It all began as a pretty typical girls’ night in – snacking, chatting, laughing, and (perhaps) a little dancing in the living room. But somewhere along the line, as we got to know each other a little better, we came across a beautiful discovery: our shared passion for creating.
One girl, new to me, heard I was a writer and started asking me questions about what sort of writing I do. I come to realize she’s a budding photographer. Sitting in our small circle were also musicians, a painter, and a well-established YouTube crafter.
From the outside, to most people, we’d look more like this: a few stay-at-home moms, a couple of nurses, a former cop, a homeschooler, some wives, some single moms, a few foster/adoptive moms, etc. And yet, an invisible thread tied us all together, this connection of passion for the creative. Excitement for something greater bubbled beneath the surface.
On my drive home that night, I thought, “That’s great, God, but why does it matter? God, why did You create us this way? What does being creative really change in the scope of eternity?”
Most of us don’t use our creative outlets for financial support. They’re mostly to refresh us individually – almost an itch that just has to be scratched – that if we don’t create in our own individual ways, we’ll be less than our true selves.
God responded to my questions: “I didn’t make you to just be educated to learn skills to get jobs to pay bills…to raise kids to learn skills to get jobs to pay bills. I made you to know Me and make Me known. That’s what the creative does. I create. Therefore, you create. You emulate Me when you create. You become a window into My character when you create. That’s far more important that just paying the bills. Bills are temporary realities. Your creative capacity is eternal. So, make Me known.”
The creative essence within you is eternal. It emulates the creativity of God Himself. It is eternal. It opens a window of understanding to the character of eternal God.
To you, musician, actor, author – your creativity is deeply valuable.
To you, painter, photographer, tattoo artist – your creativity speaks to the greatest Artist who has ever existed.
To you, crafter, DIY’er, builder, graphic designer – you are a window that others can peek through to see God’s character.
To you, blogger, baker, dancer, and programmer – you have the capacity to make Him known.
Creativity is one avenue towards knowing God better and making Him known. And, more than that, the very capacity to create is a gift straight from the hand of God. What are you creating today? And why?
I grew up in the church. So I thought I knew the formula – I thought I knew what to expect. But I was in for a huge surprise.
Studying abroad for a month sounded like a fabulous way to earn 6 credit hours the summer before my senior year of college. So, leaving Steve, my then-boyfriend, family, and friends behind, I went to London to study English literature. Steve was so sweet and helpful and wanted to be sure that I had a chance to attend church while I was away, so he did some searching and found a little church in Soho he suggested I visit.
I managed to convince two other students to join me for their Sunday evening service and, boy was I glad I didn’t go alone!
We walked through a low doorway, and into a basement-style room…no windows, just the entry door. The craziness of that evening, in all its fullness, still eludes me, but I do remember lots of interesting Jesus-flavor happening: a poem spoken in Korean (may I remind you we were in…London!), lots of drumming, various bizarre testimonies, and – the best part – finishing off the night with a church-wide conga line!
Coming from a traditional Southern Baptist background, my jaw dropped a bit. Granted, at the time, I was attending a mega-church back home that had a rock concert-like feel every weekend, so my tastes had expanded greatly, but this was a bit more than I’d bargained for. It was eye-opening to see the colors everywhere, on the walls and especially represented in the sixty or so people present…all kinds of beautiful colors and cultures! Once the shock abated, I just laughed.
The next day offered me the chance to laugh some more, because on Monday morning, our small class went for a tour of Westminster Abbey. The very height of the arched ceilings seemed to testify to God’s immenseness. After marveling at the exquisite architecture, and the literary heroes buried there, we sat in on a Gregorian-style service. And my musical heart pitter-pattered away listening to those harmonies.
But my mind laughed hysterically at the crazy dichotomy of Sunday evening in Soho versus Monday morning in the Abbey. How amazing God is! How creative and colorful! How expressive and worthy!
I felt His Presence in the warmth and fun and friendship in the basement church in Soho. I experienced His grandeur in the lifted praises echoing against cathedral ceilings in the Abbey. And in each place, He touched my soul so deeply, so profoundly that now, more than ten years later, I remember these moments and I smile. I smile because God is so beyond what my mind can conjure. He is both personal and enormous. He is both present and eternal. And He is most certainly hilarious!