Your Creative Best
I read these words today from The Message Bible: “Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” (Gal 6:5). We have each been given a “not to be wasted” span of days on this earth to be fruitful and multiply in a wide variety of God-given opportunities. Are we doing our creative best in those moments or are we just trying to get another item scratched off our to-do list?
Being creative requires so much more effort than simply performing a task, but we should not sacrifice beauty for industry in the name of mere accomplishment. What difference does it make to our lives and the world around us when we add creativity to our activities? In one word, I believe the difference is joy.
Joy is very satisfying. When God created the earth and everything in it the Bible tells us that He saw that it was very good (Gen 1:31). It gave Him joy to consider the work of His hands. In the same way, we also can have joy and delight in the work of our hands when we allow creativity to be an integral part of our everyday tasks and assignments. Creativity lifts the mundane into a realm of significance because our focused effort raises its status.
We’ve all heard the phrase “think outside the box” as an initiator for creative brainstorming. It is a very helpful word picture, especially for those of us who naturally tend toward doing things the same way repeatedly. While that style of functioning may yield some degree of productivity, thinking “inside” the box limits your capacity for incorporating new ideas and fresh approaches, and can lead to boredom. Joy and boredom typically don’t cohabit in our souls! We need the freedom that creativity allows in order to be open to and experience innovation and discovery, which leads to joy.
What are some things that provide a fertile seedbed for doing our creative best?
Love what you do. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 reminds us, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Loving the assignments you’ve been given by God, loving the people God has placed in your path—even loving the natural and normal responsibilities of life—can dramatically change your ability to receive creative ideas. A bitter, resentful, or even bored mindset chokes inspiration. We know that faith works by love, and faith is how we receive anything from God, including creativity. We may need to evaluate our love walk and our heart attitude in order to set ourselves in a favorable position for the inflow of Heaven.
Be brave enough to take risks. Risk taking is an inevitable part of being creative. Will my actions find approval? Will my idea work? Does it measure up to other people’s expectations? Is it good enough? All these questions and more pummel our minds when we allow a spark of creativity to birth a new thing into our lives and into our world. Expect a degree of push back and don’t allow it to intimidate you from exploring the soundness of your idea or creation. Not every creative endeavor we have will work out, but the experimentation and process of risk taking are important to our growth as mature innovators. Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “Results? Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is often a step forward…” Be brave enough to risk failure so you can take that step forward!
Exercise your creativity. Just like the muscles in a human body need exercise so they don’t atrophy, the part of us that can be creative needs to be exercised as well. And just like some physical exercises seem or look silly, you may feel silly exercising your creativity, especially if you are one who doesn’t feel like they have a creative bone in their body. I can’t draw, though my father is an artist, yet I love color. I have lately begun to use color as a part of my prayer life, using colored pencils to frame my prayer requests in my journaling. It’s a new way for me to express my heart’s desires for others, for the world, for my own life. Giving yourself permission to do something in an entirely different format expands your capacity for accepting novel ideas and even creative solutions to problems. Your brain needs to grow accustomed to receiving “out of the box” concepts if you want the imagination to find its freedom to invent.
To live our lives joyfully in the liberty of creativity is to be a witness of the divine Creator God who made us in His image. Let your creative best be all for His glory!