My husband recently showed me his new list of “projects” and even though it can take years to check off every item, he is tireless in his effort to build, construct, dream, create and use the gifts God has given him in full. The thing that intrigues me most is the creativity he invests in each project, even something as mundane (in my opinion) as building new walls for a hot tub. It is never an option for him to just slap something together half heartedly. This is a continual reminder for me to do all to the glory of God and be excellent in all things.
As I thought about these things the Lord spoke to me about the creativity He created and instilled in every child of His. I quickly reminded Him I am not a creative person, have never been, and I am quick to tell others of my perceived lack. Well, let me warn you – it isn’t wise to tell God He did not put something in you when He says He did! In fact, it insults Him when His children boast about their lack or complain about what they can’t do. He is especially put off when the children He created believe the lie they are not creative. After all, how could the Creator of the Universe create uncreative people?
As God spoke this to my spirit I felt like I was spanked. As a child, I never liked being spanked (duh!), not just because it hurt but knowing I had let my parents down was devastating. So having God tell me how much He invests in His children only to have them negate His precious work hurt. Just as I was thinking about how much I hurt, He downloaded His heart to show His own hurt. Okay God! Now this is serious! I became keenly aware that I had not even considered His thoughts when I claimed a lack of creativity and never thought of the effect my words had on Him but only thought I was stating the obvious. His love, patience, and willingness in revealing truth to dispel lies once again placed me at His feet in worship and adoration for being such an incredible Father.
As I continued to receive all He was showing me He played a kind of “slideshow” of a recent situation where I boasted of my lack of creativity. God has no problem using our blunders to bring us into a greater awareness of His presence in the little things of life. Some women and I were setting up a prayer room for a Christian retreat. We were instructed to decorate with lighthouse posters, candles, an altar area, and lights to create a mood of tranquility and peace. I quickly grabbed a roll of tape and claimed I would attach it to the posters and cut outs while leaving the creative work for other people. My job was simple, monotonous, and required zero creative talent. It worked out perfectly because while I taped, the creative women scanned the room, pictured how things should be arranged, and then made the room perfect. All the while I just kept ripping, circling, and placing tape on the decorations, proudly exclaiming I knew what I was good at!
When there was nothing left to tape, I was moseying through the room admiring everyone’s handiwork when a lady asked if I would look at something she had arranged and tell her what I thought. Without thinking, I said “Sure!” As we stood gazing inquisitively at her “creation”, hands on our mouths, I didn’t know what to say because I didn’t know her very well. But wow, was I thinking some funny thoughts! I looked at her “mess”, wishing I had more tape to rip so I could gracefully move away from what I knew was bubbling up within. Alas, I could hold it no longer and I began to chuckle as I said “Hmmm … (long pause) What is it?” Thankfully, she had a great sense of humor and as she looked at it again with fresh eyes she reached the same conclusion I had at the exact same time. We both erupted into laughter as she explained this was her feeble attempt at creating something beautiful. The funny thing was I would have done what she did because after she explained what she was trying to create, I could “see” it however the result was so far off from her effort she would need to explain her “vision” to every person who came into the prayer chapel all weekend long or else people would just think there was a pile of “stuff” lying around.
She and some others had laid strings of white Christmas lights all along the outside walls of the room (nice touch). But then she wanted to do more so draped white tablecloths over them trying to give a muted, calming effect (not nice touch). She said through tears from laughter “It just looks like I threw white tablecloths on the floor over a bunch of lights doesn’t it?” I could only laugh and shake my head in agreement. But this started a conversation about creativity. She said she didn’t have a creative bone in her body, (to which I silently agreed) while I also boasted about how uncreative I was which is why I didn’t even try anymore but rather did things I was good at, like ripping tape. And to confirm my lack of creativity, when I did step out of my comfort zone and hang a few things up people followed after me fixing my uncreative creations or kindly “suggesting” we move things around a little differently. My part was to hang things high, since I was taller than most of the women there. I was happy to use my gift of “tall” (at a whopping 5’6 ½”) to aid their creativeness.
As the Lord replayed this event up to this point I tried to convince Him how funny it was. He said it was very humorous however we didn’t need to insult ourselves (and Him) in the process. We could laugh at the situation without making it personal. Then He continued the slide show! After she trashed the idea of putting the cloths over the lights I returned to sauntering through the room, wondering what I could do to help now that my menial taping task was over. I watched as women were still busy hanging things on the walls and setting up the altar as well as other things. I observed how they would step back to admire or re-examine the placement of décor, sometimes rearranging, sometimes grinning with satisfaction at their ability. I noticed a confident air about those women who “knew” they had a creative flair. They didn’t ask people to critique their work but rather simply stood back and looked as though they could say what God said at creation “It is good.” If they did ask someone’s opinion they fully expected agreement, unlike what I had just experienced with this supposed “uncreative” woman. These women not only knew what they were doing but knew they were good at it
The slide show finally stopped. Perhaps some of you reading this are like me in this situation; feeling like you don’t have a creative bone in your body. Others of you can relate to the creative women I watched do their thing and you are thankful for His gift to you. There is a message for each of you. If you are in the second group you have a responsibility to use your creativity to inspire and motivate others not just revel in it yourself. If you are in the first group we have the responsibility to be inspired by others and then seek the Lord to discover our own creativity so we in turn can inspire others.
The Lord said I had wrongly limited creativity to art, and by doing so devalued any and all other forms of creativity the Lord has carved in His people. Certainly creativity is most evident in the arts as people display their talents through crafts, hobbies, and the like. Painting, sculpting, sewing, stamping, embroidery, dancing, quilting, cross-stitch, drawing, stenciling, are but a few of the seeming countless ways people can explore their creative genius within through art forms. But there are other ways God has crafted creativity in His people. Perhaps you have the ability to create new and original ideas or approaches to problems and situations in business, church, school, and the like. Perhaps you creatively make good use of limited resources in your home or workplace which inspires others to do likewise. Perhaps you are creative in specific areas of life such as finances, parenting, writing, music, sports, hospitality, cooking, baking, or sewing. The point is God has instilled creativity in all people in various ways. So just because I wasn’t good at arranging the prayer room doesn’t mean I don’t have a creative bone in my body. God only creates creative people.
The sad thing is I already knew this about God! I KNOW God gives good gifts to all His children so I know we are all creative. However, my words and actions betrayed my appreciation and knowledge of my own creativity. Many years ago I struggled with low self-esteem, seeing all the “bad” in myself and never the good. I would look in the mirror and find everything wrong, wondering how my husband could ever love such a loser. Then one day he looked at me and said something like “Every time you make fun of yourself you are telling me I have bad taste and chose an ugly duckling. I chose you because I love everything about you.” At that moment, I knew I needed to change, if not for me than for him. I had never wanted him to feel bad about himself or his choice and did not realize how my negativity about myself affected him (which is the next blog topic by the way – what happens when we do not embrace our creativity – we complain).
I can hear God saying something very similar to what my husband said that day. “Every time you say you are not creative you are telling me I am not a creative God. I created you in secret, in your mother’s womb. I chose you because I love everything about you.” I never want to be ungrateful to my God who loves me perfectly, created me, and chose me as His own. How about you? Will knowing how intimately He created you cause you to rise up and thank Him, and boast of His creative work in your life? Psalm 139:13-14, 17-18 “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and my soul knows very well. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.” I never again want to dishonor God or make Him feel bad. We are reflections of His handiwork and He is the best handyman ever! This knowledge makes a difference in our lives and in our speech! My soul knows very well how marvelous His works are and that we are His workmanship. Therefore I will praise Him!
Then God reminded me of whose image we are created in – His. He is creative so we must be creative as well. Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God created us for His own glory! Certainly God would not have created uncreative people who could not bring Him glory. Instead He created creative people who creatively bring Him glory! Isaiah 43:7 “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory, I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” This sounds very much like God has got some bragging going on! He says “Yep, I created everyone called by My name, I formed them, and YEP, I made them!” We are called by His name! Yes! He created us for His glory! Yes! He formed us! Yes! He made us! Yes! There is absolutely NO way we could be anything less than creative!
So now when I look at my husband’s list and watch him be relentless to stay in tune with the creativity God has given him, I am encouraged and tireless in my own pursuit of creativeness. I pray this encourages you to walk creatively as well. I plan to never again boast about how uncreative I am, but instead boast of a God who created me with all kinds of ability to be creative! How about you? Go now and create – as you do – you will inspire others to do the same!