. Through our giftings and skills, we not only imagine a better and more beautiful world, a vision of the Garden temple in Genesis that God created, but we also use our knowledge and abilities to bring that vision to reality. Through our crafted creations, whether they be in word, object, or aesthetic, we have the ability to further God’s goodness in the world. This is how we create for both our own joy and the joy of the world.
However, in our fast-paced world, it’s hard to create the good and the beautiful if everything we do is contracted and commodified. When everything we create has metrics attached, when there is something to be gained through it — whether fame, platform, or income — we miss out on our original purpose as co-creators with God Himself. That’s not to say we shouldn’t use our skills to put food on the table and have a roof over our head, but when the art of creating is reduced to mere financial transactions, our creative spark will slowly fizzle and wane.
In this new year, what if we chose to carve out more space to lean into our God-given gifts and talents and passions? What if we chose to delight in the process of creating in every paint stroke, music note, planted seed, and well-crafted sentence? Can we chase after divine beauty in the meals we prepare for our families and friends, in the ideas we share, and the relationships we build?
This year let’s return back to our first creative loves. Let’s unwrap that long hidden gem and allow our sleeping hearts to beat again with excitement and thrill. May we awaken to curiosity and delight, wonder and imagination, and join God in the cultivation of goodness, beauty, and truth.Leave a Comment